Cycling the Loire a Velo


Don and I bid our farewells after spending a day exploring Sully and enjoying yet another nice castle. The French do like their castles.  Don was carrying on West and I intended to stay put!  Time to be a big nerd.  I was so close to getting a draft done of my dissertation, I just needed to it.  It was starting to weigh on me.  After 3 full days of writing (which included a lot of time at McDonalds) and not talking to anyone, I got a flipping draft done!! Yee ha!! …and I was starting to go a bit stir crazy), so I really wanted to ride the next day despite the call for rain.


I waited until 1:00 p.m. for the rain to stop and to begin the day’s ride.  In to town for a coffee with a local pooch, and then I was off from Sully.  I decided I would give the this European planned bicycle route, Loire a Velo, a try. Holy easy cycling…easy to find the routes, easy to find camping, easy flat bicycling…my only complaint is that it is perhaps too easy. Ha! For my thrill seeking side, I was left wanting. However, just as I was feeling bored going across more farm land that seriously looks like Ohio, then some nifty twist would be interjected -like a castle, or 14th century canal, or rain! The path its self also proved interesting. I rode on everything from designated asphalt paths, to dirt trails, to grass paths, to roads.

 The sky looked threatening all day, but held off opening up until about 5 p.m.  Perfect timing as I had just rolled into a super cute town of Briare, known for boat trips on the canals…hmm boat and bike…I like that thought.  I prolonged my tasty sandwich and Coke in a Greek restaurant for about an hour as it poured down.  It lightened up and I was off, and then the rain stopped and I enjoyed another 2 hours of cycling and passed two campgrounds, but I was not ready to be done riding for the day.  Again the route was rather flat and ting boring, and I was hot…so I was sort of open to getting caught in some rain.  Oh boy, be careful what you ask for.  I forgot that with rain comes wind and that rather uncomfortable pelting feeling.  After about an hour or so, it was getting dark and I was getting cold.  Having no idea where the next campground might be, I began looking for a pull off.  Sure enough…easy breezy (as my friend Karin would say) I found a path off the main cycle path and next to a pond (complete with a cute frog to kept watch outside my tent…see pic). Done!  All told about 6 hours on Steel.  He was thankful for the exercise too.


So one thing I’m struggling with is not being able to chitchat with people.  People try to chat with me, but most locals’ English is not good, and my French is almost non-existant.  With my dissertation about behind me, I’m back to thinking about how to connect with locals.  Sure I can connect with English speaking foreigners, but I want to get to know locals.  I’m going to try and explore some collaborative art ideas…let’s see if art really can transcend international barriers.


Okay one more side note…I love European campgrounds, in particular because the showers always have squeegies!  After the bicycle flag revolution, I think a squeegy revolution is in order.  It’s just so easy to do, and then you never have muddy showers to contend with!  Why don’t we do this in the US? …ah, like so many things in life…it’s the little things!  

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