Introduction - Its the Berrys! - CycleBlaze


Its been a long and fairly warm spring here in Burgundy, but I have been frustrated by health problems (a long bout of sinusitis) that have kept me indoors and off my bike for too long. Sue, my wife, is feeling the strain too, as she has tried to cope with my foul mood and grumbling. Even her usual method of cheering me up, cooking absolutely wonderful food and serving brilliant Burgundy wines has failed as my sinusitis has killed my senses of taste and smell. This has only deepened the funk I am caught in, so when at last my health started to improve, the weather looked fine, and, to make it all better, Sue suggested I go away for a few days on a bike tour, I couldn't have been readier. The main problem is to pick a place to go, not too far, but somewhere I haven't been before. A quick glane at the train schedules, with an eye on where they have been interuppted for works, gave me two or three choices in France. I chose the departments of the Cher and the Indre in the ancient Duchy of Berry for their level of difficulty (not too) scenic possibilities (castles, abbeys, Roman ruins) and availability of campgrounds, small hotels, and B-n-B's. So tomorrow, its off I go!

Those of you who know me know that I am an unabashed Francophile. Why? I can't really say, but there is something about this country that resonates in me. From the very first time I visited France, many years ago now, I knew I would be coming back, and not just to visit, but to immerse myself in the culture of this country, to be surrounded by French people, to try to understand what created this place that appears so magical to my eyes. I was fortuate in that my career as a geneticist, specifically in genetic theory and its application to agricultural problems, opened many doors. I suppose I could have chosen anywhere on the planet and I could have found work. As it was, a job came up in Dijon, capital of my favorite region of France, at a time when I could afford to move. Sue was able to stop working at her job (director of underwriting at a smallish health insurance company) and was fully supportive of the move, not to say enthusiastic to the point of pushing the idea, after her years of French language classes, French cooking classes, French wine classes, you get the idea. For two Americans France is still full of wonders. After thirty years on the prairies of Minnesota it came as a delightful surprise to live where a half hour drive takes one from the plain of the river Saone to the hills of the Haute Cotes, to the marvelous valley of the Auxois, three very different topographies, three different regions. And all of that is easily accesible by bicycle. So tomorrow, I'm off. To see more of this country, to stretch my legs, to enter into the land again, not quite as a native, but not a complete stranger either.

A note to the curious: I haven't been entirely idle during my convalescence. I took the enforced home stay to revamp the drive train of my touring bike with new cranks, chain rings, casette, chain, jockey wheels and bottom bracket. I even cleaned it up some, and built a new rear wheel. The changes have improved the performance of the machine remarkably. Today, I will sort my camping gear, pack and load the bike, study the train schedules again, and try not to push my impatience onto Sue. I am ready!

New drivetrain. I'm ready!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0