Final Day Before A Welcome Break: near Cholet to Rennes - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

April 15, 2014

Final Day Before A Welcome Break: near Cholet to Rennes

The close proximity of my campsite to an animal feed-mill, just across the road, a hundred metres through the trees, with a humming din going on all night and the noise of trucks making round-the-clock deliveries, together with shafts of light from the plant didn't keep me awake. In the morning the noise blends with birdsong and noisy ducks around the edge of the pond.

This small plot of woodland centred around a pond has signs of being a nature reserve, so I'm anxious no one will discover me camped here. Shortly after eight, I push the bike along the dewy grass fringed track leading to the gate. I unhook the wire-gate, letting the strands of wire fall to the ground, then wheel the bike through, stop and leave the bike on its stand, return and lift the wires and hook them back on their catch, leaving all how I found it; then steal away unnoticed.

The small road bridges the motorway and sweeps down a leafy valley to a bridge over a stream where there is a municipal rest-place with picnic tables on the embankment. It would've made a great place to camp. Only a few kilometres on from where I did camp, it would've been much more peaceful and a table is nice to sit and eat at.

I ride into Beaupreau around eight-thirty, which is still early enough that the sun is low, meaning it's still cold on the ground in the long shadows as I pass along a narrow street. Leaving town, I take a bit of a wrong turn at a roundabout and end up a little disorientated in a modern grid of streets, with square glass and metal clad DIY and builder-supply stores on wide plots of car parks on either side, until emerging out on a busy road with slow backed up traffic, leading to a roundabout where I find my bearing again, and an exit north to the next place.

Beyond this town is the Loire river.
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Crossing the suspension bridge over the Loire is a landmark, but looking at the map there is still a long way to Rennes. It isn't until early afternoon I pick up the first distance-sign for the city which reads "Rennes 83 km". This is at a roundabout on the network of roads circling Canda. Its lunchtime so I turn off and ride into the tranquil centre of the old town with its ancient church under restoration hidden in scaffolding, to a plot of grass by a stream down from the highway that I'd spotted on passing.

I stop again approaching four, in the busy town of Chateaubriant, feeling depleted and needing chocolate or something to pick me up. At a Carrefour express in the town centre, a dog tethered by the shopping trolleys growls and takes a go at me as I pass, causing me to suddenly jump sideways out of range, as the collar pulls back on the mutts neck. This causes a giggle from the man behind me.

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Eating two snickers bars and drinking a coke, I've recovered and its an easy ride until reaching the city limits; where, I first ride along a service road to avoid a motorway, which leads to a cycle-route where I lose the way and end up following a bus-route, stopping occasionally at bus-shelters to look at a colour-coded bus map, to check I'm going the right way. Eventually I cross the waterway which circles the old town, from where I already know the location of a hostel, having been here before.

Janze is the town I reached by lunchtime when I rode out of Rennes on a previous visit to the region.
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Me on the cycle-path into Rennes
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Today's ride: 139 km (86 miles)
Total: 14,490 km (8,998 miles)

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