Day 20: Rang to Besancon - Grampies Tour de France - CycleBlaze

April 15, 2018

Day 20: Rang to Besancon

The tiny town of Rang, where we stayed last night, is off route. We decided to take a 6 km shortcut to get back to the canal. That 6 km was on road, so we found ourselves again riding the dotted line. Fortunately on a Sunday morning in this out of the way place there was no real traffic.

We have now long left Alsace behind, and are in the Franche-Comté region. We can really see the difference in the now somewhat crumbly buildings and farms that are muddy rather than spotless. We also see the influence of the Jura mountain region, mainly in the church steeples. These are somewhat bell shaped and often covered with coloured tiles.

Riding the dotted line is not our idea of a good time.
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The town of Clerval - typical for this region and clearly not Alsatian.
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Churches with "Jura" type steeples.
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The main story for the day, once we did get back to the cycle route was the following of the Doubs river and/or the canal. The river is generally very tranquil, and offered lots of tranquil water scenes. For much of the route it passes under moderately high cliffs, which also add to the impression of quiet isolation.

Quiet isolation
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Dodie's keen eye continued to spot the local wildlife.  There was a heron rookery across the river, for instance, with a half dozen or more nest close by each other. And then there were some new ducklings, or a variety we do not recognize. Though not quite evident in this photo, they were extre,ely good at being "ducks in a row", and would scramble and splash when they felt too much out of line.

Ducks soon to be in a row
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Herons in their rookery
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We also saw not a lot but a fair smattering of touring cyclists. There does not seem to be a feeling of community here among such cyclists, and none of them seemed in the least danger of actually stopping to say hello. There is actually a better chance of a nice greeting from miscellaneous walkers along the path, and especially from children of all ages, who seemed trained to say hello to anyone passing.

Some of the touring cyclists were notable for heavy loads, or for some special piece of equipment, like a white torpedo shaped trailer we saw. Here we offer a touring couple  featuring two very different bicycle types. In addition you have the dog in the trailer, and the true "pannier" or "basket" on the back. "Pannier" is the term we had learned in past years to apply to touring saddle bags, but we find here in France they are universally called "sacoches" which is more like "bags".

Slightly eccentric touring couple
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Besancon old town is contained in a loop in the Doubs river which is almost closed.  It is a hilly situation and a  tunnel cuts under the hill and the narrow part of the loop. Cyclists who are just passing through can take the tunnel and avoid the town. But today Besancon was our stop so we went up into the town. We returned to a hotel we had been at before, the Hotel du Nord, right in the middle of downtown.  Downtown Besancon is really beautiful, with slightly Parisian buildings and generally quiet streets. We love Hotel du Nord mainly because there is a Casino supermarket next door. But on Sunday, Casino closes at noon - oh well.  Sunday or not there was no problem finding food since there are lots of cafes around and a fair number were open. 

Interesting and quiet streets of Bescanson
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We found all our favourite kids' clothing stores here. Unfortunately we are not set up for carrying stuff like that.
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 Our plan is to set off quite early tomorrow, toward St Jean de Losne. St Jean is already in Burgundy, on the Saone River.  It is about 35 km south of Givrey-Chambertin which is the home of Keith Klein, another of our favourite blog writers. Keith has agreed to come down and meet us, so all we have to do is to get there!

Today's ride: 63 km (39 miles)
Total: 1,164 km (723 miles)

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Stewart Brady The duck looks like a goosander.
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2 years ago
Michel FleuranceYou can give my e-mail to Chantal and Jean-Paul if they wish to contact me.
I will be happy to speak with them.

Say hi to Keith from me.

Your progress :

I am discovering

This week is going to warm up with a lot of sunny days.

Have fun,
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2 years ago