The continuing saga of the 2015 SERV Surrey & South London May Bank Holiday Weekend tour to France. If you missed the first installment, please have a look at Day 1 first.
Saturday morning saw our merry band stocking up on carbohydrates and caffeine before exiting the car park via the steep ramp into the narrow street, then departing Charleville-Mezieres to sample some of the roads that we’d had to postpone from the previous day.
At this point, we were very close to the border with Belgium, so it seemed rude not to terrorise some twisty country roads through the mountains. Those roads, and indeed the scenery, were simply stunning. A good couple of hours bimbling uphill and down , winding hither and yon, and the grins were fixed in place.
During which time came our second incident of the trip. A slight excess of speed, a minor deficit of talent, a foot down as a third point of contact and it was nearly a broken toe. Thankfully, it was only badly bruised and the bike was completely undamaged. Any incident you walk away from …
Morning coffee was at the Le Saint Hubert hotel in Haybes, where we sat looking at the tree-covered mountains that we’d just been cruising through. There was even a stretch of unmade road through the forest which was carpeted with pine needles! There was more than one call to go back the same way, sadly denied.
The onward journey descended into the valley of La Meuse, with a nice blast on a cracking road which ran parallel to the river for several miles before we continued on west by south west through the Parc naturel régionel des Ardennes. There was a very amusing detour through Balham as well. They do say it’s the Gateway to the South!
Lunch from the Carrefour in Asfeld, sat in the sunshine on the grass and using the rack of a Pan-European as a preparation surface turned the heads of a few locals as they walked in or out of the supermarket! It has to be said that a baguette full of ham and cheese chased down with some sugary carbonated drinks and chocolate biscuits really does hit the mark.
The highlight of the afternoon has to be a stop-off at the old motor racing circuit at Reims-Gueux. The pit straight is now a public road but the pit building and grand stand have been renovated. Thankfully, French authorities haven’t ruined the feeling or enjoyment of the area with traffic-calming features.
Our afternoon refreshment stop was for ice creams in the shadow of the Chateau de Pierrefonds, which is a popular biking stop it seems. It turned out that our waiter was from our side of the channel as well!
From there, more fantastic roads took us on to our overnight stop for the next two nights at the Fasthotel Relais Péronne, where hair was let down, steak was eaten and beer was quaffed.
Again, here is a gallery of some of the pictures taken by members of our merry band
On to Day 3 …