2016-07-20 (Day 34) Bresles – Beauvais – Bresles

Today’s photo shows the Pro Cycle bike shop in Beauvais where I finally managed to get the gears on my bike fixed. It was the third bike shop I had called into on this year’s Tour de Travoy but it was the only one where I got anything done. The owner could only speak French but I was able to explain what needed doing and replacing the gear cable only took took him about 20 minutes or so. The trickiest part was feeding the replacement cable through the internal housing within the frame. Professional bike mechanics sometimes use magnets or even a a hoover to pull a replacement cable through a frame but the Pro Cycle mechanic managed to pull it out with needle point pliers though it took about 5 minutes work. Once the cable was through the frame, the rest was straightforward and he had the gears aligned in no time. It is rare nowadays to see a craftsman at work but believe me the bike mechanic in the Pro Cycle shop was very good. So if any cyclist ever needs any work done to their bike in the Beauvais area, be sure to call into the Pro Cycle bike shop on the Rue Saint Juste des Marais.


Dropping the Jeep back at Beauvais airport. My day had started much earlier at Camping de la Trye in Bresles. Karen’s flight was around 9 so we were up before 5 and left the campsite just after 6. We arrived at Beuavais airport around 6.30 but it took over 10 minutes to find the car hire car-park. It then took another 5 minutes to find an empty space to park the Jeep. So it was near 7 by the time we got all the luggage out of the Jeep.


Dashboard in the Jeep showing a full tank of fuel. Before leaving the keys back, I took a photo of the dash to show there was a full tank of fuel. The temperature gauge is showing 21 degrees so it was much cooler than the day before when it was up to 38 degrees. We had traveled about 1800 km in 9 days but you are allowed 250 km per day so we were well under the limit.


Beauvais airport was mobbed with people. Most Ryanair flights at Beauvais leave from the smaller Terminal One rather than the mucnh bigger and more modern Terminal 2. There were so many people the queue was out the door. It took over half an hour to check in the luggage and another 3/4 an hour to check in for the flight. Karen was about 5 kg over the weight limit so she had to give me her tent. This meant I now had 2 tents to take back to Ireland on Travoy.


Ryanair flight leaving Beauvais airport. Unlike the flight from Dublin the week before, today’s plane left more or less on time and 2 hours later would be landing in Dublin. In actual fact, the plane traveled 800 km to Dublin quicker than it took me to travel 15 km back to Camping de la Trye in Bresles.


Total cycled today – 25 km. Total cycled so far on Tour de Travoy – 1430 km. Only a short spin today back to the campsite as I had a lot of stuff to sort out for the remainder of this year’s Tour. I still hadn’t finalized my route through Normandy before getting the ferry at Cherbourg so would end up spending the rest of the afternoon planning my route for the next few days.


BP garage near Beauvais airport. Anyone who has been to Beauvais airport will recognize these funky street lights. They are not unique to this region and I have spotted similar type throughout France but you have to agree they are very stylish.We had filled the Jeep up at a supermarket in Bresles but diesel at this garage was the same price so if I ever have to hire a car at Beauvais airport again, I will just fill up here instead before dropping the car back.


Hans Christain Anderson kindergarten in Beauvais. On the way to the bike shop, I passed this old French building which has been converted into a kindergarten.The kindergarten is a Hans Christian Anderson (HCA) kindergarten and is one of only about 6 HCA schools in France. Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish writer who wrote many famous fairy tales including the  Little Mermaid and the Ugly Duckling. HCA kindergartens are similar to Montessori kindergartens but specialize in teaching kids about Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales. There are about 100 HCA kindergartens worldwide and they are especially popular in South America. Obviously, being the middle of the summer, the school is closed for the holidays. This is certainly not my best photo ever but it does highlight how seriously the French take school security.


Pro Cycle bike shop on Rue Saint Juste des Marais. There was a lot of roadworks outside the bike shop but I managed to manoeuvre my way into the bike shop. This Google StreetView image was also taken in July 2016 probably a week or so after my visit because when I was there the road was completely closed to traffic.


Saint Pierre de Beauvais cathedral. After spending about half an hour in the Pro Cycle bike shop, I made my way back to the campsite through Beauvais town centre and past this magnificent Gothic cathedral in Beauvais. You wouldn’t think it from looking at it but this cathedral is actually incomplete. Work started on this cathedral in 1225 and continued on and off for the next 400 years. At 48m, it has the highest vault or roof height of any cathedral constructed in medieval Europe.The builders of Saint-Pierre de Beauvais pushed 13th Century stone mason technology to the limit. Even though the structure was to be as tall as possible, the buttresses were made thinner in order to allow maximum light into the cathedral.The cathedral was consecrated in 1272 but just twelve years later, part of the choir vault collapsed, along with some of the flying buttresses. It was believed that the collapse was caused by vibrations due to high winds and as a result iron tie rods were fitted between the flying buttresses. In 1573, work started on adding a 153m high tower to the cathedral which if completed would have been the tallest structure in the world. But the tower collapsed and later attempts to complete the tower and the rest of the cathedral were abandoned.

Medieval clock (left) and astronomical clock (right) inside Saint Pierre de Beauvais cathedral. There are 2 fully functioning mechanical clocks inside Beauvais cathedral. The medieval clock dates from around 1270 and is believed to be the oldest functioning mechanical clock in the world. The second clock known as the astronomical clock dates from 1868 and is much bigger than the medieval clock. The clock has 52 dials which display the times of the rising and setting sun and moon, the position of the planets, the current time in 18 cities around the world, as well as, the times of the local tides.


Tapestry museum in Beauvais. Beauvais was famous in years gone by for its tapestries and this museum was built in 1976 to celebrate that heritage. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Picardy region specialized in fine wool tapestries which were sold to decorate palaces and castles all over Europe.Tapestries were very popular because they were so portable and kings and noblemen could roll up and transport tapestries from one residence to another. In churches, they were displayed on special occasions and tapestries were also draped on the walls of castles for insulation during winter, as well as for decorative display. However, many medieval tapestries were destroyed during the French Revolution as hundreds were burnt to recover the gold thread that was often woven into them. Some of those that did survive were put on display here at the National Gallery of Tapestry.


The Tapestry museum is now called Le Quadrilatere. The museum was built in 1976 and was owned by the State but in 2013, it was taken over by the local authority in Beauvais. They decided to re-brand the museum and it’s name was changed to Le Quadrilatere or in English, the Quadrangle. You can see from this more recent photo that the old name has been removed from above the entrance. From now on, the museum will play host to various art exhibitions as well as tapestry pieces.


Poster for Marine Le Pen on an underpass near Beauvais. On the way back to Camping de la Trye in Bresles, it started raining so I took shelter underneath an underpass. It was here I noticed an old election poster for Marine Le Pen. Marine is the leader of the Front Nationale the third largest party in France. Her party is very nationalistic and also anti-EU eventhough she has represented this region of France as a MEP since 2009 in the European Parliament. This poster is from the 2012 Presidential election but Marine will also be standing in the 2017 Presidential election next year. The first round will be on April 27th and the leading 2 candidates then go through to the second round of voting on May 7th. In 2012, Marine finished 3rd but her party, the Front Nationale have increased in popularity since then. In the 2015 regional elections, her party secured 28% of the vote and she will almost certainly be taking part in the Presidential run-off in 2017 probably against Francois Fillon.


Bike path on way back to Bresles. There is a bike path most of the way between Beauvais and Bresles. You can turn right here at Laversines and the road takes you to Beauvais airport. It is a much quieter and safer road than the D938 I used on the morning of July 11th. If I am ever cycling to Beauvais airport from Bresles again, I will go via Laversines next time.


Back at Camping de la Trye. It was a lot cooler than the day before and so I was able to spend the afternoon deciding on my route for the remainder of the Tour de Travoy. I wanted to cross the Pont de Normandie and then carry on along the D-Day beaches until I got to Cherbourg and a boat home to Ireland. The most direct route from here was via Rouen but I decided to go via Giverny where Monet painted many of his most famous works. I had thought about going into Paris to see the finish of the Tour de France but it would have meant an extra week in France and after 2 months away, I was keen to get home.

Ilnur Zakarin wins Stage 17 just 7 weeks after crashing heavily in the Giro d’Italia. I was so engrossed in planning my route I forgot all about the Tour de France and missed the Stage 17 mountain finish to Finhout, which was won by Russian rider, Ilner Zakarin. Unlike in the UK and most countries worldwide, there is no highlights show in the evening on French TV though the local sports news show about 5 minutes of each day’s racing. Of course, if I had an unlimited data plan on my phone or computer, I could have watched the France 2 player. But I was limited to 3 GB of data so had to make do with reading about the stage instead. Just 7 weeks earlier, Zakarin had crashed in the Giro breaking his scapula and collar bone. The same day, Steven Kruiswijk has crashed into a snow drift but the image of Zakarin lying motionless alongside a stream was arguably the defining image of this year’s Giro d’Italia. He had been travelling at close to 100 kph when he lost control of his bike and was lucky not to have been killed. Indeed, his team Katusha, later tweeted a photo of his helmet saying it had saved his life. So it was great to see he had recovered from that horror smash sufficiently to claim an emotional first victory in the Tour de France. Somehow, I have a feeling it will be the first of many victories for Zakarin in the Tour.


View of the climb to Finhout from Martigny on June 24th 2016. I was doubly annoyed with myself for missing today’s stage as roughly a month earlier, I had photographed the climb to Finhout on my way to tackling the Grand Saint Bernard. There are very few Alpine climbs which are visible almost the whole way up a mountain. That is what makes Alpe d’Huez such an epic climb as you can see the road snake it’s way up the mountainside as you approach it from the valley below. But, in my opinion, the view of the Col de la Forclaz up to Finhout from Martigny is even better than the view of Alpe d’Huez  from Bourg d’Oisans. The climb today would have been a sea of colour as the Tour de France made it’s way up it unlike a month ago when I went past. Perhaps when I get home, I will try and download a copy of today’s stage. It is not easy finding Tour de France stages online as ASO are notorious for clamping down on streams and videos of the Tour. In contrast, stages of the Giro d’Italia are readily available online. The Giro is run by RCS who have embraced the web and as a result generate a lot of revenue from the likes of Youtube and other video streams. ASO obviously feel that they can make more revenue by selling live video and replay rights to various broadcasters around the world. In Ireland, the rights are owned by TG4 but they rarely make stages available on their player. By the time I get back to Ireland, today’s stage almost certainly will be no longer available. Ah well, I may have to resort to alternative means in order to get to see the climb of the Col de la Forclaz from today’s stage.




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