Monday, 20 August 2012

Surfgirl Magazine: Travels with my Bike

Arriving in South West France after a three month stint in London's urban jungle I am excited but nervous about our plan to cycle from Hossegor to Lacanau in search of uncrowded surf and life off the grid.  I love camping and being outdoors but I am definitely no exercise junkie and I am seriously wondering if Facebook can survive without me?

the simple life
Oakley team frother Gwen
The thought of sunshine, endless golden beaches, pumping surf (by pumping I mean 2-3 feet and mellow obviously), boardwalks, sand dunes, moules frites, croissants, and shady pine forests, spurs me in and we enjoy all of this and more! Team morale is aided by the presence of Oakley pro rider Gwen Spurlock, who has come along for the ride and takes the word 'frothing' to a new level. 

the hook option
"Note to self: Adopt Gwen as personal surf coach and little sister"

We cycle almost the whole journey by cycle path, just a few short road sections and a ferry journey to cut out a huge pedal around the arcachon basin.  The paths come in gradients of flat, flatter and gentle incline.. sometimes I long for a hill just to get some freewheeling in. But on the whole with a surfboard to deal with as well, the flatness works out perfectly.  Between us we are using a mix of side hooks to carry short boards and mules which drag mini mals and longboards behind us.  I've got a mule and once I get used to it and some of the things to avoid, like big kerbs and sharp turns, it works a treat. Every now and then I even forget its there - which is a definite no-no!

Jess with the mule option 
Our journey takes us through Hossegor and Seignosse, via Vieux Boucou, Contis Plage, Mimizan and Biscarosse Plage. Sometimes the paths take us inland around sections of military land and through tiny sleepy French villages where we can reward ourselves in the patisserie and have a quick snooze on church steps, patch up a few punctures and then hit the road again. Getting a little bit lost en route is all part of the fun, one day we find ourselves relaxing on day beds by a lake in an Ibizan style bar by a lake, seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

the reward

Early morning glassy surfs and 'reward surfs' after a sweaty afternoon of cycling feel thoroughly well deserved and looking at the map and knowing that you covered every inch of the journey under your own steam is beyond satisfying!

local foods
The team from Big Friday who have organised the trip in association with Oakley Europe, pitch our camp each day in a new destination, each one seemingly more picturesque and escapist than the last. By the end of the week the enormous Pyla sand dune is reflecting the setting sun onto our evening feast while para-gliders swoop overhead, it is truly spectacular.

125 miles of peddling, paddling and sleeping under the stars later, we are all surfed out, saddle sore and 100% stoked, no-one has updated their Facebook status for 7 days and we can't be located by GPS. We are well and truly off the grid: mission accomplished!

Originally Published in Surfgirl Magazine September 2012 Issue 39

The next Cycle Surf is 1-8 September 2012 - find out more here or email

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