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Old 05-27-08, 11:56 PM   #1
jeffieh
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French mini-tour - PICKIES

Hi Touring forum.
I usuallly hang out in Classic and Vintage, but this is special.

Thought you might like to see some recent holiday snaps.

Rode from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport to St Jean de Losne (30km south of Dijon) last week. Took six days to 450km. Plenty of saddle time, not too many hills. I free-camped along the way, feeding myself from cafes, boulangeries and supermarkets.

I arrived on 29 hour flight from NZ at 7am, with the old trusty Raleigh in a box. Once assembled, riding out of CDG1 was a mission. There's kinda no way out for bikes, but I made a route by following my nose south. The ride took me down to the Ourcq canal, through Meaux, Troyes and ESE to Chaumont. From there I followed the canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne (aka canal de la marne a la saone) south to Pontailler. The canal rides were fantastic.

The roads were mostly very scenic and empty, and the French drivers (esp the truckies) were ALL well mannered and considerate. Not a single traffic scrape. Got a few flatties on the canal towpaths, but that's all part of the fun.

Believe all the good things you hear about cycling in France. Don't be afraid to try it: just make sure you pack some willingness to speak French (bad french, ANY french will do).

Bonne route

Jeff
Attached Images
File Type: jpg cdg.jpg (97.3 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg meaux.jpg (96.6 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg rest.jpg (98.1 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg baguette.jpg (95.7 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg langres.jpg (97.6 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg canal1.jpg (96.9 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg canal2.jpg (97.5 KB, 28 views)
File Type: jpg canal3.jpg (97.6 KB, 35 views)
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Old 05-28-08, 01:34 AM   #2
doraemonkey
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Awesome! You came all the way from NZ just to ride to Dijon? You're going farther than that aren't you? Why Dijon, and not the Loire Valley, or some other region? Glad to see that your time here was so well spent. Did you cycle alone or did you cross paths with other cyclists or locals?

I see you must have picked up a 'two second' tent at a Decathelon store. Way convenient to unfold, but I hear that they are a pain to fold back into place. What is interesting to me is seeing that you were able to integrate the tent well into your racks and paniers. Since it is a wide disk, I figured that it wouldn't go well on the racks. For now I have a tent that folds into a nice tube shape that fits snugly into a panier.

By the way, you seem quite loaded up there, what did you bring along to fit into all those bags?

Anyway, I hope to do what you did but in NZ... One of my dreams is to circumscribe the two islands. One day... How is the traffic and the roads in NZ? Do people give way to cyclists? Are there a lots of tourers?
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Old 05-28-08, 01:45 AM   #3
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>Why Dijon, and not the Loire Valley, or some other region?

I was wondering that too. I've bike toured the Loire Valley twice, and if I was doing another bike tour in France, good lord I'd be tempted to do it again But if not, probably Provence. But then again, there's hardly a spot in France that *wouldn't* be nice...

Steve
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Old 05-28-08, 02:12 PM   #4
jeffieh
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Originally Posted by doraemonkey View Post
Awesome! You came all the way from NZ just to ride to Dijon? You're going farther than that aren't you? Why Dijon, and not the Loire Valley, or some other region? Glad to see that your time here was so well spent. Did you cycle alone or did you cross paths with other cyclists or locals?

I see you must have picked up a 'two second' tent at a Decathelon store. Way convenient to unfold, but I hear that they are a pain to fold back into place. What is interesting to me is seeing that you were able to integrate the tent well into your racks and paniers. Since it is a wide disk, I figured that it wouldn't go well on the racks. For now I have a tent that folds into a nice tube shape that fits snugly into a panier.

By the way, you seem quite loaded up there, what did you bring along to fit into all those bags?

Anyway, I hope to do what you did but in NZ... One of my dreams is to circumscribe the two islands. One day... How is the traffic and the roads in NZ? Do people give way to cyclists? Are there a lots of tourers?
All good questions. Let me explain. We have a river/canal boat that lives in France, in St Jean de Losne, 30km south of Dijon. Each French summer we spend a few months cruising the inland waterways. Normally I arrive with the family, we rent a car and drive from the airport. This time I'm an advance party of one. What with all the classic 80s lightweight steel bikes hanging in the garage, and my desire for a bit of adventure, the cycling trip just seemed to fall into place. Now the Raleigh will be my boat bike, which is cool because we do lots of cycling over here (no car, eh).

Yup, that's a Decathlon 1 second tent. By the time I'd packed the bike, thermarest and panniers into a box, I'd pretty much used up my luggage allowance. So i just stopped at the first Decathlon on my route, in Meaux, and bought a tent, sleeping bag, some t shirts, cycle shorts and a couple of 700x28 michelin tyres.

The 1 second tent was a real pain to repack until I, err umm, actually followed the instructions. From there on, it was curiously - and almost annoyingly - easy. It was the best tent for me because it was dirt cheap (under 30E I think) and it packed to 55cm diameter, which fitted flat on the top of my rear rack.

The black rubbish sack on top of the tent contained my sleeping bag and thermarest.

The bike was heavy up front, and a bit wobbly out the back, and very heavy to get rolling, but that''s all part of the fun isn't it? Reckon the whole shebang weighed 45-ish kg.

The rest of the luggage in the panniers is a whisperlite international stove, clothing brought in my carry-on, my iBook (yeah, I know...), and food and liquid (available locally ;-]) )

No, I didn't see another cycle tourist on my travels. To be fair, it's probably a wee bit early in the season (squally showers, nor easterly winds).

As for cycling in NZ, it would be fun I guess. Our drivers are crap, but with the bit of research on forums like this, you should be able to glean the safe (ie quiet) routes from other cycle tourists.

Cheers - Jeff
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Old 05-28-08, 02:25 PM   #5
bwgride
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Great trip, nice pictures, good fun. Thanks for sharing with us.
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