Distance: 68 miles
Total Distance: 697 miles
Another relaxing start to the day as I waited for my cycling companions to arrive. Sioni and Joanna were holidaying in the Pyrenees not too far from Urt, so decided to drive down with their bikes to join me for a few miles. They rocked up to the town centre around 9am. It was good to see some familiar faces after all this time cycling solo. They kindly oiled my rickety bike chain for me and even gave my bike a service – completely free of charge!
We set off at a comfortable pace, crossing the huge bridge over the River Adour. Chatting the whole way, it was a real pleasure to have some company and it perked me up massively. They’re pro cyclists with a lot more experience than me, as well as better bikes and a lot less baggage, but they were happy to slow down for me. It certainly made a nice change from talking to myself.
We spent the morning cycling down scenic country roads before joining a long, long service road running parallel to a motorway. Although it was noisy, the riding was easy and the weather beautiful. After 25-30 miles we stopped for lunch in Magescq, and then went our own separate ways. As they headed back to Urt, I continued north towards London, a slightly longer journey for me.
It was not long after leaving Magescq that my route took me off road. First along a difficult sandy track in which my bike wheel kept getting caught, and then a grassy path through a forest which ended in thick undergrowth. I tried to push through but the path disappeared completely and I was forced to turn back to the road, cut up and bleeding.
It was another lovely afternoon through the small towns and forests of the Landes region, riding easy, flat roads and taking regular breaks. This was my first full day of France and the terrain was already noticeably flatter and the heat much more bearable.
I stopped for the night in Ychoux where I resupplied and found a nice campsite right by a lake. There were lots of local cats for me to interfere which kept me busy for the rest of the evening and helped me to ignore the numerous insect bites I was receiving.
I’m still well on schedule and the hardest part of the route is well behind me. Provided my bike and my body hold up, I’m pretty confident I’ll make it all the way to London.