Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day 16 - France cycling trip: Margaux - Biganos

It's getting hot! At some point, my weather widget indicated 29 Celsius / 84 Fahrenheit. I was wearing pants and a sweatshirt, so I was pretty hot. I was guzzling water.

Today wasn't exactly what I expected. On every map of France that I've seen, this area (Aquitaine) has always appeared as green. So, I had visions of forests everywhere, similar to the Chef-Boutonne forest I went through on day 14.

In reality, the roads were a mix: some of the typical roads in the country, surrounded by fields, some small roads going through villages, some high traffic departmental roads with bike lanes (some bike lanes were essentially a big shoulder of the road and some were completely isolated from traffic.)

At some point, I decided to venture off looking for Bois Lubec. Google maps walking directions suggested a road which did not even exist on my Garmin gps. As I approached this road, I thought my Garmin might be thinking it was in a twilight zone episode, where it being transported on this non existent road might result in it traveling to another dimension.  I reassured it that Google maps must know what it was doing.

It turns out I probably should have listened to my Garmin. This road was walkable, but not at all bikeable. It was mostly sand with some patches of grass and twigs. It had very few trees on the side, so little protection from the sun around 2pm. With the sand and incessant scorching heat, I began to wonder if I was in the desert instead of the forest. Needless to say, as soon as I saw a paved road, I happily took it and pedaled away to civilization again, abandoning my plans to visit Bois Lubec. I then apologized to my Garmin for not trusting it.

The roads today have been very flat compared to most of the trip so far. This monotony is actually quite welcome :-) I am pretty sure I will have quite a bit of climbing to do in a couple of days, so I'm enjoying the flat roads for now.

As for food : today being Sunday, not much was open. I actually made a couple km detour to have McDonald's at lunch. For dinner,  I walked about 2km in search of a Flunch which I never found, then found some fast food joint where I ordered a burger to go. I picked up a muffin at a bakery to complete the meal, and ate in the hotel room. In the last two days, I've had three burgers and one pizza. Burp.


  1. Hi, Carmen:
    Some of this bike roads are just beautiful, and they make me feel envious.
    I see what I believe is the sandy road. Terrible. But, well, you can't complaint. Overall, you have very nice roads to go.
    A hamburguer and a muffin don't seem enough to recover after so many kms. Well, I suppose you have been filling up with snacks during the day.
    Only three more days.
    Cheer up. You've almost got it.

    1. Not just a hamburger and a muffin :a hamburger and a muffin and fries!

      But yeah I do have some snacks. But today I was more thirsty than anything.

  2. There are bikes (called fatbikes) that would float through that sand with no problem, but you probably wouldn't want to take them on tour. They have very big tires for snow, sand, any kind of loose surface. My problem with the sun is not putting on sunscreen soon enough. I'm not really fond of the stuff, but when you are out there all day long, it's pretty reckless not wear it. Hope you get perfect weather for the rest of the trip. Not too hot. Not too cold.

    1. I've seen people with normal bikes riding through snow, but I've never tried it myself. If it snows, I leave the bike home :-) I guess you can't get very far too fast with a fat bike. Though on a paved road, I wouldn't be surprised to see someone on a fat bike pass me :-) People using the crappy Velib bikes in Paris pass me all the time :-)

      I have some sunscreen that is less disgusting than the typical white gooey stuff. It has a texture like makeup with a slight brown tint that makes me look like I have a creepy fake tan. It's 50spf. But it's a small bottle. So I only put it on my face, which is one reason I was wearing long sleeves. I think today should have a few more clouds in the sky which should mean cooler temps.

  3. Btw, do the people in Biganos really have big noses?