The Ride


Laurence Beresford

Lawrence Matz


London to Barcelona - The Ride
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Day 12 October 8th 2012 - Carcassonne to Port Leucate (Total 79 miles - Running Total 820 miles)

The ride from Carcassonne to Port Leucate was a day for getting completely lost. It was a day which would be so frustrating for both Michael and me and extremely hard to navigate.

It all started so well and I made the first leg of the journey to Narbonne quickly and without too much hassle, but then it all went horribly wrong and it was my fault for not checking the planned route more carefully. I had wanted to take a more scenic route navigating through the wild unspoilt marshlands that bordered the Mediterranean which meant returning to the canals and cycle paths rather than the more direct route on main roads.

My first problem was to get out of Narbonne. I thought I could do this by cycling the tow path along the Canal but unlike the early tow paths we encountered this one was just made up of rubble and even a mountain bike would have had a tough time. I had to find an alternative to getting out of the city but every route I tried added the most ridiculous amount of extra mileage to the journey. I wasted a good hour trying to do this and eventually found a road which would meet up with my original route. What I did not bargain for was that this road was closed for road works. I pleaded with the workmen to let me through but to no avail and had to turn around finding myself back in Narbonne.

After yet another hour I found another route which took me to the beautiful town of Gruissan and back on course. This should have been the end of my troubles but a short while later the sat nav took me back on to another bad unpaved cycle track running along yet another bloody canal. Michael offered to pick me up take me to Port Leucate but I decided to brave the towpath and try and do it myslelf. The penalty for doing that was to be bitten to death by a million hungry mosquitoes as the sun was going down, miraculously though I never got a puncture.

Eventually I struggled through to the end of this towpath in Port la Nouvelle where I met up with Michael. I had no alternative but to let him take me the last 10 miles to Port Leucate or we would have missed dinner. Despite the best scenery of the whole ride, this was without any shadow of doubt my hardest and most frustrating day.