Riding in North West France

From the sandy beaches used for the D-Day landings, to Norman castles and cathedrals, North West France is packed with sights to enhance any tour.

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There's a gentle hum of tourists talking, traffic trickling past and the wind flapping the flags of the memorials. Omaha Beach is beautiful in the sunshine. Hard to imagine the violence of the D-Day landings in such an idyllic setting.

I thumb the starter of the Tiger Explorer and set off, heading for the next landmark. There’s a pleasant rhythm to the riding along the Normandy coast – yes, the speed limits are low in summer and there’s tourist traffic, but what’s the rush? This is laid-back riding, where the stops are just as important as the miles that are between them.

Besides, if you want a real ride, it’s better to get away from the coast. The hordes of holidaymakers saturate the seaside – more drawn by the miles of golden beaches than any interest in military history. Head south through the narrow lanes of the Bocage, into the rolling hills of Suisse Normande and you discover miles of quiet, scenic, twisty roads.

But today I’m sticking with the coastal route. Breezing from one sun-kissed monument to the next, getting back on the bike for a bit of cooling breeze in between. I never need much of an excuse for a ride, but a tour round the Normandy Landings beaches is one of the best. Especially when the sun is shining.