When my wife told me that our annual summer holiday this year was Nice, my devious mind went into overdrive and immediately recollected a friend who had done the trip in 2017. That sounds great I said before blurting out the news to Sarah that I’ll cycle down to meet them. My scheming plan was met with a roll of the eyes and a “you’re not off again” comment.

So I spent the next few weeks researching the route and reading the St Malo to Nice book. I tweaked the route a bit to take in some of the Greenway route.

It also gave me a great excuse to purchase a suitable replacement frame and fork for the spaghetti feeling Specialized Carbon Diverge I used for Scotland. In all fairness, the Diverge is a great adventure bike and has been flogged down gravel trails to work in all weathers with a single rear pannier and it has been bombproof, so although it has pannier mounts front and rear, don’t think for a minute it will make a decent tourer.

So …. I decided to take a gamble and purchase a Niner RLT Steel. Whilst it’s not a dedicated tourer it’s a steel frame with a tapered steerer carbon fork. I was pleasantly surprised when I loaded it up. Not flexy at all and even with the front low riders packed with clothes and cooking gear it feels laterally and torsionally stiff.

I’m really chuffed with the setup and it utilises my full touring and bike packing gear.

So with route planned, ferry booked it was just a matter of getting a few loaded back to back rides in and enjoying the amazing summer that the UK is having!

Day 1 : Dorset to Vivier-sur-Mer