Back on the Bike: The Bordeaux Loop

I have to admit: I’ve been feeling a bit out of sorts since I got to France. Anxious, jet lagged and sleep deprived, missing Susan, wondering what the heck I’m doing here.

And then, well, I went on a ride today, my first on this trip, and I feel so much better. I remembered why I’m here and why I love biking in France … and, to be honest, this wasn’t even a great ride. Just a good ride. But sometimes good is good enough. And the better and best is yet to come.

So, here we go, my day in photos (and pithy captions)…

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Picked up my rental bike, a Cube, at 10:30 in front of one of the many ibis hotels by the train station. I think there are four … I’m at the ibis Styles (a bit of a misnomer, but it’s OK). There were also two Irish women (lasses?) picking up their bikes from 02Cycles and we chatted a bit. They’re headed to Agen. I think. The guy from 02 showed them the tools to fix a flat … and they sort of looked at each other, then the guy … and said they have no idea how to fix a flat. Uh-oh. Hopefully the luck of the Irish holds true for cycling.
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Bordeaux is a big city. A really big city. But it’s very, very bike friendly. There are bike lanes everywhere and lots of signs. I was looking for, and found, the sign for Sauveterre and the Roger Lapebie bike path, which takes you all the way to Sauveterre, which is 46 kilometers (about 28 miles) from Bordeaux. I was only going as far as La Sauve-Majeure, where there are the ruins of a big, old abby. Then back the way I came … a sort of test ride to check out the bike. The photo above is the bridge over the Garonne River. There’s another bridge right near the train station and my hotel, but the 02 guy said the train station bridge is “shit” and this one (above) in the middle of town is “beautiful.” He was right. Huge bike lane. 
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Here’s the map of the Roger Lapebie bike path. Who the heck is this Roger Lapebie? Well…
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He won the Tour de France in 1937. When you win the Tour de France, they name stuff after you … especially in the region where you are born. Unfortunately, a French rider hasn’t won the Tour de France since the mid-1980s. And they’re sure as heck not gonna name stuff after Lance or Floyd around here.
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Here’s one of the more scenic stretches of the path. Lots of forests, a few farms and a couple of vineyards. You don’t actually go through any towns/villages, but there are several a kilometer or so away, just off the path.
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Got to the abby, locked up my bike and started walking toward the entrance when … two cyclists started speaking to me in French. I kept nodding and saying “oui.” I’m pretty sure the guy was telling me the abby was ferme (closed) and wouldn’t open again until 14 heures (2 PM). Darn, it was 12:15, so I started heading back to Bordeaux.
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Saw these two guys laying down new bike/walk lanes signs. There’s fire shooting out the end of their fire hoses to seal in the paint for all of eternity.
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Back in my ibis hotel room, where there is a strange green tint … and my bike is taking a well-deserved nap. Think I’ll join him (her?) and take a quick nap if the glare from all this green doesn’t keep me awake.

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