With no planning, & in complete ignorance, we somehow lined ourselves up for the rides of our lives. Our visit to Saumur, Pays de La Loire, coincided with the bike festival. Today, Sunday, the roads on each bank of La Loire have been closed to motorized vehicles & opened to cyclists. We had NO idea.
Yesterday we cycled towards Tours & found ourselves on what Al says was the best ride ever. We had the river, the vines, the flowers. And les troglos. We cycled along le parcours troglodytiqes - the 'way' of the rock-dwellers. These amazing homes/shops and so on are half-building half-burrowed into the rocks. Incredible. On top of all this, higher up stretching to the horizons, are vines, we discovered on another 'slightly hilly' cycling trail.
Thought it couldn't be better. We decided to stay another night & cycle in the other direction towards Angers.
This morning to our bemusement & delight, we discovered thousands of people en velos - on pushbikes. What was happening? We'd seen the posters everywhere yesterday. What's all this 'fête du velo'? Where's the fête? We knew there was some sort of expo on the banks if La Loire at Saumur. People were dressed in vintage retro style. Saw a few people carrying cycle wheels.
Last night our camping was full of cyclists of all persuasions. Still didn't twig.
Today has been supreme. Bikes everywhere & everything for the cyclist - food, wine, music, repair stations. I could even get croix rouge - red cross - assistance if I need it.
Everyone is out on his/her bike. Every type of person imaginable of every age. It's been so congenial. Even got in some decent French conversation with a couple with whom we - I - chatted on a pitstop.
Probably cycled 55k. But on flat car-free roads.
Best time yet.