CC Breckland ran a weekend of cycling events on the Norfolk roads and pedestrian rambles for 23 members of four clubs from near Brest. We wanted a recompense for our fellow cyclists from Brittany who have run and invited CC Breckland to a series of similar events in Brittany over seven of the past fifteen years, alternating with other clubs in Normandy eight times in the same period. The general form resembled AUK events except that for safety and translation reasons CC Breckland divided the cyclists into smaller groups, travelling at average speeds of 27.5, 25 and 22.5 km an hour. Up to 17 Breton and 17 CCB riders and 10 Breton and 10 CCB walkers took part, covering 300km of cycling and 30km of walking over the weekend.
The Breton cyclists went home with the impression that Noel Coward’s version of Norfolk’s flat landscape was patently not true, CC Breckland devised a series of routes that meant a total of about 1,600 metres of changes of level over three days. This part of the Tour of Norfolk may come back to haunt CC Breckland in future years when we hope to return to Brittany and Normandy where there will be conspicuously greater opportunities to find longer and harder hills than we have. But the character-building part of the experience to be picked up on the hills in France will be a useful feature to bring home. In one brave moment the oldest rider managed to catch (just momentarily) the wheel of the youngest one, we shall see how long that reputation lasts.
Our Breton friends were taken with the wealth of things to see; the Archway at Castle Acre, the coast near Deepdale, the monumental houses at Houghton, Holkham and Oxburgh, the North Norfolk Coast and the Brecks. They may be taking home good impression of pig-rearing in the County, where most of ours are outside ‘at liberty’, in Brittany they are mainly indoors.