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Pont de Normandie experience

Posted: 16 Aug 2012, 11:05am
by ericonabike
Just back from a tour from St Malo to Calais. I decided to add the Pont de Normandie to my list of bridges cycled across as I knew it had a cycle path on it. It did, but...

Imagine going over a reasonable [3%?] hill alongside a motorway on a metre wide cycle track. There were signs asking traffic to slow, as cyclists present, but they were coming past at 70 mph anyway! After a few hundred yards of this I moved across on to the 'pavement' which was separated from the cycle track by a kerb. This was even narrower though, and towing a trailer made me distinctly nervous. I was on the brakes during the whole descent, which I would never do normally. Overall it is not an experience I would care to repeat! I didn't see another cyclist or pedestrian on the bridge the whole time either. Hope this helps anyone contemplating doing the same thing.

Re: Pont de Normandie experience

Posted: 16 Aug 2012, 11:45am
by bikepacker
Did you have a crosswind? When I did it a westerly wind was blowing me towards the traffic. As you say not an experience to be repeated.

I would like to cycle over the Millau viaduct (aka. bridge in the sky) as it's a motorway no cycling is allowed. Been under it a few times.

Re: Pont de Normandie experience

Posted: 16 Aug 2012, 2:30pm
by nirakaro
Funny that, I thought it was a delightful experience, though I think I walked most of the way to admire the view. Horses for courses!

Re: Pont de Normandie experience

Posted: 16 Aug 2012, 2:55pm
by andrew_s
The (free) ferries are much to be preferred, unless you are going to/from Le Havre, where the extra distance to a ferry may be of significance.
The most downstream ferry is at Quillebeuf, about 5km upstrean of the Pont de Tancarville.

Re: Pont de Normandie experience

Posted: 16 Aug 2012, 4:54pm
by stewartpratt
andrew_s wrote:The most downstream ferry is at Quillebeuf, about 5km upstrean of the Pont de Tancarville.


Oh - thanks for the tip. When we crossed at le Havre we took the Pont de Tancarville. It was a surprisingly stiff climb on a loaded tandem, as I recall. Future routes to be planned via Quillebeuf, methinks.

Re: Pont de Normandie experience

Posted: 18 Aug 2012, 7:57pm
by groberts
I couldn't agree with the OP more - see my comments at the end of Day-8 in this write-up; if Pont de Normandie is bad then the subsequent ride west through the container docks to the UK ferry is awful.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=38629

The problem is if, as I did, you come through the beautiful town of Honfleur from or too the UK ferry port, is there really a viable alternative, without a significant upstream detour? Pity, as my overall experience of cycling in France is wonderful.