Frankly, today has been a bit of a doddle – relatively speaking. OK I’ve spend 6hrs 56 mins in the saddle, pedalling (add 1 hour for Kiefer) but it has been fairly flat and a day of contrast. We left Niort in thick flog. It was daylight but we had our lights on and we did do a short, but hairy, stretch on a French motorway by mistake.
The first half of the day (after the motorway bit) was the usual beautiful French countryside which is basically shut with very few people about. And the sun shone. We had lunch in a very small town, more like a village. But it had a Bank, a Post Office, a cash point machine and several shops but everything, except two shops, were closed and there was no sign that they would open any time soon. There was virtually no one moving about. This has been typical of our experience. For example, we’ve had real difficulty finding places to buy water (we get through a lot).
We arrived in Royan at around 4:45 to the sight of the sea! A bit of a milestone. We crossed on the ferry and did the last 26 km of the day on cycle paths running through pine forest parallel to the sea.
Looking ahead we have long distances to travel (142 km tomorrow, 139 km on Saturday) but are expecting the going to be good and flat-ish.
Back at base Jane and Dennis have been very busy and have received very positive responses to our plan to visit Zambia in October to engage the key stakeholders in the design of a trial of the ColaLife concept there. Our contact in Coca-Cola is also helping to engage the Coca-Cola bottler in Zambia. It looks like all those of you who have supported us in this fundraising effort will be able to see a significant, direct and positive impact of your donations.
Below are a couple of pictures of the day. The ferry at Royan and Kiefer on the balcony of the hotel where I am typing this.