16-Aug-2014 -- This is the first out of 3 reports reaching confluence points in Central France.
Cycling and confluencing is my favourite combination of travel. To make it to a (to me new) confluence point and back to Zurich within a weekend, I usually get into area by train and start cycling from a train station. Slow trains do take bicycles, but they are – you won’t believe it – slow. High speed trains usually don’t allow bicycles on board. But if the bicycle is packed in a so-called TranZBag, it is considered as normal luggage and can therefore be taken along.
Friday after work at 5:30 PM I took the TGV Lyria from Zurich to Paris arriving there at 22 PM. I had only 20 minutes to change the train station from Paris-Gare de Lyon to Paris-Austerlitz. Imagine that I was last to get out of the train with my big TranZBag and two paniers. I ran about 1 km to the other station and just caught the train to Limoges in time. After my arrival in Limoges at 1:30 AM, I began to reassemble my bicycle at the platform. Suddenly 3 guards came to me, informing me that the station was closing. Unfortunately I had spread out all the screws and pieces of luggage at that moment such that there remained for them no alternative besides waiting until I got my bike and luggage together.
I asked at a nice looking hotel directly at the station for accommodation, but the answer was basically: we are completely booked and if this is the case as one of the most expensive hotels in town, you can assume that all other hotels are booked as well. So I moved on, suddenly feeling hungry. One kebab restaurant was still open. While I was eating, the employees tried to help me finding accommodation. But when they found out that even booking.com had nothing available, they offered me a place to roll out my sleeping back in the rear of the restaurant – which I thankfully accepted.
At 6:00 AM I got off (this was the time when the restaurant was closing anyways) and began cycling towards the confluence (32 km). It was incredibly foggy such that I would have needed wipers for my glasses. But when I reached the confluence (4 km from the village
Cieux), the fog disappeared and the sun came out. The point can be easily reached by asphalted roads up to 600 m and the remaining part on forest tracks.
The confluence point is located directly at the north-western lake shore of the Etang de Fromental. The forest track runs just 10 m above the lake shore through a fixed forest. The confluence can be reached by climbing the steep grade down to the shore. I was ready to do a bit of swimming to get a zero reading. But the accuracy of the GPS was too low (only 10 m at the best) such that the device was fooling me around: up the steep hill, through the thorns, down again, up again and sometimes into the water. But it was a beautiful place, with romantic reflections of the morning sun in the water and the sun penetrating the leafs.
After the documentation I cycled back to Cieux to have breakfast and then continued further to the East.
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to the road: 600 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 15 m
- Time to reach the CP from the road: 2 min
- Time at the CP: 8:30 AM
- Measured height: 311 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 7 m
- Position accuracy: 10 m
- Topography: hilly, between a slope and the lake
- Vegetation: mixed forest, moss on the trees, ferns, tendrils
- Weather: sunny, 22° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Sun Penetration Confluence
The story continues at 46°N 2°E.