I feel like I did on the first day of school, looking fondly at my new scribblers, daring to crack the cover and admire the clean beauty of new school supplies. The whiteness of the paper and the uniformity of the lines taunting me to write something. I wanted the penmanship to be perfect and the ideas worthy of the first page, on the first day of class.
I feel the same excitement and the same tension writing my first blog post. Do I have something worthy enough to write and show to the world? We’ll see.
Here’s the plan and here’s the adventure. One month on a bike in France.
I’ve had a little bit of experience riding my bike, but nothing like this. I’ve been on three fully supported long distance fund-raising bike trips called the Cycle of Hope in support of Habitat for Humanity in the northern United States. I just had to show up and pedal. Someone else mapped the route, found our group places to sleep, and kept us feed and watered for two weeks. In the fall of 2013, I spent a week cycling in Italy, staying at a charming hotel and returning back after a day of riding to a warm shower, hearty meals and good wine. No luggage to carry. Someone to repair my bike and help change my flats. Someone to make sure I didn’t get lost.
This time is different. My husband, Dennis and I will set out on our own with a loose plan in mind and wander around France for a month on a bike. My husband retired at the end of 2013, and we finally had the time to follow that little idea that sat percolating in the back of our minds for a few years.
We have never been the greatest of planners. The summer ticked by and we were occupied with the other things we like to do in the summertime. When July finally clicked over to August, we made the first step and bought our airline tickets.
There was a multitude of things to think about and to do. The most important seemed to be the bike itself. Do we buy bikes here and take them with us or do we rent or buy them in France? We opted to bring bikes from home reasoning that we would be sure to have something that fit and we could trust. It was one less thing to worry about when we got to France. We checked out bikes and found something we liked. Panniers were next. I always take the largest of suitcases when I travel so committing to a 45 litre panniers was a big (or perhaps, little) commitment.
Fortunately, the internet is full of great resources. Seek, and ye shall find. What to pack? There is a list out there for that. Where to go? Where to stay? What sights to see? How big are the hills? What’s the weather forecast? It’s all there for the finding, but the choices can be overwhelming. Let the adventure begin!