Past Ride

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Sun Sep 8th 2019
D-Day 75 Tour Day 2 3*
Richard Pethybridge
Start Time:
9:00 am
Start Location:
Bayeux, France
After breakfast we will depart eastwards from Bayeux, once again enjoying the Normandy 'Bocage' countryside. We will visit the Hillman Bunker site near Colleville-Montgomery (guess who they renamed their village in honour of...) before crossing the Caen Canal at Pegasus Bridge. After a brief stop at the Ranville CWGC cemetery we will loop around via the Merville Battery site back to Pegasus Bridge and then the final run along the canal to Ouistreham.

Total distance is 41 miles and 1300ft of climbing, once again 10 miles and about 500ft less climbing than previous years. This will allow a more leisurely start. I have yet to decide exactly where we will take lunch, so the route may change slightly depending on opportunities. The ferry departs at 1630 so we will aim to be at the terminal in plenty of time at about 1500.
After an excellent breakfast and a not-too-early 0830 start we headed east from Bayeux for some 25 miles through some amazing countryside to our first stop at the 'Hillman' defensive position above Colleville-Montgomery. Atop a commanding hill this was the site of a heroic assault by the Suffolk Regiment. A quick replan of the route allowed us a gravel-track-free ride to Pegasus Bridge and coffee at the famous Café Gondrée, the first building to be liberated on D-Day.
Next stop was the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Ranville, again a contrast with the other two and a deeply moving experience to see the graves of so many young men who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom.
A slog up a hill followed by a delightful descent took us to the Merville Battery, site of a famous but not entirely successful parachute assault by the British 6th Airborne Brigade, and then lunch at another beachfront café in Merville itself. Not the quickest service, the food when it arrived was great and the Norman cider imbibed while waiting was even better. Sadly the wait meant we missed out on the museum at Pegasus Bridge (something for next year perhaps...) but a nice flat ride took us back to the ferry and our homebound trip.
73.06 km (45.40 mi)
Ride Details:
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Start Locations
Wantage Market Place
Old Mill Hall, Grove
1* - Suitable for irregular, social, beginner or family riders, pace will match the slower riders. Not hilly or long. Expect rides up to 3 hours. Gentle exercise.
2* - Suitable for regular riders who prefer to cover some distance but at a more relaxed pace. Likely to be half-day rides. Solid exercise.
3* - Suitable for experienced riders, may be hilly, long, quick, or any combination! Likely to be half or full-day rides. Challenging exercise.
4* - Suitable for athletic riders who can ride safely above the 3* standard. Quick rides for the fit.
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