Greenway wetness! 53km! - France
This weekend I undertook a 50km journey with a fellow longboarder which was initially inspired by reading blogs about other people traveling long distances with no support. This is the second long distance pushing journey I have done (the other one was a 35km skate I did back in January is titled “Take it to to the bridge – France”).
Living in Paris, the first idea was to try and escape the city by just riding out of where I live and trying to get to the countryside. Firstly, I found out that, legally speaking, longboarding on the road in France is illegal (boarders are classed as pedestrians and skateboarding is classed as a dangerous sport and should only be done in designated areas – so not on the road) and also I did not fancy my chances with the rather risky Parisian suburbs…I was advised to look into Greenways. This opened my eyes to a wide network of quiet routes free from traffic. I was not disappointed!
I wanted to find one which was easily accessible from Paris but long enough to be a challenge and cover enough distance so that I could beat my 35km distance record. I also wanted to get back to nature a little and camp overnight on the way, carrying the necessary gear (I was carrying around 7kg of gear on the day). I found the Forges-les-Eaux to Dieppe greenway and it appeared to fit the bill. http://240plan.ovh.net/~afv/FicheVoieAng.php?voie=32
After using my Motion pintail on my previous trip I decided to invest in a board which would be more suitable. I set my sights on the pusher! For the detailed review of the board see the “Decks” section of the forum.
I’ve set up the board as follows:
Randal RII 50° trucks
90a vemon eliminators (bottom)
90a venom barrels (top)
Rockin Rons Missiles
Seismic 85mm 79a Speedvents
Dervish shock pads from Daddies (I didn’t want to mount the trucks directly to the board)The journey
Having had so far amazing weather for the past couple of weeks I was pretty miffed by the fact that it was soon drizzling by the time we got to the start of the Greenway at Forges. However, having only one shot at doing this and as we were there we decided to give it a go and forget the camping over night and give it our all and aim to reach Dieppe in the day. Essentially we pushed for 4 hours before it stopped drizzling/pouring with rain. At times we wondered if we hadn’t bitten off more than we could chew (not much physical preparation had gone into the trip!).
We were really helped by the beautiful surface of the Greenway and the wonderfully picturesque scenery we were traveling through. The countryside is really fantastic and you are really in the middle of no-where. We passed many small villages, some with small cafes and others where you could see the remains of the stations, platforms and other railway equipment. At one point an old station shed provided shelter from the elements. The biggest town we passed through was Neufchatel en Bray where we were advised to buy lunch as the other villages might not have anywhere to buy anything. This turned out to be true although we did find a tiny café in St Aubin le Cauf towards the end on the Greenway. We passed two cyclists and a couple on a tandem otherwise we were alone the whole way! Not really surprising given the weather!
As we neared the last few kilometers it finally stopped raining – this raised our spirits considerably. We also found that with less surface water we could really get some good speed up. Slowly there came to be less surface water and the ‘upwards waterfalls’ just turned into spray. We made Arques la Bataille where the Greenway finally ends just outside a small brasserie. After asking directions from some guys who had clearly enjoyed a few ‘demi’ we continued toward Dieppe. Bataille means battle in French and after the tranquility of the Greenway it certainly felt a little more threatening. It turns out that in Arques no-one respects speed limits (either that or they were all rushing to get somewhere that day) because on more than one occasion we were almost pushed off the road or brushed by passing cars and lorries.
Getting into Dieppe was fine as there was quite a good pavement and much less traffic on the route via Rouxmesnil.
We finally completed the 33 and a bit miles (53km) in around 5 hours and 30 minutes (including around 1 hour 30 minutes for stops and lunch) and had traveled at an approximate speed (measured using a GPS equipped phone) of 12km/hour. Reaching the sea we felt a huge sense of achievement and then set about eating as much as possible after a brief see around the beach It was definitely nice to end at the sea and realize that there is no more road!Observations regarding our equipment
- Rain is not good for any equipment. Water appeared to be getting into the wood at the front of my pusher and my friend’s Derrvish where it was coming off the wheels
- The axels and nuts on my Randal’s started rusting (I would have thought that it would be made out of something other than iron or at least be slightly rust proof.
- The front bearings had taken a massive beating from the wet and also some of the rust which had leaked through. A more waterproof grease might work better in bearings (has anyone tried lubricating bearings with grease and not the usual oil?)
- Very little wear on the bushings and the Venom eliminator/barrel combo felt great.
- The Speedvents were covered in stone chippings that had embedded themselves into the wheel. Other than that I was please by the ability to handle rougher terrain. This was annoying as my friend’s Gumballs had nothing in them at all. They were good at squashing slugs and worms though!Things we learnt
- Having enough food regularly is important. We found that out when we were both very pale after the first 16km.
- Longboarding when the road is dry feels very quick in comparison with when it is wet.
- I want to explore more Greenways and perhaps try and go for a few days. Definitely try and camp next time
- Have a bigger bag (mine was ridiculously small). Thanks Tim for carrying some of the stuff!
- Perhaps try using waterproof socks and waterproof gloves if another trip is wet.
- Long distance skating is a great way to spend time with friends and properly catch up. I’m already really looking forward to the next trip – I’m going to try and make it to the B2B event!Observations regarding the route
- Not much downhill just undulating flatness that is gradually going down.
- A point to note is that going from Dieppe to Forges is uphill only. Not anything too immense but just a long slog.
- Other than some areas around Arques and at the end of the Greenway the surface was perfectly smooth.
- There are plenty of places to camp had the weather been better
- Very few places to get food. No taps/fountains or other places to get water (apart from asking in peoples houses).
- Here is the exact route used:http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&ie ... 84621ef8fc
Here is a link to the picture from the trip: http://s612.photobucket.com/albums/tt21 ... %20Dieppe/
I’ll enjoy hearing what you guys think! Thanks for reading!