A great plan B!

Despite the bad weather, this plan B for the summer of 2021 was rich in discoveries and encounters!
A very different trip from my previous ones, this time with very few anonymous stays in hotels or airbnb without hosts: I saw friends all along my stages and this time the warmshowers network worked.
And even in the only camping I did (a very nice one on the Gave river) in Sauveterre de Béarn I spent my time discussing from arrival to bedtime!

The friends were there: I was able to stop at their place, stay a few days and discover their region.
Virginie in Monpezat de Quercy, Philippe in Cezens, Carole and Mathieu in Figeac, Laurence in Tarbes and Dominique in Sare.

For the first time, I had the opportunity to stay with hosts of the warmshowers network. A very warm welcome and each time I ate with my hosts even though I hadn’t planned it at the beginning. Not always easy to bring something: you can carry a bottle in your bags, but once offered you sometimes discover that the hosts don’t drink alcohol ^^
During these 6 warmshowers stages I was welcomed like a friend and even felt like part of the family
Milan and Marine (and their children Thilio and Léonie) in Cajarc
Thomas and Marion in Fontannes near Brioude
Myriam and Jean in Billom
Magali and Hugues (Moutier-Rozeille near Aubusson)
Olivier and Sandra in Egletons
Runo in Najac

As on each return I take stock of the equipment or what I can improve for my next trip.
The phone holder : one of the accessories which is the most useful for me. It allows me to have the track under my eyes. In very flexible rubber I find it more resistant than the other all plastic models where the plastic gets old and breaks by surprise. Here one of the corners broke, but as I had this support since my return from the Black Sea one will say that I made three or four thousand kilometres with it! I will try to find the same one and this time to take two to have a change.
The famous saddle SMP that I bought three years ago is starting to deteriorate and I don’t find it so comfortable anymore. So maybe I’ll buy a Brooks saddle. Leather saddles that you keep for life! There are quite a few models out there so I’m going to ask people I meet who have them to see which model is right for me. This saddle is twice the price of the SMP saddle, an investment I wasn’t prepared to make when I planned my first trip!

The shoe laces broke. I was able to wait until I got back to Toulouse to buy two pairs at the shop in Rue des Filatiers where you can find everything for leather and shoes! But I notice that the shoes are starting to wear out... To be watched.

The rear mudguard : fortunately Olivier in Egletons made me a little DIY which lasted until... the end! with some tightening and rewinding of the wire. But the plastic mudguard ended up breaking. I replaced it with a plastic one but the problem is the rear fixing bracket: it’s the same kind of hook... it will end up breaking like the others...

The panniers: a bit too small to carry everything I want... I’m going to buy a front carrier on which I can put my backpack. I have to find the right model and make sure it’s available! The online shops sometimes put delays to December 31st!

After the longest stages or with the strongest slopes some pains in the knees... The arthritis wakes up. At the end of the ride in the Basque Country after 1500 kilometres everything seemed to be back in order. Could it be a question of training?

Well, now we’ll spend a season playing chess, and I hope that next year it will be possible to make the trip initially planned 😄


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