Blois to La Croix-en-Touraine

Straightforward ride today, partly along the Loire and partly through random farmland and a bit of forest.

We didn’t really see anything of Blois, which is unfortunate as it looks like a lovely town. We also skirted the edge of Amboise this afternoon, another town I’d love to spend a day or two exploring.

Tomorrow is a day off, our last, and we’re planning to bike down to Chenonceaux, a famous chateau not far away, then possibly catch the train up to Tours for the afternoon and the train back here to La Croix-en-Touraine.

More Chateaux (Orleans to Blois)

Good but long day on the road, only 70km but we left the hostel in Orleans at 0800 and I didn’t get to our hostel in Blois until past 1700.

We started off with a wander through central Orleans, which is q great looking city I would have loved to have more time in.

The highlight of the day was a wander around Chambord, a castle/chateau so over the top it boggles the mind. The roofline is awesomely complex, chimneys, windows and towers rioting all over the place.

Just outside Blois I got another flat, so I walked the bike about five km through the city with a stop at a bike shop, then spent the evening swapping tires and tubes around to hopefully fix the issues I had today and yesterday.

Off to a village near Tours tomorrow for two nights, including our last day off before the end of the trip.

Three Flats, Two Coffees, And Rain (Sully-sur-Loire to Orleans)

Not the best day on the road to Nantes.

Overcast but not actually raining when we biked to breakfast, but alternating between drizzle and proper rain the rest of the day.

Mid-morning I blew my rear tire, apparently by overstressing the rubber near the valve – I had neglected to pump air into the tire before breakfast and an underinflated tube flexes more.

We found a disused tractor shed to change the tire out of the rain, at least.

Fifteen minutes later, the new tube was flat. Probably grit inside the tire from that tractor shed. I borrowed one of Terrance’s spare tubes, changed it under a tree, and off we went.

Half an hour after that, just on the edge of Chateauneuf-sur-Loire, the latest tube blew.

This time I walked the bike to a cafe about two kilometres down the road and broke out the patch kit. Something had pushed right through the tire into the tube, so after a coffee I put a patch on both the tube and inside the tire, then had a second coffee, partly to thank the cafe owner for use of his terrace for bike repairs!

Naturally all three punctures happened on the rear wheel, which is much messier and more awkward than the front to deal with…

The tube in the bike seems to be holding, as is the patch on the second tube, but I’ll still be off to a bike store tomorrow for extra tubes.

After the flats and the rain we arrived at the hostel just south of Orleans wet, tired and irritable, in no condition to go back into Orleans to sightsee. We’ll see some of the city tomorrow, at least, and dinner at the hostel was really good, by far the best hostel meal we’ve had all trip.

Proper Chateau Country (Briare to Sully-sur-Loire)

Short and fairly straightforward ride up the Loire today to Sully-sur-Loire.

Enroute we had a quick look at another chateau at Saint Brisson sur Loire, this one with a collection of replica medieval trebuchets on the grounds that they apparently fire into a nearby lake on special occasions!

Sully is home to one of the really famous chateaux on the Loire, entirely surrounded by a moat and with classic pointy tower tops.

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The chateau at Sully-sur-Loire.

Lodging for the night was another gym floor, but this was improved by the fact that the property backed right onto the back end of the moat around Sully chateau, so we had a good spot for picnic dinner.