Cute Matching Luggage, Stormy Weather & Arnaud

Ribs

Can you see my ribs yet?

Our Saturday arrival in Nevers, the final day of cycle touring for us, came after a longer than average day of pedaling. Most days we ride about 50km, but we ended up just topping 80km for the day. Not a terribly long day, but the wind was relentlessly in our faces. For long stretches we pedaled on exposed levees that forced us to work harder than we’ve had to since the first couple of hilly days to start the trip. It was fortunate that the day was overcast, that and the cooling by-product of the wind- a big departure from the 35C heat we’ve been cycling in. We rolled into Nevers late in the afternoon and with a few questions to locals located the campground.

Arriving in camp usually means thinking about dinner, but the final day of cycling meant we had some “things” to take care of. 1) Sell two well used bicycles, and, 2) Buy some luggage to transport our gear back home. And, being Saturday, everything would be closed the next day so we had to get on it before the stores closed. After quickly putting up the tent and stowing our bags, we spent the next two hours pedaling trying to take care of business. Between the bike shop where the guy was rude and couldn’t be bothered by a two smelly and sweaty cyclists who were trying to pass off a couple of obviously stolen bikes, to the pawn shop where they only buy things on Tuesday, we struck out on selling bikes that evening.

On to the “hypermarchee” for luggage. While at the “hypermarchee” picking out cute matching luggage, the storm that

Cute Matching Luggage

Finding luggage that meets our high esthetic and capacity expectations was a surprisingly easy proposition.

was signaled by the headwind earlier in the day finally blew in. And blow in it did! Thunder! Lightning! BIG winds! Tree branches broken! Sheets of water pelting everything sideways! That kind of BIG STORM! It hit our camp hard. In our absence, the tent was rescued by the campground host and a couple of campers. We were given a night in one of the little two bedroom mobile homes to dry out, which we shared with Arnaud, a Dutchman whose tent was ruined and gear drenched during the storm.

BarbieBrooks

The Dirty Girl and my trusty Brooks saddle waiting to be packed away.

Before us stretched a relax day. We needed to do laundry, remove our personal gear from the bikes, see the city, pack our gear and sell the bikes. Signs on our bikes advertising to the local traffic and lots of conversation with our Dutch housemate a burger in the city and readying for our train trip south, it was an easy day. Dinner rolled around and with no luck selling the bikes, we arranged for them to go to the campground host who gave us the cabin, then finished packing, had a meal cooked by Arnaud and finally settled in to sleep, completely ready for the coming morning’s taxi ride to the train station.

Dinner with Arnaud

Arnaud was a good cook, and we had lots of conversation on politics and culture.

Fast forward to 6:00am- make coffee, have a shower, and Arnaud drinking wine on the porch. Huh, what’s up Arnaud? Seems that sometime during the night his bicycle was stolen, and that’s not all- they stole ours too! Of course, we’re finished with ours, but Arnaud has to pick up the pieces today and try to get back on track. Good Luck Arnaud. We know you’ll turn it around.

Cycling France has been a remarkable experience. The cycling has been out of this world. With the exception of a bicycle thief, the people have been more than friendly. This part of the trip has been better than I hoped for in all regards. So, goodbye France and cycling. I’ll see you again, but for now I’m going back to Barcelona…

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