30 days with our friend Topher riding La Loire a Velo.

Posted: October 17, 2019 in Uncategorized

It all started with a casual conversation which turned into Curt converting Toph’s handcycle into an electric assist bike.  While he was at it Curt also designed and made a hitch so Toph could pull his wheelchair and his own

DSCN4387Topher and Gear

While we were contemplating the pros and cons of the trip our friend Alan asked if he could join us for 10 days of the tour.  After a couple of rounds of emails the tour was on, as Alan bought his tickets to Paris, thanks to peer pressure we all followed his lead.  And then our German friend Manfred suggested we ride the route in reverse.  As we had researched in vain ways to get Toph and his handcycle to the beginning we took his suggestion and booked train tickets to Nantes the city in which it usually ends.

First campIMG_3528

The first ten days of the tour were just plain fun, thanks to Alan’s good nature and the beauty of France.  Alan was not only the recon man, scouting safe intersections and the best way forward on cobbled hills, he was the breakfast guy, riding out every morning after a bit of camp coffee to find the perfect quiche, baguette and chocolate croissant for Toph.  He also taught Topher how to play cribbage.  They stayed up late into the night counting 15-2’s.   By the time Alan left Topher was whooping Alan’s butt in cribbage.


During the day we rode cobble stone, gravel and paved paths, country roads and bridges.  We rode head winds and tail winds, and up hills and along the river.  We rode under mostly sunny skies with perfect temperatures.  The signage was excellent and the wine and food superb.  Curt and I did the grocery runs and the cooking.  We made one pot meals and humongous salads.  We all contributed to our picnic menus, which might include tabuli, olives, ham and cheese, sardines for Alan and cookies for Toph.  And slept in campgrounds galore.  Every afternoon we set up and every morning we packed up.  We rode around 25 to 40 kilometers a day and climbed seldom but steep when we did.




We visited villages and cathedrals.


And then Alan left and we were three.  As Topher said it was like taking two different tours.  The funny one with Alan and late night and cribbage and the old folks one with early bedtimes and early mornings.

We started riding shorter days as we entered castle country. We visited few wine caves, a micro brew and watched hot air balloons galore.  We had some beautiful biking days and some great stay days.



We spent one morning riding single track.  It was through a forest next to a castle.   Topher hit a root with his chair and tipped it, luckily, he, the chair and bike were all okay.  And we rode on.


And then the weather turned colder and wetter.  We camped on what we hoped would be dry nights and rented bungalows when we could.  We stayed at a Best Western and with a warmshower host.  We continued to visit castles, cathedrals, wine caves, a pizza truck, chocolatiers and tour towns and villages, and rock out at an outdoor concert but still the weather put a damper on our spirits.



And then it was over.  We rented a car in Orleans and drove Topher to Paris to catch his flight home.  We returned to the empty carriage house our Warmshower host had gifted us. It had been a grand adventure.  We experienced all of the beauty of the Loire and made tons of friends.  We saw more amazing things than we could possibly describe and had experiences that we will remember for a lifetime.






  1. Many of the photos were taken by Alan the amazing!


  2. Sharon MacConnach says:

    Inspiring. Keep up the good work.

    On Thu, Oct 17, 2019, 9:55 AM Ride off the Earth wrote:

    > Rideoffthearth posted: “It all started with a casual conversation which > turned into Curt converting Toph’s handcycle into an electric assist bike. > While he was at it Curt also designed and made a hitch so Toph could pull > his wheelchair and his own While we were contemplating” >


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