What a cool day! Waking up in Paris with the prospect of another 3 weeks of cycling was demoralising; despite knowing that I will have an interesting adventure. The thought of 1400km more, the distance I have travelled already, but twice over, AGAIN, together with the lactic acid is just daunting. I demolished my breakfast before saying goodbye to my Mum (for the third time on this trip as she keeps following me) and cycled off past the Gare du Nord station where she would take the Eurostar back to London. A somewhat tempting alternative to 3 weeks further on the road.
After getting a little lost, despite my plan of being on just the one road for most of the day (it turned into a motorway unsuitable for bikes) I found an incredible path next to a beautiful river just outside Paris. This is where I caught up with Lioret, a lovely 77 year old man. He mentioned that he was only out for a 30km training ride! Mel (the 71 year old man I met on the ferry) – you have competition!
Continuing on over a railroad bridge (where I happened to see my Mum’s Eurostar go past) I spotted some planes in the distance doing loop-the-loops and other cool tricks. The point of this trip is to stop and investigate interesting things such as this, so I turned around, rolled down off the bridge and found the path to where I would meet my new friends who were controlling the planes. I spent a good 2 hours with them discussing the different petrol turbine and electric propeller engines, along with the different body kits you can get. Unfortunately I couldn’t convince them to put my GoPro on one of the planes which would have been AWESOME.
Stopping for lunch in Meaux I met an American from Georgia and a Parisien who was very supportive of my trip. They spoke highly of Germany and put my fears of the country to rest. Perhaps I have been reading too much about the wars!
After reaching the Champagne region of France (which I haven’t managed to get a glass of yet) I hit the 100km target for the day. I stopped at McDonald’s in Châteaux Thierry (which happened to be one of the few places open on a Sunday) for a quick salad and a WiFi top up. Feeling good, I looked ahead at my route and found a bed and breakfast just 15km away along a nice river path. Just after setting off I saw two cyclists coming the other way with big bags on their bikes like mine. I slowed down and approached them with my best French. As it happens, Eric and Loren are American and I’m now sharing a room and a few beers with them tonight!
My apprehension about the long trip ahead evaporated by today’s fun encounters. The cycling distances are easy, and when the sun comes out it is stunningly beautiful and very enjoyable. Another chilled couple of days lie in store before reaching the next capital of the trip: Luxembourg City.