23 July – Liam’s Big Ride

Kris and I returned to Laval in the morning along a different route – this time along the Mayenne canal. The first part of the route was on country roads to find the canal. We did an unnecessary detour of around 10km when we took the wrong road out of Houssay – we had to backtrack to join the canal. However we did find some menhirs and a dolmer during our detour – off the road up a dirt track. The dolmer is a large rock resting on top of two others. The menhirs are just large stones – not as impressive as the previous one we have seen.

We met up with the family again at the Decathlon store in Laval – they had come through by car. Here we bought a third bike for use during our holiday. Kris, Fergus, Liam and I then set off on a ride back down the canal (with Fergus on the new bike). This was Liam’s first long bike ride. The canal is an ideal place to ride with children as there is no traffic to worry about.

We didn’t expect Liam to ride further than our exit point from the canal, at around 25km. The plan was for us to phone Gretel and Elsbeth to come and fetch him in the car when we got there. As we progressed we could see Liam become used to pedaling continuously and he was quickly getting to grips with changing his gears. At the end of the canal ride he was looking very strong and keen to continue – so we decided continue with him.

The rest of the ride was along quiet country roads and the green route (old railway line). Liam did very well to cycle the whole 50km – he kept going without complaining, even though he was very tired at the end.

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