Richelieu to Poitiers - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

June 10, 2024

Richelieu to Poitiers

And lunch in Lencloitre

An easy day punctuated by the traffic we encountered as we entered Poitiers.
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Today our ride was 55 km to a bigger town - Poitiers - for two nights.  We enjoyed our buffet breakfast at Le Puits Dorė. French buffets are not in the same league as those in Northern Europe but they have greatly improved in the years since we started travelling.  I worry though about the food waste when there is a small crowd. This morning it was the four of us and one other guy. What happened to those uneaten crepes? 

Eric and Melinda are easy to travel with; they are relaxed and go with the flow. They adjusted to the pace of bike touring well and the fussing around you do every afternoon and morning figuring out bike parking, charging, pannier unloading etc. It has been fun for us to see new people on their first bike tour and enjoy the wonder of it.  Of course, France is such a great place to tour so that helps!

We took off at our usual time - 10: 30 am - and I was pleased to see that Komoot had directed us on a route that led us through the park so the others could see it. Unfortunately a gate Komoot said would be open to exit the park was locked up tight so we had to peel back into the town center and go another way.  It was breezier and cooler today and we were now squarely in the rural part of France; Eric is originally from the Midwest so he can talk crops with the best of them and we periodically pondered what was being planted and cultivated. 

Eric and Melinda inside Richelieu park.
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We had some fun short hills to vary the riding and the last 6 km into our lunch stop in Lencloitre was on an unpaved, forested, old rail line.  Lencloitre was a small rural town with one open restaurant for lunch — so we opted for that! - and sat outside to keep watch over our bikes. The restaurant was very busy with a tour group of folks on their way to Poitiers but the owner was nice and flexible and managed our weird eating ways with kindness. He was very surprised when we did not want the three-course lunch (starter, main, dessert, small  pichet of wine). This random lunch was a very good example of how amazing French cuisine can be. Here we were in a nowhere restaurant in a small town that clearly exists to support the  local agricultural community and yet the food was lovingly created. I had a tuna carpaccio starter with some kind of savory ice cream, and a large piece of frico (thin fried cheese for those of you who might be wondering) and Dave had sardines on bread which doesn’t adequately describe the care in which it was presented. Melinda got exotic with a salad of sweetbreads and chicken (she was willing to share the sweetbreads) and Eric had spinach ravioli with frico. The preparation and presentation of each item amazed us. Why we tour…

Eric & Melinda enjoying their lunches in Lenclôitre.
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Dave had a chance to talk to the tour group - they wanted to know why 4 Americans were wandering around on bikes in this location.  (We saw them the following day in Poitiers too).

After a very relaxed lovely ride things suddenly heated up outside Poitiers. We passed Futuroscope - an amusement park with a futuristic theme - and then we suddenly had to pay strict attention as we entered the industrial/commercial side of  Poitiers. There were no cycling lanes and it was two lane, fast-moving truck traffic.  We had to make some quick left turns in front of traffic and our hearts were racing as we finally peeled off onto the cycling lane to lead us into the center of Poitiers.  In three days this was the first time Eric and Melinda had been in busy traffic with no cycling lanes and afterwards Melinda said she needed a stiff drink. But it ended up not being a problem. The final ride into Poitiers was along a river parkway and then a stiff sharp uphill climb on cobbles— every town  is on a hill in Europe. Dave, who was navigating, successfully manauevered us to within a block of our hotel until Komoot decided to route us up a passage that involved stairs. We opted for Plan B - going the wrong way on a one-way street for a block to find our hotel. More on that tomorrow as we are in Poitier two nights.

Ah, c'mon, Komoot. You want us to go here?!
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Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 1,450 km (900 miles)

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