Having ridden Margate to Land's End at the back end of last summer, I have been keen to create space for another little trip. Some people have suggested John O'Groats to Land's End (JOGLE), but I feel I've done the Land's End thing for now, so I started looking for a different challenge.
JOGLE is sometimes termed End-to-end but there's another End-to-End within easy starting distance. Calais to Montpellier. In distance it is a bit more than half as much again as my little trip last year so represents a step up in stamina. I really felt by the time I got to Land's End last year, that I could have quite happily gone on to do more. This year I'm going to put that to the test.
This is the rough route I intend to take, over a timeframe of between 10 and 14 days. The intention is to meet up with my dad and step mother, Cathy, for a couple of days in Montpellier - maybe sample a few glasses of wine and some French cooking before catching the train back north.
My biggest fear about the whole trip is that once I head south from Calais I have to pass through the following regions; Champagne, Burgundy, Côtes du Rhone and finally into Languedoc.
Anyone who knows anything about wine and anything about me will realise that this represents as much of a challenge as the actual cycling itself. The entire enterprise could end without making it through Champagne, never mind anywhere else.
The distances involved though are a challenge. Margate to Land's End was a total of 483 miles in 10 days cycling. This trip is nearer to 750 and being attempted in a similar timeframe. I feel a lot more confident about my distance cycling these days though, so with 4 days contingency it should be achievable - even providing for a few steep hills on the way.
My other concerns revolve mainly around the French in general - their tendencies to drive on the wrong side of the road and not to speak English....My GCSE french (scraped through, god knows how) only extends to the words for Bread, Wine, Cauliflower and rabbit - so looks like a limited but entirely plausible menu for the ride....
As with last year's adventure I shall hopefully be posting on the way down and adding in some photos of what I expect to be some fantastic scenery.