Yesterday, as we made our way to New Zealand to escape the Canadian winter, I flipped through the list of inflight entertainment and noticed a film, Le Ride, the cover art depicting cyclists juxtaposed against the Eiffel Tower.
Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions. I do. Mine aren’t all that original. They include the typical things like going to the gym, eating healthy, being more patient with other people and making my bed every day. I could pretty much take last year’s list and change the date and I would be good to go for 2017. It’s not that I don’t accomplish the things on my list, it’s just that they are hard things for me and I find that year after year, I have to keep working on them. If I don’t include them as part of my resolutions again then I might not be inspired or reminded to do them.
I have this weird little thing. Well, really I have a few weird little things but I only want to talk about one of them today.
Most of us have a junk drawer in our kitchen that accumulates all the bits and pieces of our lives that don’t fit anywhere else; the scissors and tape, the paper clips, the loose change, the Chapstick, the button to some unknown shirt, the key to some unknown lock, a single shoe lace and the flashlight without a battery. I have a drawer like this and I have cupboard like this, too, with cups full of foreign coins from countries I may visit again, eye glasses with out-of-date prescriptions, all the takeout menus I’ll ever need, and my Hello Kitty Pez dispenser which is just too cute to throw away.
Okay. I confess. I’m a cat person. I also, of course, love riding my bike but I never imagined that these two passions could overlap, but apparently they can.
Today was a special Mother’s Day for me, the first since my mom passed away this winter at 91. This post is dedicated to my memories of her.
For those of you who know me, I expect that you think I am pretty organized and like to get things done. But really, I harbor the soul of a procrastinator. I am great at making to do lists but those undesirable or difficult tasks can sit on the list for months on end before I finally chastise myself and do them. Since we have been home from France, I have intended to write one last post where I considered the trip as a whole, rather than each day or each place as a separate theme. We have been home for two months now, and as the New Year approaches, I finally have the time and more importantly, the inspiration to sit down and write.
The most common comment I hear from people who have read my blog on our France trip is that they can’t imagine how much work it was to write the blog at the end of a long cycling day. While that was true, I am more amazed at how impossible it has been, since I got home, to write some concluding remarks.
When we were in France, some days it was so easy to write a post. I was brimming with enthusiasm about the day and the words flowed effortlessly. Other days, it took some time for an idea to crystallize before I knew what I wanted to write. It’s amazing how, on returning from a holiday, daily life rushes back in and consumes one’s time. Depending on our lives, we become consumed with children or aging parents, or both, our jobs, or social commitments. Time wanders on and before we know it, our holidays, even the best of them, become less vivid in our memory.
So after two months of procrastination, here I go…….
We are on the train today, from St. Emilion to Nimes, to start our exploration of Provence. Half way along the route, we are stopped in Toulouse because, further along the route, a train bridge over a river is stuck open. We hear rumors of how long it will take to fix. Perhaps, it will take up to six hours. The train conductor is not very helpful. He speaks little English and suggests, mimicking the motion, that we could ride our bikes instead of waiting for the train.
Like most kids growing up in the 60s, I loved to ride my bike. It was the freedom to move. To travel unencumbered in the world. To see new places, away from the watchful eyes of our parents.
The single most important thing to bear in mind when packing for a self-supported cycling trip is that whatever you pack, you must pedal!