City distances in Northern France




Cycling in France

Aiming to take the campervan to France this year. Potential main cycling routes… no info yet on the Routes Vertes or the VeloRoutes. (BdS references are to Baie de Somme)

Honfleur to Deauville – 1 hour

Honfleur to Rouen – 4.5 hours

Dieppe to Rouen – 3.5 hours

BdS to Dieppe – 3 hours

Calais to Gravelines – 1 hour

Le Touquet to Dieppe – 6 hours

Calais to Dieppe – 9 hours

Calais to Le Touquet – 4 hours

BaieDeSomme to Amiens – 3.5 hours

Useful motoring maps


Cycling: those vulnerable road bike inner tubes

On Sunday, we had the pleasure of Emma¬†joining us for an early bike ride (that’s not significant for the post, but I choose to throw it in ūüôā ). Emma and I had the hybrids, which already have the excellent Slime inner tubes, and which in the space of a lot of cycling over 3 years, have never let us down. In addition, Jan has a road bike, and I’ve recently bought one. Jan used the road bike for this ride. Once again, riding on a path, the road bike got a puncture. On average therefore, I would say we get a puncture one in every five 25 mile rides.

So yesterday we bought a pair of slime tyres for the road bikes. Although we like to go at a reasonable pace, we are not bothered about squeezing that last drop of performance out of our bikes. Thus, any weight or speed penalty the Slime introduces is justified by less time fitting a new tube or a sticky by the side of the road.

I’ll update this post if the road bike Slime does get a puncture which doesn’t repair itself.

For reference, below is a picture of the tube I used Р700X 19/25C. In fact the previous tyre was a 23C, but the tube fitted fine. If anything, it was easier to put on than the Slime on the hybrid. If you have not used these before, be aware that inflating the tyre can be a bit messy, at least when you are pressing the valve down to ensure it is free.

We got the tyres from Wilkinsons‘, which are great value at ¬£6 each, right now. Retail is normally ¬£10 or so I think.

WP_20151027_14_24_09_Pro WP_20151027_14_24_01_Pro


Bikes: So I got a road bike…

… primarily because it was just disheartening (almost literally, as on the harder climbs it indeed felt as though my heart was ready to burst out of my chest) to see Jan climbing away effortlessly up the hills on her road bike.

I got this:


Apart from certain irritants such as the cheapness of the toe grips and the reflector on the pedals falling off on the first trip, it’s a great bike, particularly given the combination of the various discounts.

This is the route we took yesterday, with a half pint and crisps at the Fox Inn in Ellisfield


A bit more on the bike – I was torn between whether to get the 55.5 or the 57.5 frame. Why wasn’t I sure? Well, Halfords is understandably in the game mostly of shifting boxes – there was not a single bike, regardless of make, that was available for me to try out on a 57.5 frame. And of course, the “try-out” consisted of weaving in low gear between all the customers in a busy shop. But on the up-side, they put the bike together quickly, it is a very good price, I think, and it is great fun to ride, given it is way lighter than my existing hybrid bike, which still has a purpose, as it can carry paniers, go across rougher terrain… neither of which I will be doing on this one.

BMPics01 BMSpecs01


Robert had asked me how much the bike weighs: by standing on the scales with and without the bike a number of times, I got this answer: 10.5 kilos

Cycling: MapMyRide and Google Earth

This was supposed to be a very short piece, but then it got way too interesting. This (Sunday) morning, Jan and I did an hour’s cycle ride out to Ellisfield. Thanks to MapMyRide, I know it was about 11 miles.

But because it is a very steep ride, I wanted to know the elevation. Tracing out the route (I just have the free subscription, btw), there was amusing stuff, like this “3D” video…


But nothing as far as I could see to give more stats (edit – so giving the post a test run, suddenly I see elevation stats. Fine). Then I saw this:


Drill into that, and you get this…


The combination of markup and Google Earth has to be promising. We download that..


Then download Google Earth


Then File/Open/(the kml file from above), after which you have this:


Right click anywhere on the red route and select Show Elevation Profile:


Clicking brings up this, with the focus on the start of the brutal climb. At least I made it today… previously I’ve had to get off and walk while Jan ambles past me… tortoise and hare style (hair style… never mind).


Cycling: Slime inner tubes

My 3 year old Slime inner tubes suffered a puncture, but then did not self-heal. I figured they were just too old now, given not much green slime comes out of them any more.

But as I extracted the inner tube from the tyre, examination of the tyre showed a thorn to be inside the tyre, presumably constantly irritating and puncturing the tube. So I bought a pair of new ones anyway, but the old one may still be fine… but I won’t risk it.



Blasted bikes… well, specifically blasted brakes

Jan and I went for an early bike ride from Aldermaston to Reading this morning. Despite an hour last night trying to sort her brakes… they were binding again. I need to understand why. So it seems the brakes on our bikes are of the V-Brakes¬ģ kind.


So having watched this video, which certainly seemed the best of the bunch, I’m fairly sure the bike is healthy again. ¬†The key thing, well in my case, are the 2 springs and the screws that control their offset.

In fact here is a manual for these Tektro brakes.