Doing the Doubs - Jimmy Carter thinks I'm a sinner - CycleBlaze

April 10, 2007

Doing the Doubs

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This morning I leave Dijon by, I hope, the canal that leads to Dole. I like Dole: we went there a year or two ago on the ride to the Semaine Fédérale in the Alsace; it's a town of manageable size that's full of richly tiled roofs and spires, a fad of the Duke of Burgundy who also owned Belgium at the time and either stole the idea from there or took it there, I forget which.

Dole is at the foot of the Doubs valley, pronounced "do" rather than "doob", and a genially pleasant road beside the river almost all the way to Besançon. On the way to the Sem Fed, we stopped at a café where the owner, after explaining his enthusiasm for the politics of Lionel Jospin (the socialist prime minister ousted by tactical voting at the previous election), said he expected to see many more cyclists because the road outside his bar was to be "part of a cycling route to Poland".

Well, Poland was a bit out of the way and the first cyclists he had seen were, like me, headed for Austria and Hungary rather than Warsaw, but he had the principle right.

After Besançon, I go on to Mulhouse, next to where that Sem Fed was held and about where France, Germany and Switzerland all meet. There, on Thursday morning, I will meet Steph. She is taking the night sleeper from Agen and, if both of us are fresh enough (she after a poor night's sleep and I because I won't have had a rest in 12 days), we shall search out maps for Switzerland and cross the border. For her, it will be the start of the ride; for me it will be the end of the first country and the start of the rest.

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