2004 : Corsica

We left home on Tuesday 11th May and enjoyed a civilised journey to Liverpool Airport, the first train of the day being the 09:56 Virgin service which we boarded after cycling to Bangor station. We alighted at Chester for Merseyrail, changing at Moorfields for Hunts Cross and cycled the short distance through a light industrial area to the airport. There followed the usual bother of preparing the bikes for the flight – removing pedals and bottle cages, partially deflating the tyres, twisting the handlebars round, protecting the gear mechanism with bubble wrap and finally encasing the bikes in plastic bags. Until this year, EasyJet didn’t insist on bagging or boxing cycles but now they do. The only other cyclist we saw at the airport was a veteran EasyJet customer who was shocked to be turned away at the check in. He hired a taxi, scrounged a discarded box from the nearest Halfords store and was then allowed to load it. We must have been way over the baggage allowance but weren’t surcharged.

Our flight was due to leave at 17:20 but was delayed until 20:00, the result of a morning flight being delayed by fog at Paris. We had to hang round the café for hours while all the other flights left on time. Some sadist put a Lionel Ritchie album through the PA which did nothing to improve my mood. Eventually it was time to move on to the departure lounge and there was a panic when Christine’s hand luggage went through security. The standard advice to cyclists used to be to pack pedals and tools in your hand luggage so if the bike arrived first at the other end you could be reassembling it without having to wait for the carousel. This was the first time we’d flown since security was stepped up and airlines started worrying about their staff being attacked in flight with spanners, bicycle pedals and other kinds of objects normally only used as weapons in Monty Python sketches. EasyJet handled it well for us, taking the bag and checking it on as additional hold luggage.

We didn’t arrive at Nice Airport until 23:00 local time, having had to advance our watches an hour for French time, then we had to reassemble our bikes before we could leave the now deserted airport. We had trouble finding our way out onto the right road, there being no maps around and no-one to ask. Eventually we asked some police who we getting out of their car and they showed us the way. We eventually reached our hotel at 01:30. We’d chosen the Trocadero in central Nice as it was reasonably priced (€68 for a room sleeping three) and had a 24 hour reception in case our flight was delayed so we had no worries about being locked out.

Day 2 – Nice to Bastia by boat
Day 3 – Bastia to Ile Rousse (72 km)
Day 4 – Ile Rousse to Calvi (35 km)
Day 5 – Calvi to Galeria (44 km)
Day 6 – Galeria to Porto (52 km)
Day 7 – Day ride to Piana and back (27 km)
Day 8 – Porto to Evisa (25 km)
Day 9 – Evisa to Corte (65 km)
Day 10 – Corte to Ajaccio by train
Day 11 – Ajaccio to Porto Pollo (66 km)
Day 12 – Porto Pollo to Sartène (47 km)
Day 13 – Sartène to Zonza (43 km)
Day 14 – Day ride and walk to Col de Bavella (22 km)
Day 15 – Zonza to Pallumbaggia (54 km)
Day 16 – Pallumbaggia to Pianottoli (55 km)
Day 17 – Pianottoli to Propriano (51 km)
Day 18 – Propriano to Olmeto Plage (23 km)
Day 19 – Olmeto Plage to Ajaccio (78 km)
Day 20 – Restful day at Ajaccio (28 km)
Day 21 – Ajaccio to Nice by boat, then home