Saturday, 18 December 2010

It's been Quiet

I have a sort of cold, it's too cold outside for Susan to go into the garden and do outdoor stuff, so the past couple of days we have just stayed inside in the warm. It hasn't snowed (despite dire warnings every evening about the following day) but today we have snow forecast again - yesterday was a lovely looking day and last night was perfectly clear, so who knows. This morning on my walk to the boulangerie it was trying to snow, but not trying very hard.

Anyway...

Last August, my brother paid us a visit. He had been living in London for the previous 18 months and was about to return home to Australia. He drove down with his wife, Rosie, and Jess and Jack. On the Saturday we went velorailing, which was ace fun (if a little hard work). Because there were six of us and the carts only take five people we split into two groups: Susan and I travelling with Jack, and the other three following on aboard the cart behind.

The rail line out of Chauvigny crosses the River Vienne
For those not in the know, velo-rail is a little rail cart fitted with pedals. They are a feature on quite a few of the closed railway lines in France and are usually between 10 and 30 kilometres long. Two people pedal (assuming that there are two people pulling their weight) and they sound just like little trains, with a clickity clack and everything.

This is the view from the bridge: the five chateaux of Chauvigny
Because they are a railway, there are no steep hills. This is excellent news, except for the fact that most hills are therefore long shallow gradients: real lung busters. Of course, because they are an "out and back" ride, any hill you get to cycle up you can coast down, which is huge fun (and seems incredibly fast!)

JB & Rosie wait for Jess (who is out of shot)
to open the level crossing
So there you go: velorailing. Great if you have a couple of teenage kids to do the pedalling for you, hard work (but still great) if you have to pedal yourself.

Simon