Normandy & Brittany 2023

Keith, Dave & Lofty explore Normandy & Brittany

Dave Dodwell

Clubroom 20 /10/23
Dave Dodwell

Two friends show how to enjoy historic sites and get a fair amount of cycling in too.

One aim was to watch PBP (Paris Brest Paris)
They had 2 weeks and used Keith’s van, named Lofty
It has a leisure battery & USB charging, solving the charging problem. Keith and his van are really well organised.

This was a two site based trip, starting in Normandy and then the second week in Brittany with day rides from each of the sites.


They went to Omaha beach and could see how vulnerable the beach was to the German gun emplacements. The gun barrels would overheat and it took 10 seconds for a barrel to be changed to be ready for the next shot so there was a gap in which the landing troops could advance between rounds of firing.
One day they took in a part of EV (EuroVelo) 4, Roscoff to Kiev, but for obvious reasons not going all the way.
They went to Gold Beach & Arremanche & the Mulberry Harbour. The Breakwater is still there as a memorial.
There are a still the remains of a couple of the units in Portsmouth.
The British tried out 4 designs for the Mulberry harbour at a place in Scotland and as three succumbed to a storm, deciding the winner was straightforward. The museum at Arromanches very good and there is also a Banksy type mural of ‘Please no more war – love’.

The Bayeaux tapestry was impressive, particularly as it is an embroidery, rather than a tapestry.

The Normandy part finished with the Overlord museum & Calvados and then a drive to their Brittany site.

Booking bikes on a train was not easy as apparently there are 9 bike spaces but none bookable.
They did indeed get to see the PBP to enjoy the people and atmosphere.
A serendipitous find was the Canal de l’Ille et Rance.
Mont St Michel was irresistible, possibly because it is free to enter. The penalty is that it is crowded.
The way back to their camp was relaxed and enjoyable on a disused railway line.

As a finale on the last day they went to see the Grand bunker museum, in a building which was captured without a fight from the Germans.

Nuggets from the trip

French Drivers are so courteous.
The velo promenades are little maps and very good.
They converted them to GPS or RidewithGPS themselves.

Dave says the trip was very good but it is better not to expect to go too far in a day so that you get to see the sights, rather than spending all day in the saddle and missing them.

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