After going to bed late and having a bit of a hangover the next day Matt really didn’t feel well. Luckily we didn’t have to got too far but again there were a lot of hills. Matt and I decided to go and camp in the wild, Norbert wasn’t up for it so we parted ways for that night. We ended up driving past a farm and as the farmer just walked out we didn’t hesitate to ask him if we could pitch our tent on his land. He was very happy to let us stay on his farm and showed us where we could put up our tent. Later on the whole family came to greet us and were very friendly, they asked us about our trip and then showed us a tap where we could get water. (Thank you again if you’re reading this). I had difficulties falling asleep with all these new noises, there were lots of animals and insects moving around outside but we were safe in our tent, but it did creep us out a bit and I had to wake Matt up to check what the noise outside was as i thought something was going through our rubbish bag. In the end we both slept quite well.
The next day we left Fours and travelled to Nevers. This was about the same distance of 55 km. We met up with Norbert again and started driving along the river Loire, from now onwards we’ll ride along the Loire until we reach the coast. In the past few days I felt that my muscles around my knee hurt. I came to realise that uphill I was driving in too high gears so i had to push really hard. Now as I tried to keep to low gears when driving uphill I have no problems anymore with my muscles around my knee.
The camping in Nevers is well situated as it is just accross the bridge from the center of town, so we had the chance to easily get a pint last night. Today is a break day to buy necessary things and relax. We wanted to go skydiving but it was not possible until next week sadly. We have a tough day tomorrow and have to ride 100km which will probably end up being more, so its great that we have time today to re-stock our supplies, relax our muscles and re-organise our gear. Looking forward to a challenging day tomorrow.
We biked from Dole to Chalon-sur-Saone where we were once again mislead by google maps and had many diversions because of floodings in recent weeks. In the morning we had strong rain for an hour but soon after the sun was out and everything dried up quickly again. Along the way we listened to the Switzerland v Poland game on the radio which was great fun but sadly Switzerland lost. We arrived in Chalon around 18:30 and put up our tent at a nice camping area very close to the town. We had dinner and a couple beers at an Indian restaurant which was delicious. After dinner we rode through the town to have a look around and we both found it really beautiful and there was a lot of restaurants and bars around. We realised that you can see a town thoroughly and quickly when on your bikes, especially when they are not packed with 20 extra kilos. We headed back to camp and went to bed early.
The next day we set off to Etang sur Arroux. Before we left we bumped into Norbert, a nice German bike traveller who we had already met briefly the day before, he asked if he could join us and we of course said yes. He is very kind and shared a lot of his things with us. Norbert is 62 years old and a heavy smoker, but he has an electric bike so he had no problems keeping up, in fact he spent a lot of time waiting for us at the top of a hill, and there were a lot of hills that day. The weather was cool which was nice but it was very windy so it made pedalling really tough, the last 10 kilometers were extremly difficult, but again we had some unbelieveable views. We arrived at the camping site 15 minutes before they were serving dinner, so we quickly setup our tent and then had a feast. The camp is run by a nice Dutch couple and most of the campers were also Dutch, we found it to be a really beautiful, clean and confortable camp site. We went to bed and had a lot of laughs looking at our pictures and videos, Rafi had filmed me fixing my tire puncture and we saw how I dropped the metal tool into my tire.
The next morning we had a nice lie in, after we woke up we had a tea and Norbert bought us some chocolate croissants for breakfast. We got a lot done after that, we did all of our washing, fixed punctures and holes, mounted the kilometer counter to Rafis bike, cleaned our bags and reorganised our things. At 2 pm we had our canoe ride down the river which we had been looking forward to for a while. It was absolutely brilliant, for 3 hours we slowly paddled down the river and saw lots of wild life, we both really enjoyed the whole thing. While we waited to be picked up on the other end we got speaking to a really lovely young Dutch couple who had also just done the canoe ride. We got along really well and Bas was a bike enthusiast and asked us to show him our bikes when we got back to camp. I asked them if they knew anywhere close where I
could get a beer and watch the England match, they said there was no where but they had cold beers and we could join them for a few drinks, so I decided to skip the game as that sounded quite nice. They let us use their cooker as we were having troubles and then Bas fixed the gears on my bike and showed me how to remove a tire without using tools. We then had a great evening with them and laughed a lot. After a few beers and a bottle of wine we decided that we should go to bed as we had an early start the next day, although we would have loved to keep drinking with them. It was really a brilliant day all round.
We woke up later then we originaly wanted. We got our bikes ready to set off as Matt realised he had yet another flat tire as if yesterday wasn’t enough.
After fixing the fourth puncture we headed towards the center if Besancon where we looked around and treated ourselfes for a nice lunch. We followed google maps and we ended up wasting an hour an half through the hills of Besancon to find a road which didn’t even exist.
So we tried to find our way back to the Doubs river and to the Eurovelo 6.
Back on the right track after losing 1.5 hours we set off from Besacon and headed in 30 C heat towards Dole. We only got to the hotel at 8:15 so we quickly went to an asian restaurant nearby and went to bed straight away. The day after we spent walking around the lovely old town of Dole. We even were able to go up the church tower and had a lovely view from up there. This made my day.
We had a great nights sleep in our campsite and the sun was shining so we felt great. The day started with a downhill ride which was brilliant, just as I thought it was the perfect day I hit a huge pot hole and my front tire burst. I decided to replace the tire with a fresh one and fix the puncture later to save time. We lost one of the metal tools which you use to get the tire off but we assumed we packed it somewhere as we couldnt find it on the floor. We then set off and had a relaxing ride down the river and found some time to dip our feet into the water. Further on my new front tire burst, when I pulled the tire off the metal tool that we lost fell out, which was the cause of the puncture. We found the funny side, fixed the puncture and went on. I made the rookie mistake of not checking for other holes, and a minute later my tire went flat again, which we didn’t find as funny. After all that we lost a lot of time and just wanted to get to the camp. This camp was a massive disapointment, it was very muddy, noisey and expensive. We decided rather than spending our break day there, to stay only one night and drive to our next destination and have a break there. We ended the day with arguably the worst pizza we had ever eaten, hoping the next day would be more successful….it wasnt.
Yesterday started with one chocolate croissant, as the hostel didn’t have anything more whole grain to offer. We left 15min later than expected.
With loads of uphill as we where driving against the canals stream and wind in our faces I was strugling to find the pace. Also the backside was in great need of some seat cream.
We had mostly cloudy weather but towards the evening the sun came out, perfect for our first night camping. We got the tent up quickly but took an hour to get the stove working but once we got it going the food didn’t take long to cook. The risoto, beef steaks and salad were delicious. The camping site is really nice and quiet and has everything we needed and only cost 7 euros for the night. Next stop Besancon.
After a sunny rest day in Mulhouse where we did a bit of sight seeing we are now leaving. It is a nice little town where all the people are very welcoming and friendly. Today we are driving 65 km west towards Montbeliard.
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After a good nights sleep we started day 2 having to drive 93km instead of 42km due to our mistake from the day before. We set off at 10am and were greated by a huge hill which seemed to never end, it was a really tough start but we finally made it to the top and had lots of fun driving down the hill on the other side. We got to Basel at 5:30pm and checked our phones for a hostel in Mulhouse. We found somewhere and we expected to arrive by 8:30pm, we had a great ride and it was a great feeling to get into France, but it took us longer than expected and we only arrived at 10:30pm. Luckily there was an Irish pub just opposite our hostel so we headed straight there for some food and a couple pints, we even managed to watch the end of the Switzerland v France game, it was perfect after 12 hours on the road. Overall it was a good day and we were lucky that we had barely any rain. We are really happy that we are on schedule and we have a break day now to relax and recouperate.
We both didn’t sleep well in the past couple of nights and the night before we left we were packing things till late. So yesterday morning we felt tired and ended up leaving later than expected.
We had a nice ride along the limmat. Some places we had to cross underneath motorways, some paths were closed because of floodings and in one place we had to walk on an elevation and balance our bikes through so we wouldn’t fall into the water.
We got to Brugg fine without any map, just reading the sign posts. But then we took the right route but the wrong way. To be honest it was an easy mistake to make. So we rode 10km in the wrong direction until we found out that we had to go all the way back. When we got back to Brugg it was already around 7pm so we just looked for a cheap place to stay.
Now that we had a good night sleep we are ready for a longer day then originally planned. Instead of 45 km we got about 90 km and we hope to make it to Mulhouse by 6pm as Matt wants to watch the England game 😉
Yesterday, for the first time since we started thinking about and planning this trip I had this question in my head: “Why am I doing this?”
It was raining all day and after being outside for just a few minutes everything was soaked. I’m glad we invested in good rain gear, but when biking you sweat and get wet from inside as well. In addition I really don’t like to hold the handlebar with wet hands because I feel like my hands keep slipping off, and in general you just don’t have good grip when your hands are wet. Biking in continuos rain and then putting up a tent in rain doesn’t seem nice.
It seems like since summer started it has been raining most days. This is due to the increasing temperature of our planet leads to more water evaporating and more water comes down again as rain.
So I really hope that we won’t have much rain on our journey, because it makes it really uncomfortable to ride. Hopefully I wont have to ask myself the question “Why am I doing this?” again.
From our training trip we realised that it would be very useful to have a rearview mirror. When travelling together with another person you can check the mirror to see if they are still behind you rather than turning your head. Recently I was driving ahead of Matt and he slipped and fell of off his bike. I only realised a few hundred meters down the road that Matt wasn’t behind me, luckily he fell into deep grass and he wasn´t hurt.
But also when driving on busy roads a rearview mirror can be very useful and help you to be aware of cars or lorries coming fast from behind. Especially when tuning off the road a rear view mirror can be very helpful as you don’t have to turn around when looking back to see if you can go off the road. When riding recently I looked back to turn off a road and all of a sudden I realised that I was nearly driving into the curb, so they should also help to prevent accidents.