Our fellow cyclist, Maithé, is one of those people who knows everyone, in Nogaro and much further afield, as well as being aware of everything that’s going on. Some of her friends from the Agen cycling club wanted to ride in the Gers, so Maithé organised a weekend for them. The sixteen Agen cyclists stayed at the cycle club gite, from where they rode with Maithé and another couple of Nogaro members on Saturday, visiting various places en route and eating together in the evening.
On Sunday there were two routes on offer; the usual club run and a route that Maithé had sorted out, with visits to a “palmeraie” and a mini brewery, as well as various villages.
Nick and I were amongst those who went with Maithé’s group; the Agen club are true cyclotouristes, so the pace was gentle as we made our way through the undulating Gers countryside. We hadn’t been to the palmeraie before and were very impressed by the vision and hard work of the owners, who, 40 years ago, grew their first palms from seed as they couldn’t afford to buy trees. As well as a wide variety of palms, the gardens also boast an amazing array of bamboo and other plants that I didn’t recognise; there are sculptures and other works of art hidden round corners and in unexpected clearings, ponds full of water lilies and a wonderful atmosphere at peace and calm. We ate our picnic on the veranda before heading off to Termes d’Armagnac and the mini brewery, where everyone was delighted to put the beer they bought into the support van to be taken back to the gite.
The cyclists from Agen were all very happy with their weekend, Maithé received well earned praise for her organisation and a reciprocal weekend in Agen is on the cards for the future.