Day 5 Peronne to Reims 90m (143km)
Pedalling the miles. I’d like to think I did a lot of deep thinking while I pedalled the miles, but the truth is you ponder on lots of inconsequentials: when will this hill end, how long to the next break, what mileage is there still to cover………..? Cyclists, like long distance walkers and runners should feature amongst the world’s greatest philosophers, but name me just one….We have the time to solve the world’s problems, but our thinking is inevitably egocentric.
Pre-breakfast stint. Crept out of the Vicarage annexe very early, before anyone would notice, and got 30km under the belt before looking for breakfast. As I entered a village looking for a boulangerie, I noticed it was called Brie, and fully expected to see the famous cheese advertised everywhere. The boulanger was quizzical when I asked the obvious question, but it would seem that his village enjoys the selfsame status as our own Stilton……no connection at all; When I passed a second Brie, decided that it’s not such an uncommon name after all.
Then into the vast wilderness of the Champagne region. It may be noted for its world famous sparkling wines, but it is also endlessly flat, the roads are Roman-road straight for miles, and the traffic was busy and intimidating.
Laon & Reims. The crowning glories of the day were the cathedrals of Laon and Reims (interestingly pronounced ‘Rance’). Laon, like Lincoln, is situated up a hugely steep hill, and a challenge from a local (vous montez en velo? Impossible!) had me tackling the climb just to prove……….. well something, I suppose. What I do know is that there was no finishing line welcome, no cheering crowd, nor a king of the mountains jersey!
My night in Reims will be spent in a YH bed that does come with blankets!