From Nimes to Millau - From Munich to Spain to France - CycleBlaze

May 1, 2024

From Nimes to Millau

Again by Train (Sigh)

First, thanks for everyone who read our journal and checked in on me re: my stupid fall. I am a timid rider, and the noise of the motorbikes distracted me from paying  attention.   Good news, however.   After a day off the bike I feel much less banged up and hopeful my knee isn’t going to be a problem. (It’s been a mild but chronic issue since I twisted it a few years ago. I thought I had strengthened it up this season but I recently tweaked it skiing. Anyway, hopefully you will not hear anymore about it!)

So yesterday we had to depart our very nice inn in the dark and rain to make the 6:35 am train. Jean-Luc baked up both regular and chocolate  scones and coffee/tea and then delivered a picnic pack to us which wound up serving as our lunch later. Although the Nimes Center station was only 1 mile away from our inn  — and we had done the ride before —we got lost and took a laughably roundabout way to the station; something to do with one-way streets, I think. We had a one-hour train ride to Beziers and the loading/unloading worked well, given the train was at the track well in advance of the departure time and there were no other bikes. Dave hangs the bikes when that is required;  I could never do it on my own as they are too heavy.  There was hardly anybody else on the train. It’s a holiday here, Labor Day, so that might have had something to do with it. (Trivia bit: May 1st, Labor Day in France, is the only day of the year an employer cannot refuse the day off to a worker.)

Ours were the only 2 bikes onboard our first leg, which eased the bike hanging process considerably.
Heart 2 Comment 0

We detrained at Beziers where we had a 2 hour, more or less, miserable wait in the rain at a small station.  With the exception of the main track A, tracks at this station are grouped in pairs and we alit on Track(s) B&C. This was a station that did not have lifts, nor did the annunciator immediately post the departing track number for our next departure. The upshot of that was that we had to wait at track B/C (outside) with our bikes until we were assigned a departing platform which only happened 10 minutes before departure.  If our next train had left from either the main track A or from either track D or E, we would have had to schlep our bikes and gear down the stairs, remove the panniers and batteries and clamber up the appropriate staircase, reassemble things before the train arrived. We were very relieved to learn that we would leave from track C - which did not require us to go through that hassle.

The long cold wait was also ameliorated by meeting Christina and Harold, a Swiss couple from Basel who were cycle touring around on road bikes. They were waiting for the same train we were. They oozed cycling competency which indeed was shown when Christina handled the bike mounting duties on our train to Millau for 6 bikes in 6 slots. She also offered up some bike mounting tips, which seemed very useful at the time, but which now I seem to have forgotten. (Hopefully Dave remembers them). I was pretty impressed watching her take her bike down on the moving train and pull her panniers off the shelf and attach them on her bike with one hand. 

The retired Swiss couple, Christina & Harold.
Heart 3 Comment 0

We arrived at Millau to a “manifestation” of French folk protesting something (we think it was the raised pension age, a lingering issue from last year) and constant rain.  We had already decided we would not ride today, between the unrelenting rain and the niggle in my knee.  We rode to our Ibis where we had a reservation for the following night and asked if we could get the room a day earlier. Simon at the front desk couldn’t have been nicer and even upgraded us to a corner room with a balcony.  The balcony was more or less a waste in weather like this but the room was much larger than the typical Ibis room which is pretty nice when you are staying more than one night.  They don’t have much business right now.

This march started at the train station and delayed our departure to our hotel.
Heart 1 Comment 0

We hunkered down in our big room, ate our picnic lunch packed by Jean-Luc and generally had a nice afternoon, not tempted to go out and explore in the bad weather. Later Dave worked with the receptionist downstairs to book a table for dinner and we had a relaxed casual dinner at a local place where we were the only customers. They locked up and left after we paid “l’addition.”

It’s hard not to like France. Everything works well (not quite as well as Germany/Austria but better than Italy);  people are law-abiding enough and stop for cyclists; and things are just pretty reasonably priced. The food quality is so good, even for simple foods in casual places. Add that all up with the beautiful language and charm and style that French people exude, and yeah, its hard not to like France!

Holding up in our rather spacious Ibis hotel room waiting for Godot or good weather, whichever comes first.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Today's ride: 1 km (1 miles)
Total: 122 km (76 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 6
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Allyson KruegerI’m enjoying your blog and now can’t wait to get back to France! Jill, I hope your knee is feeling better. Enjoy and be safe!
Reply to this comment
2 weeks ago