As I had only recently recovered from a minor operation, our first tour on the Surlys was planned to be local and reasonably gentle.
Day 1 Home to Ceauce
Set off at 13:30 via Voie Verte and St.Mars d’Egrenne to follow the quiet cross-country roads to arrive at Ceauce on the D262 at 16:30. Found the Municipal Camp Site, Plein d’Eau, as the name suggested,a peaceful riverside area, close to the village. Unfortunately the restaurant was ‘en vacances’ but we found a boulangerie, charcuterie and ‘Proxi’ as well as an English-owned Bar, where we had a couple of beers before returning to camp. This site had plenty of picnic tables, a bonus as saves a lot of cooking and eating on your knees.
Trip 29,20 km Time 1:58:47
Day 2 Ceauce to Mayenne 15th August 2012
After a fairly restless night, we stopped for coffee at the cafe and set off at 10am. We took a good, undulating road to pick up the Voie Vert at Ambrieres. Arriving at Mayenne, we then took the Halage (towpath) cycle route along the river. It’s a good route but, being Assomption Day, it was busy. Dark clouds now loomed and the wind was increasing, so we decided to stay in the Campanile Motel at St. Baudelle on the river just south of Mayenne. The room was comfortable with WiFi and easy access to put the bikes in with us! After a walk by the river, we had dinner and planned to get to Laval, at least, tomorrow. Trip: 32.45 km Time: 2:29:34
Day 3 Mayenne to Laval 16th August 2012
Left the Motel at 9am on a good path past locks – made a note to stop at Grenoux on the return for crepes! Coffee stop at Bas-Hambras Port Fluvial; nice chatty lady in cafe. I was getting tired after 25km but a break for quiche, pizza and cake from the boulangerie at Change refreshed me enough to agree to push on the Laval. After more refreshments on the quayside, we had a hard ride up out of the town to the campsite at St.Brethevin’s “Moulin de Copeaux” leisure park. Camp supper in the tent. We had stayed dry all day until a shower this evening, so sat in the Clubhouse for a while to study the maps and unwind a little.
Trip: 39.42km Time: 3:02:50
Day 4 Laval to St.Jean-sur-Mayenne 17th August 2012
We left 930am, I was feeling a bit ‘low’ after a rough night worrying abput the traffic and hills away from the site, but as usual this was unfounded! We followed forest roads and paths through Bois D’Huissine, chatted for a while with a lady walking her dog; shopped at March U and rejoined the Halage back to Laval. After a picnic brunch by the river, we cycled on to St.Jean-sur-Mayenne and found a campsite; (primarily for camping cars) at a small Halte Nautique. I walked a short distance into the village and found an Epicerie for supplies.
Trip: 26.52km Time: 2:17:32
Day 5 St.Jean-sur-Mayenne to St.Baudelle 18th August 2012
Broke camp at 9am, had had a better night, but very hot again. Stopped for coffee at Halte Nautique, where there were no provisions. Now looking forward to the crepes at Grenoux!. Sadly only serving good beers and fruit juices – no crepes – business had been very bad that year. We decided to stay in the Campanile again. We left the luggage in our room and cycled into Mayenne. Finally found a good Salon de The with a Snack Cafe – good sandwiches and gateaux – a lunch/tea? We fancied dinner in the Beau Rivage restaurant a short walk from Campanile as it looked inviting but, unfortunately, was full. As it was still very hot, we ended up eating in the Campanile’s terrace restaurant. We hoped to get an early start for home tomorrow via the Chemin de Fer cycleway.
Trip: 35.78km Time: 2:38:42
Day 6 Mayenne – Home 19th August 2012
It was a muggy day with some showers. We bought breakfast from the local boulangerie to have at the picnic site at St.Loup (terminus for the Velorail). We followed the railway to the end of the line on the Orne border and the back roads through Soucis, Fraimbault and Passais. I was getting pretty tired and had a few panics with gears on the hills. After stopping for provisions at Fraimbault, we arrived home at 1345 via our familiar local Voie Vert from St. Cyr.
Trip: 57.80km Time: 3:50:34 Total journey: 223km