Day 1 – Paris to Compiegne

We rose early(ish) and were ready to go shortly after 8 although by the time we had got the horses out of the dungeons and returned the bunch of keys to the key-gnome’s post box within the portal it was 8:30 when we hit the road.

The digs were a one room (bed-sit-kit) with decent shower room small apartment in a new modern block. Here’s the view looking out and looking in.

If you want to see the route it should be at the end of this post. Also the planned itinerary is here.

Euan says “We must be inseine doing this, but its ok because we’re over the sane now” [groan]
Miss OSM did her usual business of finding a maze of twisty little ways to escape from the clutches of the city through the roads less well travelled across the frontier zone where the rural and the urban face off against each other.

Initially we agreed with Miss OSM (by the way in case you haven’t previously read my cycling blog, Miss OSM is the routing software I use on the tablet on my handlebar bag. Open Street Map is the source) but when she sent us along a dirt road to get away from a very busy D road with lorries we had second thoughts. Wiggles are all very well for getting out of town, but Ewan’s concern for the likelihood of his narrow slick tyres puncturing on stones was balanced against the unpleasantness of cycling along a trafficy narrow D road,  and MissOSM was outvoted.

Soon enough the traffic thinned out, the surface became new smoother tarmac, and we swept past the rather nice looking Abbaye de Royaumont.

Leaving Paris by the time we reached open fields we had been a little disorientated by the wiggles and constant changes of direction. We were also in dire need of a second breakfast having worked off our earlier toast and coffee ascending the slopes of Montmorency.

Unfortunately it took us a while to pass a cafe, and when we did there was no nearby boulangerie and they only had one croissant and one pain-au-chocolat left. We grabbed them and tore them asunder.

Somewhat refuelled we pressed on, but the effects didn’t last as long as we wished. We had managed to eventually find a boulangerie with baguette sandwiches and a nice line in French tarts (mine was called Mirabelle and she was gorgeous) on offer, but we decided to save lunch until we had covered at least half the days work.

This might have been a mistake as we were getting pretty knackered by the time we crossed the Oise,  having taken a wrong turn, and found a convenient bench in Criel by the river to eat our meagre repast.

However with the addition of un cafe from a handy cafe, and fortified in the knowledge that the remaining 40km would be along the river and therefore flat, and reassured by the fact that Mr.Googlemap insisted that there was a cycle path all the way beside the river despite MissOSM insisting that we should turn to the lane on higher ground away from the bank, we re-girded our loins, mounted our steeds and pressed on along the riverbank road.

Which soon became a lane, and then a track, and then an unpaved track, and then a path and then a slightly muddy path…

By this time too much had been invested to turn back so on we pressed, ducking overhanging boughs – and were duly rewarded by the path becoming a road again. Alls well that ends well, and although it was slow MissOSM’s guaranteed solid route would probably have taken just as long what with some slight hills and several wiggles.

After that the remainder was a pleasant flat ride with the last 15km along well tarmac’d cycle path away from roads and along the South bank of the Oise. This picture was on the path alongside the road. French cycle infrastructure tends to be pretty good.

A nearly there-beer in a bar in the centre of Compiegne was most welcome despite some confusion between American Red Craft beer and Afligem Rouge beer – which turned out to be made with cherries and served in a triangular cocktail glass.

Our resident beer expert had to pay a visit Monoprix to pick up some local Picardy craft beers in bottles in order to restore his credibility.

Despite some concerns mid-morning not a bad day’s ride. 92.9km at a rolling average of 15.0 km/hr so just over 6hrs in the saddle. One of us did have to get off and push his donkey up a couple of the steeper slopes – but that particular donkey doesn’t have the tackle (gears) for going up 15% slopes. Max speed recorded was only 43.8km/hr – no really good descents today.

Here is the day’s track:

 

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