Day 2 Roquemaure to Anduze (84km)
Sunny first and cloudy later in the afternoon. Wind picking up through the day to end quite strong.
Start the day with TP2. Loading the panniers onto the trike rack one of the plastic clips breaks in two. Various string ideas considered and rejected. Sheila finds a short, light bungee she had seen yesterday lying on the ground, but it is not up to the job (saved it nonetheless because it has a “might be useful” look). Eventually problem solved by reversing the pannier bungee clip and deploying two cable-ties (surely one of the handiest inventions ever for impromptu repairs).
Depart west out of Rhône valley through bamboo groves with frogs and start to climb into higher scrub. Quite a lot of recent housing development and ‘improved’ roads make this busier than when we were last this way. The climb onto the causse towards St Victor la Coste seems to be much harder than remembered (John’s memory has this section of the route as flattish). The map shows arrows on the road so it can’t ever have been that flat – maybe the fact that we are 13 years older and/or that GG is a lot heavier than our upright tandem has something to do with it.
Through St Laurent des Arbres and on to St Victor la Coste, where we stop in the square to view the metric monument. This monument celebrates Galileo and Newton (who was born in the year Galileo died). Given the choice of French mathematicians available, we are impressed that Newton was chosen. The other faces of the monument record the establishment of the metric system and sets out the relationships between linear, square and volumetric measures (or as it says: LONGVEVR, LARGEVR and PROFONDEVR).
Great cycling on fairly quiet roads in bosky limestone countryside with lots of butterflies all around us through Pouzillac, and St Hippolyte de Montaigu. We also enjoy our first classic shady tree lined French avenues to reach Uzès. We head into the centre, trying not to run over small Dutch children who must be owned by someone but seem to be running around semi-feral, and stop in the large historic central square by the fountain. Enjoy the scene and PaRs and spend quite a bit of time on ATQs. Also do a bit of shopping and buy sandwiches for lunch.
Leave Uzès and head through Aubussargues to Collorgues, where a “must be lunchtime” feeling persuades us to stop on the roadside to eat our sandwiches. As it turns out, when we set off again in a couple of kms St Dézéry offers the perfect picnic spot with seats in a small shady square.
Dropping down from the high ground we are enjoying a downhill whizz to Brignon, when a man leaning against a white van takes a photo of us. A short while later the van appears in our mirrors and follows us into Brignon, tailgating us through a tricky staggered junction to cross the main road and River Gard ou Gardon before overtaking and flagging us down. We are used to being photographed but this seems a bit over-keen. Our photographer approaches and explains that he is a cycle journalist and has written extensively about Mont Ventoux. We process a few ATQs in a more informed way than usual and he says he would like to take a few more photos and write about us in a cycle-touring magazine. Not having our agent to hand to negotiate a suitable fee, we agree and smile co-operatively.
We follow the Gardon valley towards the edge of the Cévennes (which we are thoroughly to explore later in the tour) to arrive in Anduze. Shopping for drinks and apricots, then visit the OdT. Sit outside on a bench for our drinks and deal with various ATQs.
A short circuit of the town takes in the market hall, coloured tile fountain (behind scaffolding being restored) and bell tower as we head out of town to our hotel.
Check in to a quiet hotel with friendly owner who tells us that his chef has not turned up but he is prepared to fix a simple dinner for us. After a bit of manoeuvring through a tight space we park the trike outside and head for our room and S&W. There is a pool, John is feeling much better, and so in a short while we are both in the pool.
Dinner turns out to be simple but very acceptable and we share the dining room with one other (French) couple. We chat to the patron about the various jazz items and pictures around the hotel and he turns out to be a great blues fan.
Pre tour and Travel south
Day 1 Roquemaure (76km)
Day 2 Anduze (84km)
Day 3 Aniane (73km)
Day 4 Narbonne (105km)
Day 5 Carcassonne (78km)
Day 6 Carcassonne (0km)
Day 7 Castres (73km)
Day 8 Cordes sur Ciel (68km)
Day 9 Cahor (88km)
Day 10 Salviac (51km)
Day 11 Salviac Rally (28km)
Day 12 Salviac Rally (68km)
Day 13 Vers (50km)
Day 14 Villefranche de Rouergue (65km)
Day 15 Villefranche de Panat (105km)
Day 16 St Chély du Tarn (105km)
Day 17 St Chély du Tarn (0km)
Day 18 Chamborigaud (81km)
Day 19 Vallon Pont d’Arc (65km)
Day 20 Vaison la Romaine (88km)
Day 21 Sault (72km)
Mont Ventoux (51km & 1912m)