Category Archives: Via Francigena

Posts about my upcoming Via Francigena pilgrimage by bike.

Via Francigena, Day 4/29: From Péronne to Tergnier (Auberge de Villequier)

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

In this post…

  1. Introduction
  2. The statistics and metrics of the day
  3. The most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts
  4. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 15, from Péronne to Trefcon
  5. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 16, from Trefcon to Tergnier (and further to the Auberge de Villequier)
  6. Pictures of the day.

Introduction

Post about the 4th (and 5th) day of journey, published on 10th August 2016
Post about the 4th (and 5th) day of journey, published on 10th August 2016

This post complements the post I published on the 10th of August 2016 in which I described the experiences I had while riding between Péronne and Tergnier, including the additional (and unnecessary, might I add) ride from Tergnier to the Auberge de Villequier, where I spent the night. I am not going to repeat the contents of that post in this one again, but I will add a few highlights for each stage below. I encourage you to read the previous before continuing on this one.

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Statistics and metrics of the day

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Most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts:

  • To go or not to go? Woke up many times during the night to the sound of heavy rain. In the early morning I decided to wait in the tent to see if the rain would stop. It meant that by the time I was done with breakfast and packing it was past 11am in the morning, but I think it proved to be the right decision this time (aided by some weather forecast on the phone). Wasn’t really looking forward to packing my gear under rain. The rain resumed just after I left, so I guess I can consider it a lucky dry window, just long enough for me to pack my gear.
  • Château de Péronne
    Château de Péronne

    After leaving the Camping Site the first stop was at Péronne’s tourism information office in the town centre to collect a stamp on my Pilgrim’s Credential. As I was late I couldn’t really explore the town. As with many other towns and villages I’ve been through, Péronne looked like it would have been worth at least a few hours, if I had time to spare.

  • Again and again, Google Maps is good, especially to those like me that are “navigation challenged”. One problem for cyclists is that it tries, as much as it can, to guide the cyclists away from heavy vehicle traffic. Yes, this is good, but it also means it guides you to paths that during or after heavy rain might be very challenging to transpose. As I left Pèronne Google Maps instructed me to leave the “D” road I was to some dirt paths that were very muddy, only to guide me back to the same “D” road about 1.5 Km later. When you don’t know the way, the decision is not always easy. Overall Google Maps helped me more than it hindered me though.
  • The ride to Trefcon was uneventful and the village itself is tiny and it appeared to be completely deserted.
  • It rained basically all day that day (on and off) and after leaving Trefcon the route was mostly on good roads up to the town of Montescourt-Lizerolles, where Google Maps instructed to take a path alongside the railway. The terrain was somewhat challenging as the Swalbe Marathon tyres I have in the bike are not really suited for them. After overcoming the path, I decided not to follow the route Google had planned and take my chances on the major “D” road, the D1, that took me straight to Tergnier. The traffic was intense and the road had guard-rails and no hard-shoulder. I don’t recommend this route, but on hindsight I believe it was the right decision, albeit somewhat riskier than to stick (no pun intended) to the dirt paths.
  • Riding under constant rain is not really fun, but the main challenge, besides the muddy paths, was the strong wind which slowed me down considerably and took away the high visibility orange flag I had in th back of the bike. I arrived in Tergnier tired and feeling a bit ill, probably due to the wet conditions (I am slightly asthmatic and humidity is not a good thing for me). The town hall was closed, so I turned to Google again for a place to sleep and the 1st option Google gave me was a hotel / hostel in the nearby village of Villequier.
    Dinner at the Auberge de Villequier
    Dinner at the Auberge de Villequier

    The concept of “nearby” changes when you are travelling on the bike though. It took me almost 1h riding in the wrong direction (as I found out the next day) to get there, but the Auberge is lovely and the owners were very nice to me. The room was small, but big enough to wash and dry my wet clothes and dry the tent and camping equipment. Also enjoyed a very nice meal that night, my personal reward for a hard day of cycling under rain.

  • Took very few pictures during the day. The rain was the biggest contributor to this, but in all honesty I did not feel like there were a lot of picture worthy moments anyway.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 15, from Péronne to Trefcon

Video Length: 4 min and 45 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp 0:40 in the video timeline.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 16, From Trefcon to Tergnier (and further to the Auberge de Villequier)

Video Length: 9 min 42 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp 0:38 in the video timeline.

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Pictures of the day.

Click on any picture for full detail

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message through the contact form.

Please subscribe to my Blog and/or to my YouTube channel if you don’t want to miss the next one and help me spread the word by liking and sharing my Facebook Page and Tweeter feed also.

Thank you for your time!

Please rate this post by clicking on the desired star (1 = Awful, 5 = Excellent)
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Via Francigena, Day 3/29: From Bruay-la-Buissière to Péronne

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.", Albert Einstein

In this post…

  1. Introduction
  2. The statistics and metrics of the day
  3. The most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts
  4. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 11, from Bruay-la-Buissière to Ablain-Saint-Nazaire
  5. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 12, From Ablain-Saint-Nazaire to Arras
  6. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 13, From Arras to Bapaume
  7. Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 14, From Bapaume – Péronne
    (incl. my awkward tent pitching video)
  8. Pictures of the day.

Introduction

VF post from 8AUG16, from Bruay-la-Buissière to Péronne
VF post from 8AUG16, from Bruay-la-Buissière to Péronne

This post complements the post I published on the 8th of August 2016 in which I described the experiences I had while riding between Bruay-la-Buissière and Péronne. I am not going to repeat the contents of that post in this one again, but I will add a few highlights for each stage below. I would strongly encourage you to ready the August, 2016 post before continuing on this one, though.

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Statistics and metrics of the day

  • Date: Monday, 1st of August 2016
  • Route: From the Ibis Style Hotel in Bruay-la-Buissière to Péronne’s Municipal Camping site via Ablain-Saint-Nazaire, Arras and Bapaume.
  • Distance: 85.29 Km
  • Departure time from Alembon: 10:36am
  • Arrival at Destination: 6:15pm
  • Duration of day’s Journey: 7h 39min
  • Expenses this day: Total = € 23.00
    • €15.00 – Food
    • €8.00 – Accommodation (Municipal Camping site, Péronne)
  • Overnight Location: Camping Le Brochet (Municipal Camping), Péronne, +33 3 22 84 02 35
  • Type of Accommodation: Camping
  • Lightfoot Guide Stages:
    • 11: Bruay-la-Buissière – Ablain-Saint-Nazaire
    • 12: Ablain-Saint-Nazaire – Arras
    • 13: Arras – Bapaume
    • 14: Bapaume – Péronne
  • Physical and Body Stats: Link to the Garmin Connect Page for this ride
    • Duration: 7h 39m
    • Moving time: 5h 6 min
    • Average Speed: 11.1 Km/h
    • Max. Speed: 54.5 Km/h
    • Total Elevation Gain: 695 m
    • Average Heart Rate: 132 bpm
    • Max. Heart Rate: 169 bpm
    • Calories: 2792 CAL
    • Number of Pedal Strokes (Cadence sensor): 17,324

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Most memorable occurrences, moments and thoughts:

  • Via Francigena can be just bike touring, of course, but if you want your Testimonium when you get to Rome, you have to present your pilgrim’s credential and it needs to have stamps in it. They do do a deep analyses of the stamps, but they will expect that in a 2,000 Km bike ride you will have collected a few. In the digital age is getting more and more difficult to find stamps… so analogical (illogical?). In many of the small towns and villages the chance of you to find a government facility (town hall, tourist information office, etc) will depend on the day of the week (Weekends? No chance) and the time of the day as some of these facilities will be closed, e.g. lunch time, or may have public opening hours. I really tried getting my pilgrim’s credential stamped but as it was the case in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire and others, as I got there I could not find anything open. Even the pharmacy was closed.
  • Arras is spectacular. Worth a visit if you can afford staying for a day. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and is more than 2,000 years old.
  • There is a “Route 66” café in Ervillers, between Arras and Bapaume, with a big statue of “the King” (Elvis). Coming across that reminded me of a friend who was about the ride the entire route 66 by bicycle. Her name is Cacá Strina. Check out her page here.
  • Don’t completely trust technology. Have always some low tech option to fall back if technology fails you. For some reason I lost GPS connection between Baupame and Péronne and I was relying on Google Maps entirely. At the very least download the offline maps over a WiFi connection, if possible, before you leave. Getting to Péronne was no problem, I simply follow the signs, but finding the Municipal Camping site took some time and effort (about 5 Km more than necessary).
  • 20160801_215618
    Tent Feast (Large Kebab Plate)

    By the time I setup camp, had a shower and was ready to go out to find something to eat, the nearby supermarket in Péronne was already closed and after almost 30 min walking the only place I could find was a kebab trailer. So I ordered an extra large Kebab plate for dinner (and a baguette sandwhich for breakfast next day) and had a feast in the comfort of my tent. In small towns it may not easy to find a place for a meal at night. Keep that in mind.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 11, from Bruay-la-Buissière to Ablain-Saint-Nazaire

Video Length: 5 min and 10 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp  0:52 in the video timeline.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 12, From Ablain-Saint-Nazaire to Arras

Video Length: 5 min 55 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp  0:52 in the video timeline.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 13, From Arras – Bapaume

Video Length: 5 min 15 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp 0:45  in the video timeline.

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Video of Lightfoot Guide Stage 14, From Bapaume – Péronne

Video Length: 5 min 38 sec
To skip introductions and recommendations jump to time stamp  0:40 in the video timeline.

The next video is a time-lapse recording of my “awesomely akward” tent pitching skills. Took me “only” 20 min to pitch the tent. Thank God I don’t do this for a living… 🙂
In the municipal camping site of Péronne in France. Between the 3rd and 4th day of my Via Francigena pilgrimage. It raining a lot during that night and in the morning. Didn’t have a good night of sleept that day.

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Pictures of the day.

Click on any picture for full detail

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If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment or send me a message through the contact form.

Please subscribe to my Blog and/or to my YouTube channel if you don’t want to miss the next one and help me spread the word by liking and sharing my Facebook Page and Tweeter feed also.

Thank you for your time!

Please rate this post by clicking on the desired star (1 = Awful, 5 = Excellent)
[Total: 2 Average: 5]

Via Francigena, Day 2/29: From Alembon to Bruay-la-Buissière