Picos Original Riders

Picos Original Riders
Highlights of 2010

Last of the Picos Riders - to Rome Alone!

Our first two charity rides were a huge success - raising over £20,000 for the South East Cancer Help Centre.

The Centre does a fantastic job of supporting patients and carers at the most difficult times of their lives. They make a real difference and you could help them in their work by contributing to our fundraising. Donations can be made via JustGiving.comhttps://www.justgiving.com/Tom-Vaz/ or directly into the Centre. For more details of the Centre and their work see their website at http://www.sechc.org.uk/

After 3 years of rest it seemed time to dust off the old muscles, bones and sinews and do one more spectacular ride in aid of this fabulous charity.

This time I will travel alone for 25 days, mainly following the ancient pilgrimage route to Rome, the Via Francigene, covering a distance of around 1,400 miles.

The route travels through Newhaven - Dieppe - Paris before I eventually reach the Via Francigene in Eastern France. From then on it is pretty simple apart from having to cross the Alps without an elephant!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Day 5 Sézanne to Bar-Sur Aube

What a long day!

I left camp at 8.30 knowing that the chances of getting a coffee or breakfast any earlier would be slim.

Turned out that I was only 4 miles from a decent hotel and restaurant. Sigh...

Bar-Sur Aube was the destination I chose for today and in my head it was reasonable but I must get my head examined! I booked a room while I had wifi in Sézanne so I had to stick to the plan.

Sézanne itself was very pretty and of course boasted a stunning church covered with buttresses. Leaving was sad as I'd had a very leisurely breakfast while picking my destination. Shrugging off the aches and pains, I sprung back on the bike and moved on.

This is champagne country so you can see the raw material before the French maidens stamp on them, adding sparkles and magic and creating a drink that I truly can't stand!

Contrast the pictures of traffic on the N4 with that on the local D9. You can see why I was anxious to get off it last night! Of course you have to share the quiet roads but most of the tractor drivers gave me a cheerful wave as they thundered by.

You can only imagine how much I was enjoying myself but of course that's when the drama began. I stopped to oil my chain because it was getting stuck during great changes. A close examination revealed a break in the chain so I had to remove a link. Make sure you carry a chain tool at all times. I've not had a trip for a while without needing one!

It was getting into lunchtime and I was simply dawdling, taking pictures. I loved the sunflower field, it reminded me of the hours spent digging and planting seeds in a garden that I won't see turn out this well.

Lunch was a nice egg salad under the shade of a walnut tree.  Why don't we line our roads like this?

As I finally reached the River Aube, I came upon an American armoured carrier, mounted and surrounded by flowers. I guess the French are forever grateful to them in this area unless they heard George Dubbya describing their cheese eating habits.

Finally I realised that I was not half way to Bar-Sur Aube and it was already 3pm. A mad race began in the baking heat of the afternoon. I overruled the GPS several times as it insisted on some strange bypasses. See the photo where it decided a loop was better than a straight line.

As I crawled into Bar-Sur Aube cursing my stupidity, it was 7.30pm and I'd coveted another 75 miles and most of them in the peak afternoon heat.

Tomorrow will be a shorter day. It has to be because I need to visit a pharmacy. Anyone know what's French for "chafing in my nether regions"?


  1. Look on the brighter side; you have less weight to carry with you to Rome now considering there is one less link on your cycle chain!!

  2. You write so much! I'm supposed to on a summer break, I'm not supposed to read!

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