Text by Tamar
We docked in Roscoff early Sunday morning (8 May) after an uneventful crossing. Our first task was to investigate why the rear tyre had mysteriously deflated overnight. There was no sign of a puncture but it was hard to be sure as the valve ripped out as we wheeled the loaded bike off the ferry. I am choosing to believe there had been some kind of fault in the valve and would be disappointed if there had been a puncture as I took some trouble sourcing Marathon XR tyres which are well reviewed as expedition tyres. With a new tube inserted we set off out of Roscoff, dogged (pun intended) by our trailer, which had developed an exuberant wag whilst we’d pedalled through Ireland and which was getting worse by the minute. After wasting an hour in a supermarket car park trying various ineffective fixes we began to limp slowly back into Roscoff, whereupon the trailer became totally unmanageable and we discovered the weld securing one of the drop-outs to the frame had failed. In layman’s terms the wheel was only attached to the trailer on one side of the axle, and we were going nowhere. Thankfully, once we were installed in the nearby campsite, Ruth & John of JD Tandems swung into action. They contacted the UK importer, who contacted the Polish manufacturer, and a new frame for the trailer was soon UPS-ing its way to us. At first we were a bit miffed it was going to take until the 12th to arrive, but it’s actually turned out to be a lovely break from pedalling and chasing timetables.
Our campsite backs onto a beach where we’ve watched spectacular sunsets each evening, the weather has been windy and a little showery but generally sunny, and Roscoff has proved to be a most agreeable little town. There are 20 or so plaques dotted around with English text so budget-conscious velotourists can see the sights without spending a centime. We have discovered that Roscoff onions have AOC status (appellation contrôllée) and in the late 19th and early 20th century were sold across La Manche as far as Scotland by ‘Johnnies’ on their bicycles bearing strings of onions, and as I’ve just finished reading the Count of Monte Cristo I was delighted to discover that Alexandre Dumas spent time in Roscoff (whilst writing the onion chapter for his comprehensive book on French cuisine….no, we hadn’t heard of that particular tome either).
There’s lots of well preserved and beautifully decorated granite buildings dating back to the 16th century, an open and delicately worked double-layer bell-tower on the church, a good quality weekly market (where we feasted on freshly cooked crepes bretonnes), a small park with swans, peacocks, goats, sheep and kangaroos, and we’ve also spent time hanging around the docks, watching fish being sorted at the fish auction and learning about the different uses of seaweed. I was almost disappointed when the new trailer arrived this afternoon. Back on the road tomorrow: Friday 13th…