North Coast of France

Morlaix to Brest

The final ride of the tour. I was a little sad to leave Moraix. Not least because the day began with nearly 1000ft climb, but also because it seemed a genuinely lovely town. The people at the guesthouse were extremely friendly and indeed everyone I had met had been more than happy to help with my broken French language skills. If I’d had more time I would have liked to go down to the coast and see the lighthouse, but I was aware that there were several large climbs between me and Brest so I got in the road around 10am.

The bike by now was starting to show real signs of wear and tear. The back mudguard is what I can only describe in Cycling technical terms as “screwed”. It was hanging on by a thread and only survived the journey with the application of gaffer tape and several stops to rectify its position and stop it rubbing the rear tyre any more raw than it already was. Regretting it swapping this tyre out for a new Marathon as I had done on the front. The tread on the rear is now nonexistent. My brakes are suffering a bit too, the lovely clean rear cassette I had installed before starting was also starting to slip a little, the chain missing the gear gear changes and then jumping to rectify itself at unexpected times – all in all it needs a damn good service.

Google and I fell out a few times during the ride and the wind was it’s usual pain in the backside, making hard work even of pedalling downhill, but really by this point I didn’t mind at all. The finish line was pretty close. The early parts of the day were challenging,

but for much of the second half of the ride I was following the river down to where it meets the sea at Brest and the scenery was stunning. I was too busy enjoying it to get too many pictures.

When I’d originally planned the route, my intention was to add a further 20 mile round trip to the Pointe de Corsen, the most westerly point of mainland France. However, the thought of cycling a further 10 miles west, out onto a peninsula sticking out into the Atlantic, with the wind as it was just seemed daft. I was more than happy to reach Brest. This is a holiday after all, not a suicidal boot camp!

Brest itself is an interesting town. A large university city which was bombed flat by the Americans during the Second World War in trying to destroy the German submarine base. When I say flat, I mean flat. A local was telling me that before that it was full of lots of winding lanes and historic buildings, none of which remain other than the mightily impressive castle at the head of the port. Heading up from the crammed port, which is also France’s second biggest naval base is now a wide plaza type Main Street, surrounded by a concrete mass of residential and commercial buildings hastily thrown together in the 1950’s. The net result; one of Europe’s most well planned wind tunnels right through the middle of town.

Having checked in at the hotel and stored my bike for the night, I headed out into town, which even on a chilly and windy Thursday in March was pretty lively. Some good local beers in an Irish bar, chatting to a kiwi about rugby, followed by some Breton folk music and a few more beers in a recommended pub down by the harbour was enough for one tired cyclist to head back to the hotel. Another ride done, just a train to St Malo on Friday and a Saturday sailing over to Portsmouth from where I can get a train home.

a few more photos;

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