One thing you know instinctively as a cyclist is to never attempt carrying a full set of golf clubs over your shoulder, while you’re riding your bike.
So don’t be alarmed when I recommend a golf club as our goal for Bike Route No. 4, in my series on suggested bike rides “with a destination.” We’re only using the club house as a place to rest and refresh, before returning to Daglan.
It’s 21 kilometres from the centre of Daglan to the club house, so this will be a 42-kilometre round trip. Yesterday I made the trip in well less than three hours, including numerous stops to take photos, and an espresso break at the club house. So it’s a good morning’s ride.
For Bike Route No. 4, we start off just as we did for Bike Route No. 1 (posted June 13, 2013), when our final destination was Belvès. However, once we pass through St. Pompon and climb up the long hill into St. Laurent la Vallée, we turn right and head in the direction of Grives and Siorac, instead of aiming for Belvès. This signpost at St. Laurent’s main intersection tells the story.
As you start to head out of the hamlet of St. Laurent on the department road D 51, this restaurant will be on your right. You can stop at Le P’tit Bistro for a coffee or tea if you wish, or just keep going. (And by the way, if you reach Le P’tit Bistro around lunchtime, it offers an incredibly hearty and inexpensive menu ouvrier, or worker’s lunch. Not fine dining, but quite good.)
Just a few hundred metres beyond the hamlet, the road begins a long and gentle dip that continues for something like three kilometres — with enough downward slope that you hardly need to pedal at all. This is the view as you start to glide down, with corn fields and forests all around:
Once the road finally flattens out, you’ve reached the hamlet of Grives. Here’s how things looked as I coasted into it yesterday:
Grives is not what you’d call a hive of activity, but it’s pretty enough, and there’s an old church you might want to visit. While I was on the road yesterday, I decided not to ride up into the centre of the hamlet where the 12th Century church is located, and instead took this photo of the sign pointing the way. If you want to have a look at the church, I can promise that you won’t have any trouble finding it.
Once you’re through Grives, you have a ride of roughly six kilometres over an enjoyable road that rises and falls without ever getting too steep. Eventually you will reach this intersection, where you should bear right — following the sign that points to Siorac. (The cyclist in the photo isn’t me; it’s one of two riders who passed me as I stopped to take the picture.)
Now there is just one more turn, and it occurs barely a kilometre farther along. It’s this series of signs, showing that you can bear right and reach Castelnaud, or turn left and reach Siorac — so you should go left. There’s a small sign at the bottom right that you might not be able to read, but it points the way to Golf de Lolivarie — the club that’s our final destination.
Now it’s just five kilometres to the golf club where we’re headed, which you’ll see on your left. And here’s the club house:
Outside, there’s an attractive shaded terrace where you can relax before heading back to Daglan.
On my ride yesterday, I chatted a bit with the woman who was managing the club house and who served me my espresso. She was quite sympa, as the French would say, and offered to fill my water bottle without my having to ask.
(In case you’re wondering about actually playing golf here, the answer is that you can, because it’s a private/public course. The course is relatively easy and flat, and you can rent everything you’ll need, from clubs to a golf cart. My wife Jan and I had a very amusing nine-hole game on the course a few years ago, but we can’t really fault the club for our abysmal play. After we had lost all but one of our golf balls, I finished playing the last few holes with Jan hyping up her Scottish accent and pretending to be my caddy; we were in stitches.)
If you’re thinking of having lunch at the club, the manager explained that it’s possible — but it will be only a light lunch like sandwiches or salads, and you need to reserve in advance. If you’d like to find a “real” restaurant, you could ride farther along the road and make your way to Siorac, which is a decent-sized village with several restaurants.
As for me, I knew that there would be a lovely lunch of blanquette de veau waiting for me at home, so that’s where I headed.