To Beaurains-lès-Noyon - Skipping About the Continent - CycleBlaze

August 1, 2022

To Beaurains-lès-Noyon

It was another gray sky day, with predictions for rain for much of the day. I was glad that I had taken the decision last night to add a stop between Pérron and Laon – basically cutting my mileage for the day in half. This might allow me a window in which to stay dry, but at the very least would shorten the duration of cycling in the rain.

 There was an added bonus to my decision – the discovery of the town of Noyon, which is located almost exactly midway between Pérron and Laon. and is home to another of France’s famed Gothic cathedral, the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Noyon. A downside to last minute change in plans was that I could not find a room in Noyon, so I booked a B&B a couple of miles out of town in Beaurains-lès-Noyon.

 In the midst of all that good news – even rain would be welcome given how dry everything was – I did regretfully bail on my visit to the museum. Instead, I spent the morning working on the journal and watching the weather forecast, and then suddenly it was time to check out and I had clearing skies for the next few hours. I justified my decision by the fact that I will be visiting Verdun in a few weeks, but I really should have taken a little time to better understand the events of the Great War. Cycling through France, one is easily reminded of how often these fields were the site of bloody battles as various kings and rulers sought to expand their empire. It is a sobering reminder that times of peace should not be taken for granted.

The ride today included a mix of Canalway cycle paths and small roads through the farmnlands of the Oise Department. It began with a return to the Somme River Canalway, heading almost due south to Noyon. This section of the Canalway was shared with the Canal du Nord and was more industrial, actually traversing through large industrial sites where goods are loaded onto barges for transport along the canal. Several large barges were plying the waterway, and there was some entertainment in waiting to see how these long, narrow vessels would fit into the canal locks.

The ride started with a return to the Somme River Canalway
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I had to dismount to pick my way past this formidable looking machinery used for scooping and loading gravel and stone into the hulls of the barge.
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A different kind of gravel riding
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Rachael AndersonI hate biking in thick sand!
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Along the Somme River Canalway
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The most common barge configuration is depicted here, with the rear barge providing the power to both push the front barge and propel itself down the canal. This pair was approaching a slight bend in the canal, followed closely by a lock.
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It was a tight fit maneuvering into the lock
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Looks like they'll make it. I scurried to the other side hoping to see the two barges wholly within the lock as the waters rose. However, there were large fences erected around the area and I couldn't see into the lock. I went downstream hoping to see the barges emerge, but it took too long so I pedaled off
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The other highlight of the ride was meeting Catherine, a cyclist on her way to the Baie of Somme. We had delightful conversation in French, going through the usual questions while she munched on her toast and graciously corrected both my pronunciation and grammar. After about fifteen minutes, she switched to perfectly good English and we shared even more – her life as an avowed internet Luddite, pilates instructor, dancer, and cyclist. She invited me to bring Vivien George for a visit to her her home near Le Harve, something I just might consider. 

Catherine - a charming cyclist with her own sense of style
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From the canalway - Èglise Notre-Dame-de-la-nativité in Épénancourt (Pop 124 in 2019)
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From the canalway - Église Saint-Barthélemy in Villecourt (Pop. 57 in 2019)
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From the canalway - a fisher and a church, unkown locale
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After almost eighteen miles, I left the Canalway at Buverchy and traveled along the small roads of the Trans d’Oise Veloroute, passing through a series of small towns and farm fields. After a day and a half on the canal, it was delightful cycling through more varied terrain and scenery. I didn't dawdle, however, as I was on pace to arrive at the B&B close to my projected time of three pm. In fact, I pulled into the driveway at 2:57 pm and was given a very warm welcome by my hosts, Aude and Dave.

Aude grew up in Beaurains-lès-Noyon and the B&B is the former home of her grandmother, Marguerite. Dave is originally from Chicago, and the two met while working in the US and settled down near Milwaukee. In 2010, they relocated to France and remodeled Marguerite's house for a B&B. History is Dave’s avocation and both he and Aude filled me in on much of the local history, from the German occupation during WWI to the fact that Charlemagne was crowned in what would become the Noyon cathedral. Dinner was a choice of prepared meals from a local chef, along with just-picked cherry tomatoes from their garden. I’d been disappointed last night at not finding a room in the center of Noyon, but tonight I was most thankful for the warmth and hospitality of Aude and Dave.

Église de Moyencourt in Moyencourt (Pop 321, 2019)
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Along the Trans d’Oise Veloroute
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The final few miles were on a Voie Vert along the Canal du Nord (again!) that could have taken me all the way into Noyon
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I had my own little mini-apartment at the Marguerite 60 Bed and Breakfast
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Today's ride: 30 miles (48 km)
Total: 2,047 miles (3,294 km)

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