Cycling Around the World

Continuing Southern France to Brindisi Italy

As you will be aware, I have been back in the UK due to issues with the brand new KOGA Worldtraveller Signature and no support from KOGA in having the bike fixed (fault with bike) while in Southern France or even any help in getting it back, I have now got the bike back on the road with help and support from Rohloff. 

The bike has been converted so that the Rohloff hub works with a heavy duty chain as apposed to the Gates carbon belt, and after now being a few grand out of pocket and quite some time out, I'm now on the road again. Expensive and harsh lesson learned, but hey, that's adventure for you :)

I continue my journey along the coast of Southern France, Monaco, then Italy in this leg. Somewhere over 1600 km's, or they way I cycle with no clear route, it could be much more. The little tent symbols are campsites open in winter that I plan on staying at as I make my way around.

Day 81 

Well, my little side "adventure" is over, and after a total of 3200 km's, 4 hire cars, 2 ferries, 9 tolls, and catching up with precious loved ones, I am back in Southern France continuing on my cycle.

And as a tip, whenever hiring a car, video every inch of it including on top of the roof, and photograph every chip and scratch. It will take you all of about 5 minutes and could save you a fortune.

I do, and I really upset the hire car company in Southern France after they tried to blame me for previous damage, until I showed them the video of course. Things you have to do hey, but if I hadn't I would have landed a whopping bill.

But anyway, I'm back on track and I'm shattered after the 1600 km's yesterday, so I'm in an Airbnb and chilling until I set out to tackle a few bumps and lumps for a while, as I continue through Southern France, Monaco, the Italian Riviera, past Pisa, Rome, and Naples.

Day 82

Toulon, is nothing like I expected on the map. My image of Toulon was this :) -

But what I got was this:

And this great little mobile pizzeria and restaurant. I love it. I might even set myself up with one when I return to the UK, who knows :) I can just imagine outside a nightclub back home, music playing, great food being served, people being thrown through the plastic windows or into the pizza oven. 

I used to have a big circus catering trailer with my late good friend Ian Scott in our early 30's, and we had it outside of a nightclub in Warrington in Cheshire and we had a blast, but it ended in tears one night for the drunken idiots that tried to turn it over while we were serving customers, and we just thought it was too much trouble, so maybe a mobile pizza restaurant is not such a good idea :) 

I really like Toulon, and I was met with loads of smiling people too. But tomorrow I head up the coast for just 40 km's and into the hills to a campsite and I'm really looking forward to it. I have my thermal PJ's and socks, as well as my t##t hat and thermal mattress, so I shouldn't be too cold I hope. 

Day 83

A beautiful day along the coast, then up into the hills to a campsite I found open. I was given a pitch under a shelter which is great to dry my washing :)
There are loads of barking dogs as usual coming from somewhere, so I’m just going to have to keep them awake with my snoring.

It’s a concrete floor but I have a Therm-A-Rest air mattress and another cheaper thermal air mattress to put under it.A down sleeping bag, air pillow, and I’m wearing thermal leggings, top, another top, socks, and all thermal. As well as, tracksuit bottoms, woolly bob hat, and sleeveless sweat top, so I’m expecting to be cozy.

The temperature isn’t even forecast to be in the minus :)

Day 84

Last night I was camped at the start of quite a hill with tons of steep switchbacks, no hard shoulder other than a drop into a gully, and it was a main route for a convoy of quarry wagons.

What would you do, all your navigation devices and apps are all telling you to go along the coast and not over the top. The coastal route will take you 50 km's, but going over the top will take you 33 km's, but will be much tougher, and maybe more scenic. After all, there is tons more coast to come?

We'll my choice was clear, I'm not having anyone or any thing telling ME what to do! :), so over the top I went. Sweat pouring, eyes bulging, OK the eyes bulging was a bit of an exaggeration, but once over the top I was treated to a beautiful valley and 20 km's of down or flat smooth road.

I'm now right opposite Saint-Tropez, a little farther along the coast northwards, but it looks beautiful from across the Gulf of Saint-Tropez

Tomorrow I will be in Saint-Raphaël for the night before continuing along this stunning coastline.

A beautiful valley of mostly downhill - depending on which direction you're riding of course - passing through La Môle Southern France.

Day 85

It rained the whole day, with the wind in my face as well, but I can't complain too much as I have had some lovely weather up until today.

Although there are thunderstorms and rain for tomorrow, the next 4 days will be great, maybe.
Soaked to the bone earlier, everything is getting dry now and it was still a great cycle along the coast.

Other than that, that's about it for today :) Other than this little pic of some really cute donkey's from yesterday.

Day 86

Not much happening today, more rain and stormy headwinds to spoil a stunning coastline. I will catch up on some internet and a movie or two.

I really want to see this coastline with the sun out, and the forecast looks good for the next week so great.

Day 87

Well this is more like it. The weather changed for the better, the wind behind me, and the ocean views were spectacular. I have discovered where all the money is, it's along this coastline. I have never seen boats like I have today in Cannes and other places along this stretch.

I was tempted to put a £100k deposit down on one, but the payments would have been £50k a day for the rest of my life at least, so that was that. It's a whole other world for sure.

I made such good progress today that I skipped the campsite I had planned for tonight and went straight on to the one I had planned for tomorrow night, and I never missed a thing. I met and chatted with some lovely people too.

Tomorrow I will be in Southern France, Monaco, and Italy all in the same day hopefully. But no problem if not, no rush.

Day 88

It took me all day until 5pm to do the 70 km to my campsite in Latte Italy, cycling through Nice and then Monaco, and it was a great feeling just to cross the Italian border, a real sense of achievement.

It was a slow day, mainly due to the lumps and pumps of the stunning coastline, but also because I really wasn’t in any rush.

I stopped twice to eat at little snack bars with views, and met and chatted to some really nice people who even offered me a place to stay that night, but I had another 60 or so km's to do, so had to push on, but what a really nice thing to offer.

The sun was out, the wind behind, what more could I want in a days cycle. Oh, and the campsites cool too.

Day 89

There is a storm looming for tomorrow morning, and when the rain is heavy I like to fling a tarp over everything, I find it easier to pack everything up because the bike and tent are mostly dry. The camp cats like it anyway.

Arrived north of Imperia, only to find out Maps.me had screwed up. I had actually passed my camp 4km back, so back I went, only to find they decided to close until April. It was supposed to be open all year.

Well I got talking to a really nice couple who gave me a 2 liter bottle of cold water and directions to a campsite open 2km farther back.

Just a few hundred meters along the road I passed a campsite sign and gates open, so I turned around and set up camp.
Dinner and coffee in, shower time and a movie on my laptop and sleep. I’m really pretty tired with all these bumps and my legs are too. Tomorrow with the weather forecast bad, I have a campsite less than 20km north ( I phoned :), so I will have a rest day doing a short cycle in crappy weather, ready for a much longer dry day after that.

Day 90

My tent survived the night. I was expecting my new camp cat buddies to be trying to scratch their way in, but they stayed clear. Fact: Cats hate snoring.

I set out with just 20 km's to do to a campsite, because it was torrential rain for the whole of the day, and I didn't want to try to make 70 km's to the campsite on the day after that, so I thought I would just chip 20 of the 70 while it was so bad.

I struggled up a huge hill for nearly 2 hours, with rain washing down the hill like a waterfall, crazy trucks and car drivers splashing me every chance they got, and as I reached the very top, I looked over the barrier and down to the bottom, where I could see a cycle path!!!!
I couldn't believe it, all that work up that hill, and I could have just taken the cycle path. But, I did look on Google maps and Maps.me and even Google Earth yesterday to see if I could see any sneaky cycle paths, and I couldn't. What a bummer hey :)

I reached my campsite soaking wet through, only to find the only spot available was a lump of tarmac under 50mm of water :). Oh no, it surely couldn't get any worse, I was wishing I had stayed where I was.

Nope, it got better really quickly. The trouble with cycling along a populated coastline, is that it's not often easy to find a wildcamp spot, so I started to look for cheap hotels for the night and found a great one for just £25. Considering the campsite wanted £17 for a puddle, I did really well.

All my gear is drying out, I'm having an evening meal, and breakfast is sorted too. I love this once in a while. I try to save staying in digs until I'm either drained or wet. Actually, that about covers just about every day hey :)

Day 91

A nice day with a few hills and some great views. I have to admit that between Andora and Borgio, the beaches are not as nice really. They are more a grey colour and not really maintained like farther south.

In fact, the area isn't all that pretty in lots of ways, well the coastline anyway. But it may get better as I get farther north.

I'm out for pizza in a few minutes, I've been told there is a really great pizza restaurant a few minutes walks away, we will see :)

Gave myself a haircut :O, with my electric shears of course, and I'm not so bad at it either. Not too patchy in places, and I can cope with the half dozen different lengths :)