Learning (and Failing) French - The Long Journey East - CycleBlaze

July 12, 2022 to July 13, 2022

Learning (and Failing) French

I slept in fairly late today which was a mistake as it was already nearing 30 degrees when I started riding. I managed ok in the heat though and I'm sure I'll eventually acclimatise to it, just had to take it slow and keep stopping in the shade.

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I learnt the phrase "Puis-je avoir de l'eau s'il vous plaît" (can I have water please), which I proceeded to completely butcher when asking at a cafe, resorting to pointing at my water bottles. Needs more practice...

It was a very leisurely ride along the cycle path by the river, shaded by the trees. This soon changed when I thought would be a good idea to take a shortcut via the main road not realising it was rush hour. I must have stopped at 10+ lights. Was a massive relief to get onto the tranquil cycle path after the 2 hour detour.

Very happy to find 50m+ of Redcurrant bushes by the side of the road
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Easy cycling along the canal path
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I came across a river in a public park near the town, i didn't really care when I stripped off to my undies and started washing in it and cooling off. It felt so refreshing after a long day, a passing dog clearly thought so too when he decided to join in.

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Made camp in a nearby forest which was hard work getting the bike though with the humidity but found a peaceful spot and got away from the mosquitoes in the tent

The next day I woke up at 6 to beat the afternoon sun. On my way out of the forest I noticed that I had a flat rear tyre and a broken spoke. Still not sure how either happened. Luckily it wasn't the drive side spoke as it would have been a tricky job removing the cassette without the proper tools. After replacing the spoke and inner tube I noticed the inner tube was caught between the tyre and rim, later finding out this punctured it and needed repairing too. Over an hour had passed and i didn't feel it was the best start to the day and got pretty tuckered out having to pump up the tube 4 times. I also felt a bit worried having a broken spoke on the 3rd day on pretty easy terrain, hopefully the rest will hold up as I didn't bring many spares.

A second puncture calls for a second breakfast
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Rode on though the beautiful French countryside until reaching a Cambria where I stopped to explore and find some lunch (time to practice my French again). I found a nice spot and got to choose 8 different toppings in my bowl, having no idea what half of the options where I chose whatever I could guess the English translation for (who'd have thought that spicy mayo is the exact same word in French??). 

After a 3+ hour siesta in the shade, I started again in the heat and carried on though some lovely gravel tracks until reaching a town where I could refill my water for camp at a pizza shop. Had a conversation with the owner though Google translate and he even gave me some ice!

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Found a peaceful spot to camp and cook up some fresh food. As I was trying to sleep I heard tones of fireworks in the nearby town, I wondered what they were celebrating. I later found out that it was Bastille Day, a huge national holiday in France.

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Today's ride: 210 km (130 miles)
Total: 240 km (149 miles)

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Sandrine OakesKeep practising 'ton fran├žais '...the local will appreciate & help you out.
Bon voyage...looking forward to reading your blog.
Sandrine
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