Adventures Bicycling in France

By Maggie LaCoste

It’s never a good thing when you are awoken by terrible thunder the first morning of a bike trip, as was the case this morning. Bordeaux in June should be sunny and warm, just perfect weather for bicycling.  The last three days have been cold with showers and sideways rain.  People who live here say they have never seen anything like this in June. Great.

My husband and I laid in bed thinking of a plan.  We had hoped to bicycle from Bordeaux to the vineyards of Pomerol, ending the day in Saint-Emilion.  Maybe instead we could take the train to Libourne and then visit some vineyards en route to our stop for the next two nights, Chateau Franc Pourret in Saint-Emilion.  This seemed like a good plan, so we began packing up.  I laughed as the situation reminded me of the unpredictability of traveling by bike–it’s always an adventure.

Everything proceeded perfectly until my husband announced that one of the locks on the bikes would not unlock. How could this be?  We had checked all the locks with Norbert of O2Cycles just two days earlier.  We tried everything we could to get the lock to unlock. No luck. Even though this was our problem, everyone from the hotel tried to help us.  Alize and Tomas from our hotel communicated with Norbert trying to find a solution to get the lock to work. No luck.  Ultimately Norbert drove 40 km through flooded streets to come to our aid.  He actually had to ride an off-road motor bike to Bordeaux as it was the only way he could get around all the flooded roads.

As I watched this drama unfold, I was struck by the incredible kindliness and generosity of our “angels” of the morning: Norbert, Alize and Tomas. Each did more than could ever be expected to help resolve our problem and help us get on the road. Norbert’s high powered electric saw did the trick finally, and we could actually leave.  We sadly said our goodbyes.  I thought how blessed we were to have been a part of this “event”.

Bicycle touring can sometimes leave you feeling a bit vulnerable and alone, particularly when things go wrong.  That’s part of the adventure. Perhaps the best part of our adventure from this morning was realizing how kind people can be when you least expect it.  So thanks to Alize, Norbert and Tomas for helping us get on our way…finally. There’s a break in the rain, so we are off. Hoping for sunny skies ahead.

Sunny skies ahead?

Sunny skies ahead?

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Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.