le-Treport to Wissant, France

Looking at the ocean from my window tonight

Riding into the Somme Department this morning

A WWII German bunker on the ocean near here

Today started out dreary and cold - I wore two knee warmers on my bad knee, a jersey under my riding shirt, liner gloves under my riding gloves, and, after an hour or so, SealSkinz over my wool socks. The weather didn't improve until late this afternoon,. In the middle of the day, I rode in light rain for about two hours. The wind was strong, but usually at my back and I was able to ride 85 miles, with 2000 feet of, often steep, climbing in six and a half hours. Since I started early, for me ;-}, I stopped at 5 PM.

I'm indulging myself on this last day in France. My room costs 85 E, but that includes breakfast and supper.I am hoping I'll restrain myself a bit at supper and be able to stay up late enough so that it doesn't cause me digestive problems. My record for eating supper in France without suffering afterwards is not good. Note added: the menu was fixed and the entree and main course were very nice. Dessert was chocolate cake, which I don't really care the much about, so, after waiting 20 minutes for it to be served, I, I think wisely, left without eating dessert ;-}. It only took an hour for the first two courses, so now I can finish this report and have my first two courses digested enough to avoid indigestion tonight.

Last nights 36 E, with breakfast, room was a not a great place for creating web pages, but it was good for sleeping and I enjoyed my simple breakfast this morning. I rode out of le-Treport on D 925, took a bit of a side trip into the beach town on the other side of the bay, and then found d 940 which, except for a diversion in Boulogne-sur-Mer, and a lot of parallel bike paths, I rode all day. I love it when my routing is that simple!

Cranking across the 'plains'

It wasn't always flat and the road was not always straight, but the weather was always gray and cold..

When I got on D 940, it immediately climbed 300 feet on a 7%, or so grade. That brought me up to the level of the tops of the cliffs, and warmed me up. I was cranking along at speeds u to 20 mph - the wind was at least 15 mph - on a flat road between wheat fields and corn fields. It was Kansas again, but a very chilly Kansas. For the first time on this tour, I had to put on my SealSkinz because my feet were cold. They did the job nicely and, at the end of the day, my socks were damp, but my feet and ankles had stayed comfortable all day.

The bike path at a crossroad

After St-Valery-sur-Somme, D 940 turned west and has heavier traffic. At this point, it gets a separate bike path. I rode that path, or variants of it, for many hours today. Although there were a few sections that were too bumpy to ride comfortably, and I got back on the road in one of those - most of it was quite good. I also rode a bike road for a short distance in Boulogne. They had taken a half mile of road and made it into a bike/pedestrian route for getting from D 940, which became autoroute, to another road that you could ride on to Calais. Well, sort of..

I reached Berck, in the rain, about noon. There was McDs at the roundabout, so I stopped there for lunch. I did not ride out to the beach, but I bet there were people there. Then, as I rode further north in Berck, I stopped at a bread place - I was lucky to find one that was still open at 12:35 - and passed a big amusement park. The parking lot was full and lots of people were riding a big rollercoaster in the rain!

Both bike lanes and bike paths on the way to Boulogne.
There were some stretches with neither.

The rain started about 11 AM and quit about 1 PM. My handlebar camera was wearing its shower cap during that period, After the rain stopped, I reached Boulogne, the big city on this coast. When D 940 kicked me off, I stopped to snack at the start of the bike road. I had a nice image of that, but my LZ-2 messed it up. There was a nice flower and lavender - something I didn't associate with this part of France - bed near the entrance and all this big city behind and below. And my bike was supported by a single post ;-}.

Riding in Boulogne

I couldn't believe that hill!
But I could ride it.

Riding in Boulogne was big city riding and climbing out of Boulogne was really challenging. There was a roughly four block long hill that was, at the least, a sustained 10% grade. It was lined with row houses and each house had its floor about half a story higher than the next house down. I rode it in my 17" gear and it was not a problem at 4 mph. I passed two kids pushing their bikes near the bottom of the hill. They looked amazed as I cranked past them. A little later, I looked in mirror and saw one of them trying to catch me on his bike. He couldn't do it.

After a good bit of climbing, following the signs for Calais, I saw that the Calais route was the autoroute. I should have known! The sign also listed Wimereux and, checking my map, I saw that d 940 ran through Wimereux. I followed that road, stopping at a bus stop to look at its maps, and ended up heading west, uphill some more, into the strong wind. Still it did get me to D 940 at a place where there were nice views - hindered a bit by the weather - of the big city port and of Wimereux. That was the first time, except very briefly in the distance, I had seen the ocean today.

Windmachines at Boulogne's port

A beach at the breakwater between Boulogne and Wimereux


The rest of my ride today on D 940 was close to the ocean and very windy and hilly.When I got to this beach town, it had hotels and it felt peaceful. I decided this was a good place, albeit an expensive one, to stop for the night. If I continue on D 940, I'll cross the Eurotunnel tomorrow before Calais. I'm not sure what happens after Calais since D 940 goes away. Hopefully there will be a good route for bicycles.

Tomorrow night I'll be in Belgium, one of the last countries for me to ride across in western Europe. I don't really know what route I'll take. I didn't bring a copy of the Autoroute 2002 map I made and I don't remember my routing points in Belgium. It doesn't matter. I'll find my way across by heading east and avoiding big cities ;-}.

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