Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cycling Near Bordeaux. . .

I'm just waiting for Pater to get back with something for dinner. We had planned to eat a simple meal, perhaps steak frites, at the cafe around the corner, but that ten-minute walk feels too far for me. Why? Well, we spent most of the day riding to Créon and back, the distance apparently adding up fairly close to 60 kilometres. I tend to like my bike trips in one-hour measures, but I must admit that today's was a glorious ride. I will also admit that I am very tired. And that some parts of my body are warning me that I will be much sorer tomorrow. And even more the day after.

Riding along the Garonne

And I have a sunburn, and my usual queasy response to too much time in the sun (I do sunstroke readily ever since falling asleep in the sun in my late teens).

The double strap of my Hermès watch protected some of me from sunburn!

But the ride was wonderful. Within 40 minutes of biking away from our house near Centre-Ville, we were in this bucolic landscape, all under our own steam

Separate bike lane for each direction, very nice

We were hoping to find the Roger Lapébie bike trail, built on a former railway line, and we did eventually, but not before stopping to admire some impressive estates along the way.

All barred to the likes of us, sadly . . .

But we could admire, and take photos, and try not to get in the way of the very fast, and ever so serious, cyclists zipping by on their real bikes, wearing real cycling gear . . .

Still, even in our daywear and on our clunky City bikes, we were cycling in France, in wine country, on a sunny day . . . The stuff of dreams, right?


You might note that Pater is carrying his bag and that otherwise, we have no panniers, none of the clever add-ons that could make longer treks more comfortable. I grumbled about this a bit, especially when we arrived in Créon to find it was market day, and that Créon puts on an excellent Marché. We ogled the stalls full of gurmet delights and could have put together a fabulous picnic had we only thought of bringing a knife, some forks, a napkin or two, and especially something to hold our finds. Next time, we consoled ourselves. And, instead, found a pleasant crêperie where we started with a savoury crêpe each, shared a sweet one, all washed down with a pichet of cider and a couple of espressos as we watched the market vendors pack up their wares and wash their counters vigorously before closing up the trailers and vans, presumably to do it all again in another small town tomorrow.

As for me, I'm very glad I don't have to repeat our day tomorrow, worn out as I am, but I'm also very glad that we managed our almost-sixty-kilometre cycle today. And especially glad that Pater is still feeling fresh enough to whip up dinner for me right here at Rue B. . .

Where I can sit and plan for future trips, all those directions opening up for us . . . I'm sure some of my readers have either done cycling vacations or have cycled while on vacation. I'd love to hear some of your experiences, recommendations, or dream cycling trips.


  1. What a glorious day except for sunburn! You have blue skies and a market with Pater. Another lovely place to cycle is the Loire Valley near Saumur. Châteaux, vineyards, and churches. There are some lovely sites to see and it's very "rideable".

    1. This is good to know, Madame. We are definitely wanting to extend our biking experience in the future. C'est fun de faire du vélo!

  2. Hi Mater - nothing like biking in the countryside! This reminds me of our cycling tour in Austria a few years ago - the most we did in a day was 75 km, the other 5 days ranged from 25 to 50 km. Unfortunately, the first day I starting suffering some digestive distress and my husband the day after. Somehow we both managed to pull it together for cycling, but once at our hotels we were vying for the bathroom. The worst part was that we had upgraded our hotels and meals and we weren't able to fully appreciate the gourmet offerings, at least not until the last day. Despite this it was a wonderful family trip and I would love to do something like it again.

    1. I think I remember you telling me about this in a comment at the time. I can't imagine how you managed to keep going with those daily distances. I hope you get a chance to do something similar in the future, sanstummy troubles.

  3. Stuff of dreams indeed, and you'll use this experience to equip yourselves for next time. Gorgeous photos, merci mille fois!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post, K. I thought of you while we were doing it, as you've mentioned that le Duc enjoys cycling and would like you to join him when in France. I found this infinitely easier than my attempts to cycle in Paris -- part of it is that the bikes are so solid with a low centre of gravity and no bar for me to get my leg over. Okay, yes, it makes them a bit clunky for long rides, but feeling safe is a very important first step for me. . .

  4. Oh, wonderful! I love this! My aunt and her husband did biking tours in France, further east of where you are, and loved it.

    Lot et Garonne, perhaps?


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