Biketour Update: Day 1 – Cycling is the easier bit

Once I had forgotten to worry about all the things that I have forgotten, I started to relax and take it all in. My trip is based around finding open campsites and heading toward them. Simple. How I get there is more or less unplanned. I don’t have a precise route because I want to be flexible. Today, all I needed to do is find Lake Bourget; then Aix-les-bains; then the campsite.

I cycle slowly and stop to take photos. Today I passed vineyards on the banks of the lake: dusty, forgotten buildings with the painted sign ‘Cafe’ now faded and almost lost. I stopped more than once where I could see the pale torqouise of the Rhone and thought of all that lovely wine it helps make and daydreamed for a while that I shall drink some tonight… No one drove too closely; I didn’t get a puncture, or worse; and the bike performed immaculately.

I found out today that cycling the 90k or so today was the easy bit, relatively speaking. What I’m struggling with is being organised. Want to make a hot drink? Get the stove from Bag A; the chocolate powder from Bag C; the spoon from – was it Bag D? No it wasn’t; it was Bag A. Now, where is the cup…? In the end, I’ve more or less got all the contents strewn on the tent floor in a worrying pile.

I decided to make some hot food to bolster the spirits. One good thing about this trip – perhaps the best thing – is that I can eat what I like. Calories? Bring ’em on. It’s all grist to my cycling mill. So, I fired up the stove and made some pasta, liberally slicing and adding some dried sauccison. The precise moment I sat down to eat ‘al fresco’, it began to rain. I have to tell you I nearly cried. So I took my chair, my little saucepan and my grump under a tree where it was warm and dry, with steaming food in one hand and a spork in the other. And do you know what? I felt just about as happy as a man can feel out in the rain.

Tomorrow I head to the forests of Chartreuse. More rain is forecast. But the spirit is good and the legs lively, so I’m hoping for a good day. A bientot.

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