All good things... - Pedalling to the pictures - CycleBlaze

March 29, 2022

All good things...

Champdeniers to Niort

Last river crossing, and then it's the end
Heart 6 Comment 0

...MUST COME TO AN END.

  And so it was that we left the bed-and-breakfast in a torrent of conversation and rode the remaining stretch of the Francette back to Niort.

  No records were set, distances achieved. I speak not of borders crossed or mountains climbed. All we wanted was to get back into touring, to confirm that it could be enjoyable once more. And that much we have established, or I should say I have established because it was I who had begun to doubt it.

  I still feel guilty about the motor. I still won't put it on anything but the lowest setting and I plan to lower even that. I want to remain a cyclist, not become a motorcyclist. I want to enjoy or at any rate challenge myself when the terrain turns three-dimensional; I want that sense of achievement that comes from being proud and tired at the end of a day. And that much I feel I have achieved. I have, as was promised, refound the legs I had 20 years ago, the innards I had before heart valves began their mischief.

  The next test is to carry full camping gear. I don't know when that will be. It says something that I want it to be straight away. But as I gaze out the window at southern France, the trees are bending to a 70kmh wind and the air threatens to bring the flakes of snow that startled us yesterday. This isn't the time to go cycle-camping. Not if you have any say in the matter.

  I won't promise you that I'll chart the next ride as I've recorded this one. For me, at any rate, this tour was significant. The next will be no more than an experiment.

  But I leave you with a gentle message. And it's this: if ever you feel that touring has become a struggle, an unreasonable and unenjoyable challenge, don't hesitate... fit a motor. One day, like me, you will no longer be ashamed that you did.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 11
Comment on this entry Comment 9
Keith AdamsThanks for sharing your journey. May you enjoy many, many more.
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3 months ago
Scott AndersonI’m so pleased for you for taking this step Leo, and for us for letting us tag along. And you’re right about the weather - it’s fearsome down here in Narbonne today also and we’re grateful for the SNCF.
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3 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltSuch a wonderful tapestry of prose. Thanks for lighting up my mornings.

I look forward to more magnificent memoirs.
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3 months ago
Andrea BrownIt's always such a pleasure to travel with you, Leo. I'd come along to the hardware store if you described it the way you describe these quiet back roads and the people who live there. Carry on any old way you want.
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3 months ago
Mark BinghamAs always, your elegance in describing the mundane endows so much meaning to simple events that I truly believe you could make a trip to the toilet and back sound like a visit to the Sistine Chapel. (for the record, I'd love to see you write about that toilet visit at some point)

If you start touring on a Ducati, I'd vote for calling it cyclotouring just so you'll keep writing.  Thanks for sharing, not just your trip, but your feelings about an issue that we all have the potential need to address.
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3 months ago
Rich FrasierAh, to read your writing again. It was worth the wait! Please don't wait so long before the next installment.
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3 months ago
Leo WoodlandThanks, Rich. That means a lot
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3 months ago
Leo WoodlandTo Mark BinghamIf ever I write of a toilet visit, I promise to let you know. Thanks, Mark!
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3 months ago
Mark BinghamTo Leo WoodlandConsider it a literary challenge for us. 😊
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3 months ago