Preface: April 2017 - Forest, Beach, and River: A Solo Tour of Normandy - CycleBlaze

April 10, 2018

Preface: April 2017

Preface: April 2017. This trip happened in July and August of 2017, but its story began in April. My wife and I had a one-year old, and had recently decided to have a second child. I could foresee the fun of being a family of four, but I was definitely not looking forward to the first year of having two very young children: lots of diapers to change, and not a lot of leaving the house for adventures.

Around that time Suzanne and I were sitting in our living room after our daughter had gone to bed, each doing our own thing. I was reading something about cycling, and I said aloud “I miss bike touring.”

Suzanne and I had gone on a bike touring honeymoon five years earlier, and we had plans to go touring with our children. A newborn, however, is not amenable to that, since most medical advice is to wait until one year old before subjecting a child to the bumps and vibrations of cycling. So when I said “I miss bike touring” it was with a degree of wistfulness, knowing that would probably be a few more years before I could do so again.

I was not expecting Suzanne to say what she did, which was “You should go.”  There was no hesitation: she didn’t think about it, or maybe she had already thought about it. “I’m a schoolteacher, I get to and a half months of vacation. You should at least take two weeks doing something you really want to do. Also, I want to kind of test myself to see how well I do alone with Maeve that long, before we have another one.”

It didn’t seem like the sort of thing that people did when they had a toddler – to go traveling by themselves, leaving one parent alone – but I did not argue. Within a month, I had booked a plane ticket from San Francisco to Paris, and was figuring out my route and where I would assemble my bicycle when I got there. After looking at some more remote locations in France I eventually settled on Normandy, because I could take a commuter train to the edge of Paris and start bike touring the same day I arrived. Any other destination would have required a day of train travel on either end, which was two days I could otherwise spend pedaling. Normandy was also close to Bretagne, another seaside province that I had very much enjoyed touring through on our honeymoon.

My eventual route.
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