Over the hills and far away: Riberac - Perigueux - North to the Loire, monsieur... and home again - CycleBlaze

August 13, 2013

Over the hills and far away: Riberac - Perigueux

AND SO the decision was made. It wasn't hard. I've always thought there's a pleasure in closing the shutters and locking the house and riding ever further from its view. The moment your house vanishes is another moment of the sort you had as a child, when being away from home meant strangeness, danger and excitement. And then later it's a prelude to what lay beyond the park, the bend in the road and eventually the horizon.

Is there a cyclist worth his name who hasn't gazed at a winding road and wondered just what might be there, just a little further?

But going the other way? Well, yes, there's something pleasant about wheeling up to your house and ringing up Finished with engines as they used to on cruisers and liners. But the last couple of hours, on roads you know and when there could be something novel but, in your heart, you know there won't be...

Do you get that? The Last Hour Syndrome?

It had been a good tour and we'd have another good ride today to close it. We'd take the dog leg up a long hill in traffic heading for the region's tourist sights and then more direct to Périgueux for a train to Agen. There'd still be a Last Hour, because there's 30km from Agen to home. But, this morning, we just wanted to be back.

So, chugging along, first up and then down the long drop to the valley in which Périgueux stands, we rode contentedly and looked forward to coffee and sticky buns at the station. Many French stations are abandoned and paint-peeling outposts at which trains stop anonymously and purr on out again. But bigger stations have manners and provide proper refreshment and, when the weather's fine, outdoor tables and chairs. And the coffee is served in china cups with saucers and the buns lie unsuspecting on a napkin.

And that's it, really. We reached Périgueux, which housed a Semaine Fédérale three or four years ago, and we rode the bike path we used back then, through a golf course, and we took the path down beside the river close to the Sem Fed campground and, a stretch of retail warehouses and a couple of roundabouts later, we were at the station.

And its coffee and sticky buns. It had been a good tour. Not without its low points, but any tour is good. That's why we do it, isn't it?

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