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Brittany by Bike

St Malo – Dinan – Iffendic

To celebrate our ‘milestone’ birthdays this year, we wanted to have a mini adventure. We decided to treat ourselves to a 3-week holiday rather than snatching the brief week away we normally have due to being self-employed. As we love our bikes, we planned a cycle camping trip to Brittany in France. We wanted to cycle on quiet country roads, or follow one of the many Veloroutes, and spend a couple of days cycling, a couple of days sightseeing…

Being lucky enough to live on the coast of southern England, with easy access to the cross-Channel ferries, we only have to cycle a mere 9 miles to the Port of Poole in Dorset and jump on a ferry to St Malo.

This we did one dull, grey morning in May, rather apprehensively and wondering what we were letting ourselves in for due to the unseasonable weather conditions. However, we managed to arrive in France at least dry, if not slightly windswept after a choppy crossing – the sea being described by the captain as ‘un peu agite’ – and a windy cycle to the campsite in St Malo.

The following morning we packed up and set off for Dinan. As usual, trying to fathom the best route out of town by bike took some doing! By lunchtime it had started to spit with rain, which then turned into a torrential downpour and by the time we arrived at the campsite at Taden, we were absolutely soaked! This downpour continued for the next 2 days, which kept us tent bound. Being confined to the tent for this period of time encouraged us to practise the art of face-to-face conversation, a skill rarely used these days!!

We decided we wanted to look around the medieval town of Dinan, which we had visited last year but had been unable to take many photos as I had foolishly forgotten to pack my camera battery charger! So, when the rain eased slightly on Monday afternoon, we took a chance and walked into town alongside the Rance River, togged up in our waterproofs, just in case!

Later that evening on the campsite, we met a couple from New Zealand who were also cycle touring. They had cycled from Bridgewater in Somerset, UK, after collecting their new Thorn touring bikes, which they’d ordered online back in NZ. We spent a happy couple of hours discussing gear and bikes and comparing routes, as cycle campers do!

The following morning the sun was shining, yay! Time to pack up and move on. It took us a couple of hours to get the gear stashed (we do get quicker at this as the holiday goes on!), but we then spent another hour or so chatting to our Kiwi friends before leaving.

After finding our way out of Dinan, we had a roller-coaster ride (i.e. hills!) to our next destination, Iffendic. We got there only to discover, after asking for directions, that the campsite was a couple of kilometres out of town. As usual, a motorist’s idea of a ‘couple of kilometres’ transforms into at least three times that distance on a bike! We eventually found the campsite down a long lane, in the middle of a forest, next to a lake. This was going to be a one-night stopover as the next day we were heading for Paimpont in the Foret de Broceliande