Day 2 and another 60ish miles in front of us. Meteo France (they of the
incredibly accurate weather forecasts) were predicting afternoon thunder
storms, so we had another early start (thought this was meant to be a
holiday!) on the road at 8:30.
If yesterday was a surprising amount of climbing and riding on roads for a route described as mainly traffic free (though to be fair there was very little traffic) then today was an advert for what cycling infrastructure should be. We rolled down from Belley town centre back to the river and joined the cycle path starting on the western bank before crossing sides after a few miles. The path was brand new - so new that the GPX file that I had downloaded a few months ago (from the official Via Rhona web site) was out of date and my Garmin kept telling me I was off course. I ignored it. Unfortunately good things come to and end and we had to join the road for a short stretch, though the sign said that the new section of path would be complete by September - maybe we will come back next year and check! We crossed the river in a narrow gorge at La Bame, close to where two branches of the Rhone meet up again, though with early commercialisation and later hydro-electric development, there is every possibility that these branches are not natural.
Whilst the morning started quite fresh, it was now warming up but we had a delightful ride back on purpose built path, though fields and later next to the river parallel to the road. We crossed the river a few times and had morning coffee at Grand Port de Groslee. The route took a detour away from the river to pass the historic village of Morestel where we had lunch. Maybe this detour was sponsored by the local tourist office as Morestel was a busy place and worth a longer visit but despite the blue sky and hot temperature, I am loathe to take-on Meteo de France so we soon left. This was the only poorly signed section and we missed the route as the map will testify, but soon got back on track. The path shadowed the road for a while but soon veered off through fields and wooded areas. I'm not sure if this section was traffic free, but I think seeing Unicorns was more likely than traffic. We passed fishermen, followed a covered irrigation channel and had a brief stretch on the course of an old railway line before meeting up with the river at the Blue Valley Aqua Park.
It was now becoming obvious that Meteo de France was making up
thunderstorms but we were getting hot and bothered so carried on. We
crossed the river for the final time for the day where the route took a
fairly pointless detour to show off a white-water rafting centre and
hydro-electric plant before entering the Blue Valley where the Rhone was
impersonating the Dordogne with castles on either side. By now we were
on a traffic free stretch with families out enjoying themselves before
veering off the route at Saint Sorlin to our hotel at St Vulbas which is
on the other bank to the route, but we are in a stretch with very few
hotels. Ended up as a 62 mile day. No profile today as it was very flat.
|Cycling infrastructure at its best - and few other users early on a Sunday morning|
|(A) Bridge over the River Rhone - not a famous film!|
|The ramparts of Morestel, with a Sunday market in full flow|
|After our incursion in land, back to the River|
|Is that a Chateaux? Am I in the Dordogne?|