French hospitality

Trip Start Apr 11, 2012
Trip End Oct 10, 2012

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Flag of France  , Burgundy,
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

I was about 25 miles outside Reims yesterday and had pulled off the road to put on my rain gear in preparation for a squall coming my way. Just as I was about to get going again, a lady pulled over, got out, and asked me to come and stay at her family farm. Her husband and son rode their bikes out to meet me when I was close to their farm, and though I at first wanted to go on another 20 miles to the campsite I had planned for, I ended up staying the night with them. It was an experience I figured I would not get all that often, and it turned out that the son, Greg, has plans for a bike tour of his own. He and his girlfriend are going to take six months and cycle almost completely around the Mediterranean Sea. They are budgeting $4000 for the whole trip, something far less than my budget.

Greg has registered himself on a website ( for people who are willing to host anyone on a bike tour. I had heard about the site, but for some reason had thought it was only in the US. It is similar to couchsurfing, but specifically for the bike community. I am going to give it a shot, for it sounds like a great way to meet people and keep costs down.

I received a tour of the family farm, then a real bed for the night. In the morning, Greg rode out with me 15 miles, and he was kind enough to ride my bike with the trailer...actually he wanted to see what it felt like, but it certainly helped me. That day turned out to be a long one, with a constant drizzle all day and a headwind to boot. It didn't help that the temperature was 45 to 50. I came to the conclusion during the 90 miles to the campsite that there are three weather conditions: wet, windy, and cold. I can take any two of those and be fine, but all three together make for a miserable ride. Deep, isn't it? Haha, well I never did plan on doing this trip in California winter conditions, but it does make memories, doesn't it?

Unfortunately, by the time I had set up my tent and taken a shower, it was 8:30. None of the places to eat in the nearby town were open, except for one with dishes going for $25 and up. No hot food sucked, but I managed with some bread and cheese in my pack. I was on the bike for a little over 8 hours, and I don't think there is anything in this world other than sleep that is enjoyable for that period of time. From now on, I try to keep it to 60 miles per day.
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LeAnn on

Geez, stop making it a marathon and make it a cultural experience. Sounds like you got several doses already. Enjoy!

John on

Dude, I just got caught up on all the entries--very entertaining! You're on a definite once in a life time opportunity so enjoy.

Most shocking to me by far, is the fact that you were able to stay with a family of complete strangers for almost 24 hrs, and not deeply offend them with the ol' Butter's charm.

Keep the pictures coming and the commentary is great!

Mom on

I love this blog idea. What a fantastic way to share the trip. The pictures are really good, and the scenery isn't bad either haha. The people sound a lot more friendly than Americans. I can't imagine anybody around here stopping somebody on a bike and asking him to stay at their house.

LeAnn on

Your description of being cold and miserable and getting by with crackers and cheese from your backpack made me picture Katniss. Your version of Hunger Games is it?

Drew on

Nice. That's some pretty good treatment. Looks like things are picking up for you. Any ladies yet?

jonmatters on

It was a good experience having someone stop and offer me a stay at their home. I had been in a marathon mindset, but luckily I was able to switch it off and take advantage of the opportunity. And yes Loper, I have managed to keep a leash on Butters so far. If he gets loose, however, I think you might hear it on the news

Greg on

On the road again Jon !

It was great to meet you at home. Keep on going my friend !

jonmatters on

Thanks, Greg. I'm going to keep my legs moving. Maybe I'll see you in Switzerland. I think I might be there late June or early July.

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