A multimodal stage on our journey through France, with 70km by bike, 7km by kayak and another 2km uphill to finish the day.
We crossed the Maine river at Bouchemaine, where we stopped for the market and breakfast by the river. The scene looked like we could be in the Netherlands.
I remember little about the rest of the ride other than it was hot and we cycled in a tight convoy to keep a steady pace and cover the ground.
We crossed to the north side of the Loire over a more substantial suspension bridge than we’ve seen so far. Minor aside on suspension bridges. The Loire is the first place I’ve seen multispan suspension bridges with a post tensioned top cable to keep the towers an equal distance apart.
At Ancenis we boarded two kayaks and our bikes were taken downstream in a van. There was a big difference in river flow rate across the width of the channel and finding the fast flowing sections was quite tricky.
We were advised we could moor up and swim behind any of the groynes built out into the river. Behind each, the river water swirls in a great rotating eddy that you have to paddle through to reach the beach. This was where we had our only swim in the Loire. It was so warm.
We arrived at the drop off point, refreshed ourselves as the guinguette and climbed the hill up to our accommodation, a family home we found on warmshowers.com
Our hosts live in a beautiful, self-build home. We enjoyed hearing the details of the construction, their water conservation measures and meeting their guinea pigs.
Warm Showers is a great tool for cheap travel, but it does require quite a lot of on-the-go administration.