Day 7 – Dieppe to Forges les Eaux / Persona non data
The weather had been forecast to be terrible today, and it was drizzling as we set off from Dieppe, but as things turned out it only lightly drizzled on us a couple of times, and was very warm and humid throughout. One thing we did find is that even though the weather was basically fine and the going was smooth, cycling along the almost-flat at a constant speed is murder on the arse. There was a lot more complaining and standing up on this one than on the rougher ones.
Only Shaun has mobile data available here – the rest of us have turned it off for fear of having to remortgage our houses due to the extortionate data rates. I amused myself far more than I should have done by coining the phrase “Persona non data” to describe this. How they haven’t killed me yet I’ll never know – we have five days of this yet so perhaps they still may.
We weren’t sure what cafes, bars and restaurants we would pass, so we decided to buy baguettes, emmental and tomatoes to knock up sandwiches with our penknives on the way. In the carrefour supermarket I bought this stuff in I also bought a two litre bottle of Orangina, with which I recklessly filled my drinking bottle on the bike. This let to amusing jets of CO² every time I tried to open it which often led to me having to rinse it off my face with a little water. If you think this story makes me sound like a greedy, childish, clumsy idiot there may be some truth in that.
We climbed out of Dieppe on a long low hill, cycling on the right for the first time. The road was very smooth and the going was good – perhaps 13mph, which beats the 5 we were pulling on Sunday. After a few miles we got to the Avenue Verte proper, which in this section was a beautifully long stretch of old railway line converted into a cycle path. Unlike even the good stretches of cycle path in the UK, such as the Cuckoo Trail, this was almost billiard-table smooth – we could just charge constantly along at a constant speed even though the ride was almost entirely slightly uphill.
We passed some beautiful lakes and peaceful farmland, and at one point came across the beautiful Château de Mesnières in Mesnières-en-Bray, which had an odd little park nearby with a little covered seat in which we made and our sandwiches.
We had estimated perhaps 3-4pm for our arrival to Shaun, but the going was so good we started to think we’d be there at 2 or earlier – as it happened we ended up racing into Forges-les-Eaux at about 1:20, and found him all set up at the hotel. There’s a locked garage to put our bikes in, and a single room with four beds – the other three are all snoozing away now after a beer (I had orangina and a coffee) and I’m foolishly writing this.
Shaun and I waited outside the hotel shortly after arrival for Rich and Andy to appear. Richard is a very thorough fellow who moves at his own speed, and woebetide anyone who attempts to hurry him along. While we were waiting though we were enchanted by a little white dog being groomed in a parlour next door to the hotel. At one point he had two hairdryers pointed at him whilst the lady was brushing him, and he looked so happy it made us rather jealous. I’ll leave you with him.
Here’s the ride data: