Random Thoughts From Bordeaux: Ouefs, Uch, Volvic and High-Flying Dirt Bikes

OK, time to catch up and fill you in on what I’ve been doing here on my Bordeaux bike adventure.

Let’s start with the eggs (which came first, right?)…

In an earlier post I wrote about the great ouef disaster. This morning, at my hotel here in Lacanau-Ocean, there was a bowl of eggs. See…


What do you think?

I wasn’t taking any chances. I picked one up, very gently, put it on the table and spun it around … and it spun quickly. The sign of a hard-boiled egg. That was a relief.

Had two. On some bread with some cheese. It was fine, but I have to admit: I now prefer the soft-boiled eggs. The runny eggy messiness is hard to beat.


There was no laverie in Pauillac, where I stayed for four nights. Uh-oh … running low on everything. Had to give in and do a couple of loads of sink laundry. And hang everything in the bathtub to (hopefully) dry. Told you bungee cords are useful.


Here in Lacanau-Ocean, there’s a laverie … and I just got back from doing a load.

And, of course, I had a problem. Although it wasn’t a total laverie problem.

My rental bike comes with a lock, one with a key. One key. Lose the tiny key when my bike is locked to something and … problems. Big problems.

After today’s ride, I locked my bike in the garage … and put the key in one of the pockets of my bike jersey.

So, I’m at the laundry, a couple hours later, my clothes are washed and in the dryer, and I stopped the dryer to pull out a few of the things that were dry.

And saw my bike-lock key at the bottom of the dryer.

Holy crap … that was close. I came this close to finding out what to do if you lose your bike-lock key. How do you say bolt cutter in French?


Eventually, you need to add some air to your bike tires. It’s one of the laws of physics … and cycling … that things that go round and round for many miles eventually loose pressure. Miles + road (-) air = problems.

But here’s the problem: It’s really, really hard to pump those last 10 to 15 PSI of air into your tires with a mini pump. Pretty much impossible. And totally frustrating.

What to do?


In Langon, I went to the bike shop and bought a floor pump. A cheap, light and plastic one. It works just fine, and every two or three days I add a little air to my tires and get them back up to 100 or 105.

Having the pump is a big anxiety reducer.

The only issue is getting my leg up and over and around the pump and onto the pedal 25 times a day. It requires very flexible hips. Something I don’t have. Especially my right one.

Fruit & Veggies

It’s hard to eat healthy on a French bike trip. Breakfast is all yogurt, croissants and jelly. Sometimes eggs. And ham. And they don’t serve many veggies with dinner. Not sure why, they just don’t. Lots of meat and sauces. Not many veggies.

Have never seen broccoli in France. There may not even be a French word for it.

You gotta be creative and work at eating healthy. I’m trying. I get bananas and apples at the supermarket, which are the only things they seem to stock that look OK. Although lately, nectarines have appeared. I’m eating a lot of nectarines.

The after-the-ride snack is necessary, and even harder to make healthy. Chips, pretzels and Mars bars are the road to ruin. I’ve found a solution…


I’ve bought a few bags of carrots, as well as containers of grape tomatoes and, of course, apples, bananas and nectarines. And nuts. And lots of water. Gotta rehydrate.

The only problem with the carrots are the cute carrot guy on the package. Doesn’t feel right to eat him and his friends. Carrots have feelings.


It’s very important, perhaps even vital, to pick and stick with a brand of water. The one you select says a lot about you.

I’m a Volvic guy.



The “naturelle” part is the key for me. I prefer water with absolutely, positively no taste whatsoever. Just clean, pure water from deep beneath the surface. And Volvic comes the closest, in my opinion.

In a pinch, if Volvic isn’t available, I go with Vittel. Evian? Seems a little high brow.

Could I tell the difference between Volvic and Vittel in a blind taste test?

Would be fun to find out. Maybe when Susan gets here.

What’s in a name, of a town?

Some of the names of the towns and villages over here are quite interesting.

Here’s an example…


Have been looking for, but can’t find any wine from Chateau Uch.


The other day, I was riding through the beautiful Medoc vineyards and could hear, off in the distance, the annoyingly loud sound of motorcycles. They are so damn loud. And don’t get me started on scooters. There were lots of loud motorbikes. It got louder and louder and then, all of a sudden, a dirt bike went flying by me.

Way up in the air.

What the heck?


I had stumbled upon a dirt bike jumping course. Right by the edge of the D204 and only a couple of kilometers past Lafite Rothschild.

Younger Steve: “Wow, this is totally cool and amazing. I need to try this.”

Current Steve: “Wow, this is totally cool and amazing. I need to take a photo of this. I hope nobody gets hurt. It looks dangerous.”




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