Day 12

Mon 29th April.
Chartres, more disappointment and the follies of cycling.

I woke up to the smell of gas in the tent. Despite my new burner being turned off, you have to screw it quite tightly to ensure its fully closed. How was I to know?!?

I was on the road by about 12 o’clock. I started cycling and got back to where I left off to find a place to sleep. Something didn’t feel right with the bike. I began to think that going through the woods, despite my precautions, I had collected my first puncture. I stopped to inspect, put air in the tyres and keep going. Things still felt sluggish, but there was no puncture. It felt like this for the first half of the day.

The whole of the day I was going south west, away from the capital, I was going against a headwind. Headwinds never bothered me too much before when cycling around London, but with a heavy bike and many miles to go, a headwind can be like cycling through mud. You’re using top efforts just to get to where you need to go with little reward.
This continued all the way to Chartres, my next destination. Very tired, short-tempted and fed up, I stayed in the outskirts of the city not wanting to get swallowed in.
I went past a crappy, carnie-circus and was glad to see they existed outside England. Terrible music poured out and creepy people loomed.

I found a McDonalds out here that had avoided the national refurbishment the others I’d been to had enjoyed. Wi-fi, coffee and deciding where to go.
After a few hours it was getting late, I had to get to another spot for the night to camp. I got back on the bike and this time had a tailwind (a dreamlike thing after the day I’d had) which allowed me to clock a few kms as I went south.

A lady in a car drove up next to me with her three kids speaking in French of course, I replied I was English and she said she had a B&B. We pulled over to talk. She offered a room at her place. I asked how much, “€45” she said, I pulled a face and blew air out of my cheeks.
She asked how much I wanted to pay, I said I didn’t want to pay.
We agreed I could camp in the garden and she gave me the address. I got lost, but managed to find it and by this time she had sent one of her kids out on his bike to come find me.

When I got there, she offered me the shed to sleep in, I agreed, then she said to eat with them, no problem, then she offered me the room on a pop-up bed with my bedding. I agreed again.

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