Day 60, Lyon, 5.228 km
It’s over, my pneumatic immunity is gone… The question often came up during conversations on the road: “What about incidents? – I was really lucky so far, just a spoke to change and some worn brake pads – Not a single flat tire? – Not one !” When I arrive at Coco and Morgane’s, same conversation while sipping a beer: “No flat tires in more than 5,000 km, not bad!”. We decide to go for a bike ride in the Beaujolais hills before a little picnic on the banks of the Saône, and full of confidence, I say: “I’m not going to take the repair stuff, if I have not had a flat tire for 5,000 km it’s not now that it’s going to happen …” I take the bike to leave and I realize that the front tire makes a strange noise. And it looks weird too. After a thorough analysis, it turns out that it is quite simply flat… Luckily it happens now and not at the top of a pass, under the snow … In short, the first flat tire after 2 months and 5,000 km, let’s hope that the next one will wait at least as long to come!!
You are probably thinking that I am going a little too far for a flat tire (in addition, it was really a mini-hole (to be pronounced with a high-pitched voice, I still specify it, but I hope you are learning), easy to repair, really nothing so dramatic), but in terms of cycling it is one of the rare significant events of the last few days… From Clermont, nothing out of the ordinary. Passage through Thiers, a town built on a hill, which means that between the bottom and the top of the town there is at least THOUSAND meters of elevation (and I am hardly exaggerating). Knowing that the city itself is not very big… I pass the 5,000 kilometer without even noticing it, we will celebrate at the next thousand… The road rises a little, a lot even and when I start the high percentages my GPS recommends me to go into the forest. Bad idea: dirt road, full of stones, slippery. I have to push Jay for a good part of the way. I call for help but no one comes … Luckily it doesn’t last too long…
I also find again the Loire, which has grown considerably since the Ardèche. Unfortunately, it is not yet bordered by a beautiful cycle path and I have to go back to the departmental road. I take a little break in the “charming” town of Balbigny (charming is to be understood as irony, I do not recommend a weekend in Balbigny to anyone), and I realize that at the speed at which I am currently riding, I won’t even have 20 kilometers to go the next day. I see a small lake a little further up north and tell myself that it would make a nice stopover in the late morning the next day. I find a little corner in the forest that is kind of flat to pitch my tent and I call it a day. The next morning is sunny, and I am at the edge of Lac des Sapins around noon for a short swim and a lunch break. What’s more to ask!!
I only have about thirty kilometers left to travel in the Beaujolais hills to reach Coco and Morgane’s place. The road is nice, bordered by vineyards, not too busy, still sunny. I also cross several villages with pretty stone houses characteristic of the region: the golden stones. The welcome on arrival is royal: a good shower, a burger, beers, amazing! The next day Jay makes a nice encounter while we prepare for the ride with Coco: a short ride in the hills then down to the Saône before following it for a few kilometers to join Morgane and other friends for a picnic. Two culinary orgies later, I head to Lyon on Sunday afternoon. I go along the Saône and the closer I get to the city, the more I see jet skis, boats, bars and canoe or paddle stands… Unfortunately to the detriment of nature … I climb the Croix Rousse hill to join the Rhône, and after a short break in the Par de la Tête d’Or I find Louis, Christelle and Sandrine. Less cycling but more friends and family! Departure Wednesday for the next stage: Grenoble then a house north of Chambéry for Louis’s birthday next weekend!
Another highlight: I went to the hairdresser (a concept that we are trying to transform into a tradition with Loubs: the Bro-ber, a neologism made up of the derivative of the “Bro” and the last syllable of the word “ barber ”, which describes the action of going casually to a barber, drinking a coffee (the luxury Bro-ber possibly offers cigars and whiskey) and having your hair and beard cut with friends). Rest assured, the length of the beard is intact, most of the work having been done on the hair.
Finally, the geography lesson: new format this time, with a summary of the entire journey since leaving Hamburg almost two months ago!