Books, Books, and More Books!

On Saturday, April Fool’s Day, I shut off the water, closed the gas bottle under the sink, opened the main power to the flat, and locked the door. After dropping the key in the mailbox, I rode to World Bike Formia for a final farewell to Vincenzo and Benedetta, and to pick up the WBF cap that they had waiting for me. Then I stopped by Tempo Prezioso for another quick farewell. River Run 2017 was about to begin.  Continue reading

Shall we ride by the rivers?

With travel still restricted, the Freewheeling Freelancer is riding in circles around the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, ready to take you on another tour. While we wait for borders to open up for Americans, I propose to take you back three years to the tour I called River Run 2017. It features a ride along the great rivers of Europe, and certainly qualifies as armchair travel for a pandemic. 

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The Tour de France: recalling the Pyrénées

Photo: The Guardian

Last week, I enjoyed watching the Tour de France race through the countryside that Cheryl and I rode in the summer of 2017. On some stages, the helicopter photos of the mountains upstaged the drama on the road. Some of you joined this blog less than two years ago, and others have asked for more travelogue. This week, I revisit that ride with you. Enjoy! Continue reading

River Run 2017: a Nice ending

On Sunday the 8th  of October, we took the bus from Cannes to Grasse. We walked around the historic center of this perfume-making town and visited the International Perfumery Museum, as well as the Fragonard Museum. Continue reading

Two weeks in Provence

On Thursday, the 29th of September, we rode up the Rhône on the right bank and crossed into the wine country of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, one of the most famous labels in French enology. It was one of the initial ten appellations authorized when the AOC rules were first established in 1923, ending centuries of confusion, fraud, and abuse. The story makes for interesting reading: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teauneuf-du-Pape_AOC. Continue reading

Castles and vineyards: from the Garonne to the Rhône.

Chasselas festival at Moissac

On Sunday, the 17th of September, we watched the rain slide off the windows of the train as we sped west towards Bordeaux. Whilst the train carried us more or less down the Garonne River, the rain stopped, though the clouds remained. We spent the night in the HI Hostel near the Gare Saint-Jean in Bordeaux. Continue reading

Riding back in history: Languedoc.

On Tuesday, 29 August, we took a moment to visit the old church and cloister at Saint-Lizier, before setting out for Tarascon-sur-Ariège, our destination for that night. 

Cheryl wanted to ride the King’s Highway (D618) over another series of beautiful cols to Tarascon-sur-Ariège, but I saw a major bicycle route on my OSMand software, so when she left me behind on the way to Saint-Girons, I decided to play hooky.  Continue reading

The Pyrénées: crossing rivers and ridges

Having reconnoitered the airport and purchased the bus tickets to get Cheryl and her bike to Bordeaux, on Tuesday, 15 August, I met her flight from Paris. After an initial warm reunion, we stood by the carousel in Baggage Claim until it was clear that neither her bags nor her bicycle were on the aircraft. The Baggage Claim office confirmed that they had been left in Paris, and assured us that they would be delivered the next day. We walked down to the Garonne River and enjoyed an organ recital at the Cathedral.  Continue reading

Brest to Bordeaux: the last solo ride

On Thursday, the last day of July, I struck out across the industrial port of Brest, heading for the Atlantic Coast. After the rain of the last two weeks, the warmth of the sun on my skin and the brilliance of the blue sky felt strange. I was so happy to be riding again. Fortified with breakfast (and a packed lunch) from an artisan boulangerie just before leaving the warehouse district, I followed the Eurovelo 1 bike route down the coast. Continue reading

The Channel Coast: Normandy and the Mont Saint-Michel

Five hours before sunset, Intercity 13032 pulled into the station at Caen. The dark clouds made it feel like dusk as I made my way north on the bike route to the coast. I had picked a hotel a few kilometres out of town, so that I could get well along the coast the next day. It was Wednesday, the 26th of July. Continue reading