Saturday, 26 March 2016

We set a new Longest Cycle Ride Ever record!

It's been the most glorious day here in the Haute-Garonne
A canal lock is called an ecluse in French 
and we made the most of it by spending several hours cycling along the beautiful Canal Du Midi. By the time we got back to Camping Violettes we had completed our Longest Cycle Ride Ever! We cycled 45 kilometres which is about 28 miles and just snuck above our previous 26.6 miles from Cullera last Spring! In tree terms, that's going from plane tree number 35721 to plane tree number 33428 And back again. I love how all the plane trees along this part of the canal are numbered. I have no idea why though. (Informative answers in the Comments?)

Interesting sights along the way included frolicking water
Water voles in the Canal du Midi 
voles and a heron, none of which I managed to photograph though Dave got some good shots of the voles. He spotted the first one and also saw two herons.

We appreciated a rest stop at Gardouch which has picnic tables, toilets and a drinking water tap. We sat to eat lunch at one of the tables and I was flattered by another cyclist admiring my 'jolie velo'! The cycle route has benches regularly spaced all along it and people were sitting in the sunshine at the locks and on the grassy banks too. I do think it lacks food and drink facilities though. We saw one Salon du The barge, but it hasn't opened for the season yet. Otherwise there seems only to be a bistro at Mongiscard on the other side of the water. Perhaps there are more temporary cafes open in the summer months? We thought, as it is a sunny Easter weekend, everything would be open and we could get tea and cake en route! Perhaps we should have booked ourselves on the 'gourmand' boat pictured below. It looked like they were having a birthday party.

Birthday boat on the Canal du Midi 

My favourite sight, just back from the canal, was a line of
A car in a field! 
buildings that appeared to be some sort of commune. We first noticed the white car unended in a neighbouring field next to a blue windmill tower. Then we saw that the garden fence was actually a line of reclaimed bicycles and wheelchairs. Waste not, want not. Elsewhere, the back end of a blue minibus gave the impression that it had been driven into the wall. Dave commented that the only thing missing from the arty-boho vibe was a vegetable patch. That was on our outward journey. A couple of hours later as we cycled back, two men were digging away! Maybe they heard us?!

Recycled fencing 
Our ride was about four hours including stops for lunch,
I'd like to try a bicycle carriage ride 
gawping at wildlife, and just because we wanted to enjoy the ambience. It was great to be two of so many cyclists and walkers. We saw all combinations of people from solo men haring past like they were in time trials, to families with small children all pedalling away, and even two guys who looked to be well into their eighties pottering along on battered bikes that couldn't have been much younger! One bike rental place looked to be doing good business and we also saw a Camping a la Ferme site which had bicycle carriage thingies to hire. One was in use on the path and they look great fun - tandem cycling but with less of a falling off hazard!


  1. Maybe the numbers on the plane trees are to indicate to the tree surgeons which trees need some work doing on them?

    1. Good thinking, you're probably right! They've all got blue tin disks nailed to them and it would be much easier to give a tree's number than try to explain it's location.