Random Touring Bits

Some random bits from my 2011 tour of France, and Northern Spain.

Camping in France

There are a lot of campsites in France – but about half of them shut at the end of September, some more shut at the end of October, and yet more shut mid November (after the 11th November bank holiday). Not very many open all year.  Confusingly some campsites remain open – but not for tents, only for caravans. It’s not often you can’t find an open site – but sometimes it takes a bit of planning.  When you do find a site, you’ll probably be the only person in an actual tent.  Autumn camping in France seems to mean campervan.

Some trees are too thick to tie a bike to, Tree provision is a big pitch consideration.

Because I often didn’t plan on wildcamping (i do like a shower after a day in the saddle)  it was always a bit of a last minute decision. Usually meaning i didn’t have enough water to re-hydrate and cook. Sometimes i just ate prince biscuits and drank tea – sometimes i cooked then work up dry mouthed.  Better planning and more water carrying capacity might be the way forward.


I did manage to spend the first month with reduced and painful mobility in my right shoulder- no idea what caused it – but I think maybe sleeping on it. It went away again though.

The only medicine I used was anti-fungal cream and 2 tablets of ibuprofen.

Towards the end I  lost some feeling in the fingers on my right hand – they would be tingly at times- and numb at others.  It took a week to feel my little finger again.  All OK now though.

It’s probably a good idea to carry a first aid kit.

Bike Bits

I love my bike.

I intended fit a kick stand before I went, but never got round to it.  I’d still quite like one. (…but)

It’s a good idea to write the code that corresponds to your wheel size on the back of your bike computer – then you’ll know it when you reset your computer trying to change the time.

I also love my non-puncturing tyres.

My saddle kept coming loose near the start – I took it to a man with dead long allan keys and he sorted it.  Pigeon French and gesticulating was involved. He didn’t even charge me.

My bike is a boy magnet.  (I am not)


on The Road

Hills are the best bit.

I took a week off to go bouldering in Font, apart from that I took 4 days off, for sightseeing more than rest. Generally I would cycle about 80km a day – although a few days i just did 50km.

French and Spanish drivers are nice to bikes.  Merci Beaucoup! Gracias!

A woman said to me “if you can do this, you can do anything“. I hadn’t though of it like that, but I liked it.