The Original Plan
A selection of photos taken by participants is available in an on-line album.
Day 1: 27 May: Thursday afternoon: Roscoff to Morlaix
In the beginning ... there was darkness over the surface of the deep
... then Geoff’s van turned into Old Mill Close ...
and there was light. And the light was good
... the disciples then loaded up and set on their way ... according to the guide book we had to cross the water and Geoff ...
stretched out his hand over the sea; and Jehovah caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
... unfortunately we were still struggling with the parking meters and missed this opportunity ... but then luckily we spotted an ark. Geoff instructed us to ...
bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, along with every kind of food to be stored ... while on the ark. After they entered the ark, rain fell on the earth. When the waters receded, the ark came to rest
... in Roscoff! After leaving the ark we decided to follow the three self-appointed wise men - Don, Mike, Tom and Anthoney (although it was noted that they weren't very good at maths) ...
they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place
... 45 minutes later we found ourselves back in Roscoff ...
... fortunately even wiser heads then ruled ... and Geoff consulted his ten point master plan ... and the disciples set off southwards to look for somewhere to stay ...
but there was no room for them in the inn
... so they settled for an isolated gite d'etape ...
As evening approached, Sarah said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late ... we have here only five loaves of bread and two fish" ...
Nevetheless Geoff and Penny concocted a meal for seven ... while the rest went to a restaurant in town.
and on the second day ...
Day 2: 28 May: Friday: Morlaix to Perros-Guirec
Captains log 280510
.......... my mind still weighs on the away mission I and my crew have found ourselves on. I can only assume that it is due to some ....... administrative error that this Captain Kirby has taken my command. Upon my return I'll be sure to write a strongly worded report to the admiral recommending transfer to the moon for phasers on stun testing.
The day started with a visit to a nearby settlement of the indigenous lifeforms for supplies. This proved somewhat unsuccessful when chief communications officer Lt Steph attempted negotiations. The only goods she could secure were adolescent oral care products ....... it quickly became time to leave before the lifeforms successfully interpreted our looks of confusion and smelt fear!
Since our ship set us down in this strange alien land yesterday I’m growing fonder of what I first thought was Scotty’s joke. To try and help us slip through unnoticed and unhindered ancient primitive transport has been issued to us .... these “Bikes” have proved quite quaint and efficient however most were surprised when they had to move the pedal around more than once ...... Captain Kirby has assured me that 60 miles is easily achievable and in the event of difficulties he knows a short route.
Despite the topographical analysis we encountered much steeper terrain than anticipated. Along with an average surface temperature far in excess of normal home lands the crew eventually started to fade. Our primary mission to examine the strange pink rock formations on the north coast seemed far away. Hope was on offer in a form no one would have ever thought, a familiar if not entirely local germanian intercontinental merchant had established a trading post. To my surprise despite the location and goods on offer the crew quickly set-up camp and tucked into rations.
Refuelled like a warp cord with new dilithium crystal the crew set off for our mission objective ..... the strange pink rocks that draw the indigenous life from near and far like some kind of siren or pilgrimage. I can only assume that it was the power of the strange pink rocks that caused our next obstacle or misadventure. Whether it was interference causing our navigational computers to fail, or some mind bending power inciting mutiny, the crew split up and went different paths.
It was a gut wrenching feeling to stand at the top of a gully hearing the shouts and despair of team 2. After some time we were reunited and to my surprise for the first time ever ..... all the red shirted men made it back alive!! Not a single one killed by mutant plant, robot of destruction or just fell down a big hole!
Once together and back on the mission plan things seemed as per standard operational procedures. A brief rest stop to prepare ourselves for the mission objective and assign tasks. All the crew thoroughly optically scanned every rock in the area with hundreds of photos, special commendation must also be given to Lt Steph for going above and beyond the call of duty and sampling the aquatic environment personally with her feet!
By the end of the day I decided that Captain Kirby is a capable officer and with Cmdr Roy an asset to the service. Tomorrow I’m assured will be a short, easy mission by the Captain and look forward to it greatly.
Day 3: 29 May: Saturday: Perros-Guirec to Lanmodez
Kirbo Baggins gazed thoughtfully at the overcast skies, as the Fellowship of the Velo prepared to leave the Hotel Les Sternes at Perros Guirec. This had been their welcome overnight sanctuary, but now it was time for the Kirbo & the other thirteen members of the Fellowship to take up their burden once again, mount their (t)rusty steeds, & continue the Quest. He & his stalwart companion, Roysam Gamgee, discussed their problem. A fourteen-strong party was too large to be safe hereabouts. Kirbo gazed thoughtfully at the fellow riders gathered around him. They must avoid the orc-like locals & their infernal autos, & so travelled in two groups 500 metres apart. This worked well until the first uphill, when the groups became somewhat intermingled as they strove for the summit. Nevertheless, the Fellowship made good & uneventful progress.
Suddenly, they came upon a ‘Route Submersible’, a sand-strewn causeway heading out across a bleak estuary. Kirbo gazed thoughtfully at the way ahead. Was this a trap laid by the enemies of the Fellowship? Would they all be washed to watery deaths by the powerful evil forces of the Dark Lord? A few brave riders ventured out onto the barren windswept causeway, & it was soon apparent that the hidden power of the Fellowship protected them. They hurried to the far side, the other riders quickly following their path. All seemed to be going in their favour when, to their dismay, they realised Sarahwen, the elven-damsel, had been lost during the crossing.
Surprisingly unperturbed, the remaining riders of the Fellowship continued to the next rest stop, elevenses at Penvenan. Here a momentous decision was needed – should they take the long or the short route? Kirbo gazed thoughtfully into space. Would this be the point at which the Fellowship was permanently broken, with separate factions dispersing to varied regions of Middle Earth? After a nanosecond of deliberation, the choice was made. All agreed to follow Kirbo on the Quest via the long route. He was deeply moved by their dedication, & anyway, what sort of a challenge would this Quest be if they all took the easy option whenever possible?
They battled on to the lunch stop at Plougrescant. Here the magical Madame Boulanger produced copious (if slow) amounts of food & drink, which the weary Fellowship heartily consumed. Outside the Boulangerie, two strange riders appeared. Were they enemy spies or Fellowship friends? Donli Gloin was dispatched to check their credentials, believing they might be members of a fellow Rotary Tribe of which he had intimate knowledge. It was soon discovered that they were only innocent Austrian cycle-tourists, who knew nothing of the Rotary, or the Quest, & hence made off in pretty quick fashion following Donli's approach. Kirbo gazed thoughtfully after them.
Lunch completed, the Fellowship mounted their steeds & headed on through the deserted village, Kirbo gazing thoughtfully at the gaunt leaden crooked spire on the ancient church. On reaching Pleubian, as they hesitated momentarily in the town square, a swarthy local lad called out to them with some unintelligible phrase in the local dialect. Before she could be stopped, Stephomir, the red-haired warrior maiden from the remote eastern marches of Feniton, responded with a hearty 'oui!'. Middle Earth only knows what she had committed herself to. Fortunately, before our swarthy local realised his luck, the Fellowship spurred their steeds, quickly leaving the town behind.
The next hour was spent aimlessly wandering the northern shores of a remote peninsula, but the Fellowship's luck held, with two benefits emerging. Firstly they discovered an eating house fairly near to the intended overnight stop. Several of the Fellowship visited this establishment later that evening to enjoy the fine foods & beverages of the region. Secondly, Sarahwen, the elven damsel, miraculously re-appeared amongst them. She had apparently chosen to briefly leave the Fellowship, but the powerful draw of the Quest was too great for her to ignore.
So it was with happy hearts that the Fourteen who had begun that day made their way to the Gite in Lanmodez, receiving a warm welcome from the charming proprietoress on their arrival. A good night’s rest would prepare them for the trials to come. Kirbo was thankful that the Fellowship had survived intact another day, but who knows what challenges would face the Fourteen tomorrow? Kirbo gazed thoughtfully..........
Day 4: 30 May: Sunday: Lanmodez to Lanmodez - loop visiting the Ile de Brehat
'Thirteen go off to an island'
Tom, Geoff, Mike, Sue, Ant, Roy, Don, Steph, Sarah, Penny, Amanda, Jenny and their dog Kirby all set off for another exciting adventure on the Ile de Brehat. Diane stayed behind to do the chores – she cleaned her bicycle and played with her GPS. They pedalled off and arrived at the ferry just in time! It didn’t matter that it was cold, wet and blustery because the sensible thirteen had stowed away their oilskin jerkins and ginger beer onto their bicycles. Kirby, however wasn’t so happy. He just wanted to sniff around the island on his own but knew from bitter experience that the day would inevitably end with him having to round them all up like a sheep dog!
Clever Ant and Amanda discovered just why Roy had set a quick marching Scout pace to the bleakest point of the island! The plot by Roy and Kirby to lure Steph with a baguette and then throw her off the rocks into the murky sea below was foiled! But meanwhile more trouble was lurking. All their sensible mummies had warned them “never speak to strangers”. But Mike disobeyed! Luckily, the three French women were jolly good sports so no harm was done. Sue told him he was a very naughty boy and made him promise never to do it again.
They all arrived back home having had a jolly good time!
Day 5: 31 May: Monday: Lanmodez to Saint Michel en Grève
All's Well That Ends Well
Kirby - Master of a group of English Travellers Roy - A Gentleman, friend to all Amanda - Fair Maid of Trew’s Weir Anthoney - Admirer of Fair Amanda Geoffery - A well clad Gentleman Penelope - Fair Wife of Geoffery Stephanie - A Fair Water Nymph Diane - A Fair Gentlewoman, Keeper of the fabled Gee Pee Ess. Don - A Sage Others --- A motley group of English Travellers.
ACT I - Scene I
Outside the gite at Lanmodez. Enter, from the outbuilding, all the players, mounted.
Roy - What light through yonder cloud doth break?
Kirby – My barometer (based on the aneroid principle) doth, by its sealed drum carrying levers to a revolving chart, showeth that the pressure doth change and the rain doth blow away.
Stephanie — (sarcastically) Right. If thou dost not mind, I’ll keep my rain repellent smock on for now.
Geoffery - I too wilst not discard my rather natty flowing cape.
Others — Murmur in agreement
Diane - Friends, Devonians, Countrymen, lend me your ears. My Gee Pee Ess doth lead us to the left!
She sets off with Stephanie and others in hot pursuit
Kirby - Hold Fast! My chart doth lead us to the right.
Michael - (one of the motley travellers) sounds his horn, calling back Diane and her followers, and the group proceed West.
ACT I - Scene II
On the drawbridge of the Chateau de Tonquedec.
Anthoney - Is this a dagger that I see before me?
Amanda - Yes, a plastic one I half-inched from Madame at the village of the crooked spire.
Anthoney - So wise-so young! Now we can share Stephanie’s pungent cheese whilst we lay siege to this mighty castle.
Amanda - What else is there to feast upon?
Stephanie - Eye of newt and toe of frog.
Others—mutterings; I think we’ll give that a miss then , etc.
A tune is heard from the I-phone of Diane
Anthoney — Music be the food of love and making me to dance!
Whereupon he nimbly prances along the moat, throwing the mallards into flight. On glancing around he sees his companions have given up the siege and are speeding off down the hill, telling passing locals - 'Il n'est pas avec nous'
ACT II - Scene I
By the shore at Saint Michel en Greve
Geoffrey — Forsooth I am undone! My hose has come adrift from my cod piece!
Penelope - I shall gather a troop, and, though weary from our journey, we shall scour the headland in search of your misplaced hose.
A small loyal band depart, following the forlorn Geoffrey.
Stephanie - Alas poor Geoff! Anyone for a dip?
ACT II - Scene II
Far out beyond the edge of the receding tide, the fair Stephanie and Amanda do their impersonation of their mate Ophelia. Watching are Don and Anthoney.
Don - They are taking their time immersing. Methinks the ladies doth protest too much. Frailty thy name is woman.
Anthoney - Hast thou seen the new play at The Globe — 'BayWatch', relating the tale of some attractive, gamely, water nymphs? They are a dish fit for the gods.
Don – Can't say I have, Ant, ye olde chap. Were ye reminded of it when ye spied Stephanie entering the waves?
Anthoney – I couldn’t possibly say.
Don – That is enough excitement in one day for me; now to sleep, perchance to dream.
... To be continued on the morrow ...
Day 6: 1 June: Tuesday morning: Saint Michel en Grève to Roscoff
Twas the last day of Brittany ...
Twas the last day of Brittany and all through the house,
a few cyclists were stirring, quiet as a mouse.
Early to breakfast was the order of the day,
There's a ferry to catch and we mustn’t delay.
Filled up on fresh bread and croissants and coffee,
It was down to the bike shed, all getting ready.
We’ll set out in small groups, too much traffic for more,
Oh if only the cyclists could all count to four!
In a side road the twos, threes and fours reunited,
But oh no, another NO THROUGH ROAD is signposted.
There’s a route through on my map, Roy did declare,
So onwards we pedalled so blissfully unaware.
On around the corner and we came to a halt,
A steep path up ahead and it wasn’t asphalt.
Many of the cyclists very bravely rode on,
With the weaker amongst us pushing bikes along.
Once more together and with everyone mounted,
The journey continues, but we’re not astounded.
Heading on along the route, high winds they arose,
I‘m feeling tired now, with sore knee and numb toes.
After many long miles and too many lorries,
A familiar roundabout brings the promise of coffees.
It's downhill then flat and alas here comes the rain,
But at least we have all made it back to Morlaix.
Huddling round hot drinks and lots of nice pastries,
Steph spots a friend and recommends the bakery.
As they share tales of Brittany, it soon becomes clear,
The sea we had bathed in is killer algae infested, oh dear!
After much laughter, more coffee and some shopping,
Kirby declares that we’d better stop stopping.
Out in the market square, it’s time for some grooves,
As Ant shows Sue and Mike his salsa dancing moves.
Onwards and upwards, as we leave Morlaix behind,
The rain is relentless, oh how cruel and unkind.
What a way to finish their adventurous trip,
A weary band of cyclists who just drip, drip, drip.
At last at St. Pol and a welcome stop for lunch,
On onion soup and croque monsieur we all munch.
The rain has now stopped as we near our journey’s end,
We can dry out cycling the three miles round the bend.
Watch out for the slippy train tracks we were advised,
So I stop, get off my bike, feeling very wise,
But everyone else they just cycled straight across,
Leaving me at the back, so much time I have lost.
The roads get busy as we head for the ferry,
But with spirits lifted, I’m feeling quite merry.
We have completed our longest cycle ride yet,
Who would have thought it, I would never have bet.
Down at the Port and Don spots some friendly faces,
They have journeyed by coach, it’s like Wacky Races!
Everyone’s waiting to sail back across the sea,
Some sad it’s over but not sleepy tired me!
Up in the ferry lounge and some have disappeared,
Can Steph gather the wanderers? Seems not it is feared.
One here, one there, the secret plan has been battered,
But I’m off for as sleep as I am just shattered.
Awakening again, it’s time for some food,
And a celebratory cider to lighten the mood.
By the end of the crossing, we’re gathered once more,
Now Steph can at last reveal what she has in store.
With all of us awake now, watered and well fed,
It's time for our heart felt thank yous to be said.
Well done trusty leaders we have all made it back,
But wait, Roy doesn’t have his jacket in his sack.
What can be done, we all take a good look around,
An announcement is made, but the coat is not found.
Now we must go, as the car decks are ready,
Back to our bikes, we hope they’ve stayed steady.
Out with our passports through customs to the car park,
We say our goodbyes setting off home in the dark.
A stop off at Sainsburys for some bread and some milk,
I’m dreaming of a warm bed and sheets made of silk.
Back to reality as we arrive at Trews Weir,
There’s no sign of the garage key anywhere near.
Please no, I don’t want to drag my bike up the stairs,
But retracing our steps we find the keys elsewhere.
Thank you to all the cyclists, you made a great group,
A wonderful, lovely travelling troupe.
Two hundred miles over six varied days,
I may return next year, but now I’m off for a laze!
Myths which proved to be untrue: “short route”, “rest day” and the words “Boot Camp” and “Kirby” being mentioned in the same sentence.