Long-distance bike riding isn’t my forte. Tootling around my neighborhood is about the sum of my biking habit.
The self-designed, off-the-beaten-track bike tour planned for today was supposed to be reasonably short. Or so it appeared to be on the map.
The idea for the trip was Oliver’s, the cutey from the bike rental shop. The trail map he gave me looked simple enough to follow. The problem was, I discovered, the bike routes take you the farthest possible distance to get to any destination. I’m not saying the trail wasn’t scenic. There were no significant roadways or traffic to spoil the views of the places I ventured to today –from Uzes to St- Mediers to Montaron and back.
A funny thing happened.
Like Mel Brooks’ famous play about a trip to the Roman Forum, a “funny thing” happened at an intersection along the bike path. I came upon a horse that was staring me straight in the face. He seemed to say: “take me with you!” Oh, that I had heeded his advice. The next section of the road was a killer. The trail lanes were piled with sand, and the route was mostly uphill. After a few minutes of trying to plow through the sand, I resorted to pushing the bike.
I went on this excursion to find a quaint town with a memorable cafe where I could have lunch. Walking the bike through St-Medlers, I saw no restaurants, cafes, or sundry shops. In fact, the place was relatively deserted. Dying of thirst and quite hungry by this time, I tried not to panic. In the distance, I saw a man getting into his car. Hurrying to stop him, I yelled out, “Bonjour!”. We tried to communicate but ended up using sign language. Pointing toward the road ahead, he held up two fingers and said: “two kilometers, Montaron,”
Montaron was off the bike trail, yet clearly, it was just down the main road. Downhill!
When I arrived, I staggered into the first restaurant I visited in the town. Passing through the bar area, I took three steps up to the tables on the outdoor covered patio. Dropping down into a chair, I was immediately met by the waiter. Apparently, I looked as desperate as I felt. The waiter hustled to bring a pitcher of water to the table – with ice.
Not long after, I finished lunch and a cold glass of beer.
The short way back
Know why I said the bike route was the longest route possible to anywhere? The road sign in Montaron told me so. Four kilometers to Uzes. I had traveled at least ten kilometers from Uzes to get here. I took the main road back.
Tomorrow’s adventure? Stay tuned.