Our ride on the final day was very short, just 12 miles to reach the ferryport. And the ride was mostly on the cyclepaths that ran on both sides of the river.
Our route on a short stretch of road running from our campsite along the coast was marked by a poignant series of vertical banners hung on every lampost, each of which featured a portrait of a soldier who had been killed during the fighting associated with the capture of the Pegasus Bridge. In fact, along many of the roads within Ouisterham itself the lamposts were similarly decorated.
We crossed the river at the famous Pegasus Bridge, renamed after the war after the pegasus emblem of the regiment that managed to secure this strategic crossing across the river. This bridge, whose capture by parachutists arriving from gliders in the latter days of World War 2 in Europe, was an important part of the strategic preparation for the D Day landings.
The current bridge, however, is not the original wartime version but a more recent replacement whose design still allowed the passage of ships and barges to and from Caen, some 12km to the south in order to reach the English Channel.
And then, after a satisfying lunch of galettes accompanied by local cider in Ouisterham, we made our way to the ferry port’s waiting area in preparation for boarding our ferry back to Portsmouth.
And so our journey is almost over.
We have pedalled across Northern Spain from Bilbao into France. From the Atlantic coast in France to the Mediterranean and across to the Rhône estuary. Our return ride from Paris to the ferry port of Ouisterham took our mileage to over 800 miles (around 1300km) with lots of hills climbed and many memories generated.
Together with our rail, ship and bus journeys we must have travelled around 3,000 miles in all, not so different from our previous long distance tandem travel to Istanbul and back!
Distance travelled : 14 miles
Total distance travelled: 804 miles
Ascent: 105ft approx