Saturday, June 16, 2012

Bayeux - a different type of cycling       

A picturesque town (pop. 15,000) in Normandy, France, founded by the Gauls in the first century and famous for the Bayeux tapestry which depicts the Norman conquest of England by William the Conqueror. In World War II it was the first city liberated by the D Day landings. It was lucky to be unscathed by the war and so retained old streets and buildings.  It is now full of English and American tourists, especially around D Day, 6 June.
Behind the tourist office on the main street
It has a pedestrianised centre, and narrow streets, but cars still seem to zip about too fast wherever they can.  And they don't like stopping for pedestrians at crossings.  It didn’t look particularly inviting by bike, so I walked in search of bicycle facilities.  I reached the city’s ring road, Boulevard de 6 Juin, before I found anything at all, and then it lasted for just one block along Boulevard d’Eindhoven before it disappeared.  I found nothing else.
A typical street in the pedestrianized area
Narrow car streets (with smooth surface for cars and cobbles for walking)
A half bike monument at the start of the cycleway - how weird
The only cycling facility found in Bayeux
Reaching the first intersection
And, just around the corner, it ends
A closer view of the "cycleway" and "ends" signs
Bayeux does feature one transport curiosity –the tourist mini-train.
Tourist train coming down the pedestrianised main street
I didn’t see many people riding – just the postman, a couple of young lads having fun, and a couple of older men getting around.  Here in Normandy it seems that it is a different type of cycling that is more common – cycling tourism.  There was a large group of American tourists staying in our hotel on an organised bike tour.  Many of them, from what I overheard, didn’t have time for cycling in their lives, except on holiday.  It had been raining almost every day of their trip, so mostly the bikes just stayed on top of the tour trailer while they instead went to see the tapestry.  :o)
Cycling - Normandy style (bikes on top of the tour trailer on the left) - taken during a brief break in the rain
It seems a shame that the locals don’t ride around here.

Next - a trip to Leicester for the Building Cycling Cultures conference.


At June 16, 2012 at 10:53 PM , Blogger Paul Boundy said...

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At June 16, 2012 at 10:57 PM , Blogger Paul Boundy said...

Hmmm. I thought American Tourists would have heard of the wonders of cycling rain jackets. Perhaps they were un-prepared. Pity it was a bit too car dominant. The old parts look pedestrian friendly. Looking forward to the Leicester report for Fifi.

At June 17, 2012 at 12:09 AM , Blogger bikesaint said...

They had rain jackets. I think they were just sick of the four hour stints in pouring rain and cold, day after day - not quite the cycling holiday they invisaged.


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