France seems to be full of long distance cyclists. On Monday we were the guests of Eric Chevalier, a friend of Bubble Brothers and now of Revolution Cycle, at Domaine de lAujardiere. We were grateful of the warm welcome, we had glasses of pink bubbles in our hands before we’d even changed out of our road soiled clothes, which set the tone for the evening. Once showered and semi presentable – traveling as light as we are means that our limited wardrobe doesn’t really stetch past roadside chique – Eric organised for us to meet Didier an Piere.
Didier and Pierre are intrepid cyclists who set off 27 years ago with a plan to go as far as their legs, lungs and hearts would take them.For me it was a poigniant meeting, looking into the eyes of two guys my dads age who left their homes on a similar odyssey, around about the time that I was born was stirring. As we spent the evening looking back, at their trip, I couldn’t help looking forward; to 27 years hence. Would we be sitting across a table imparting perils to globalistes of tender foot when I’m dad’s age?
Didier and Pierre boldy cycled into a different world 27 years ago. A world before Google Earth, Rock Shox and Blackberrys. They covered 40,000km over four years on Peugout bikes with dropped handlebars and dodgy brakes. They carried their stuff in canvas panniers and cycled in cotton t-shirts. As we spoke of equipment, they oo’d and ah’d as myself and Si spoke of aluminium, solar power and digital photography- and we poo’d and pah’d when they spoke of their canvas tent 60kg load and regular punctures, thankful that we were doing it in style in 2008.
As Eric our host grilled Merguez over the embers of old vine roots, and the wine flowed, the two worlds seperqted by 27years ceased to seem so different. When I asked Didier what lessons he learned from four years on the road he replied prosaicly that he learned that;”the world is not so big”. It might sound like a poor return to four years of education but thats quite a valuable lesson to learn. For, as he explained, if you can cycle your bike around the world then it cannot be so big.
Hopefully, he’s right, and the world is in fact so small that we can cycle around it, and maybe when I’m Dad’s age I’ll be able to say that I spent a year and a half in the saddle learning that “the world is not so big”.
click on the image below to see what the french press think of our expedition.