le brouillard—is considered dangerous for cycling here. But it’s not the fog, they tell me, it’s the drivers in the fog who scream along the Dordogne’s narrow, winding roads.
I’d read that the fog would lift later in the morning, so I don a bright red jacket, set my
Knog Blinder bike lights to retina-piercing, and proceed for a loop ride towards the village of Castillonnes, east of my home base of Lauzun.
The ride along D1 is astonishingly quiet, but the cars that go past, go past fast. Similar to my experience cycling in Baja, Mexico, one can hear them coming from a ways away, In St-Nazaire, it’s a nice chance to pull over and admire the steeple.
Approaching the turn-off for Lalandusse, orchards and thistles hold on to the fog.
Near the village of Cahuzac, I see a sign for a bike route. Naturally, I spontaneously change my route and drop into a hilly but silent valley of plum orchards.
It Sunday and the village of Castillonnes is almost as silent as the orchards. It’s easy to roll along the side alleys and laneways.
Searching for the Tourist Info office, I discover an empty store front. Signs and posters tell me that this village is the home of Theodore Joyeux – arguably the man who created the Tour de France!
Joyeux was a hairdresser (but notice the bicycles in his window!), inventor, and cycle tourer. He cycled entirely around the country of France a number of years, and apparently promoted this route as a touring (not racing) event.
Joyeux invented a no-chain drivetrain system. Intrigued, I located the Tourist Info office but – being a Sunday in the winter – it’s closed. How will I learn more about Joyeux?
The fog’s burned off and the conditions are flawless. I reunite with the Plum Tour road and continue north on perfect paved roads to St-Quentin-du-Dropt.
In St-Quentin-du-Dropt, I discover that the Plum Tour is 52 km, not 5.2 km as I’d thought. I change course and head westwards into the Dropt River valley. As I’d previously discovered, it is flat and peaceful. I coast along D25 – a road that on other days of the week would be busy with working vehicles.
I roll into the village of Eymet, find a tiny lane that follows the Dropt River, and head east towards Serres-et-Montguyard. It’s a crossroads village, with a crucifix indicating to travellers that this area has been “Christianized.”
Back in Lauzun, the sun illuminates a faded, painted poster on the main street.
Click Follow to receive an email when the next Cardbordeaux delivery arrives.