August 31, 2014

Fontainebleau to Joigny

Today's ride from Fontainebleau to Joigny was remarkable only by its long, flat, length. Flatter over 105k (64 miles) than anything I have ever ridden, with its mere 526 meters (1726 feet) of climbing. It was sometimes windy, but I was pleased with my average speed for touring.

Most interesting to me were seeing two rivers. First, the Seine upriver from Paris. The river has always been used as a working river, with its share of locks, and with barges and other boats transporting goods up and down the river, into and out of Paris. Sometimes the operators and their families live on their boats. Somewhere I read a long compelling article about that becoming a dying way of life, though you still see a few of these working barges on the Seine in Paris. Regulations, dock prices and highway trucking are threatening those jobs and livelihoods. Wish I could find my source.

After leaving the Seine behind, I was in the Yonne watershed, though I didn't see as much of it as I had hoped. The Yonne feeds the Seine, joining it at Montereau, and I followed near it to Joigny. This part of the ride was reallllly flat, sometimes windy. Huge fields of turnips, or perhaps rutabagas, (the photo is a grass cover crop) grew by the side of the road. I passed through Sens, but didn't stop, anxious to keep going. The Paris Nice riders were there in 1988 and 1999.

And in the little time I had in Sens, as I looked for something quick and inexpensive to eat; as I looked for my route, which was not easy to find; as I sat for a few minutes at the fountain by the church ... I learned something about my riding, no touring, decisions. At home, planning this route, I had drawn a pink line, using a highlighter, on my Michelin map, between the river and a highway that promised to be busy. My pink line was there, but there were no roads at all indicated in that area of my map, because I had seen those roads on Ride with GPS. On my map, it was blank white space. But I knew they were there, I had worked hard to trace that route, using Ride with GPS and Maps street view. I also knew that there could be a good probability of getting lost, backtracking, wandering around, and losing time.

I had my garmin along, but couldn't figure it out. Those roads promised to be far more pleasant, prettier, with river views, than the minor highway on the far side of the river. I didn't really know for sure that they connected, though, and didn't know at all what their surface was like. Today I decided to skip it. What I learned, I think, was that if I was riding with someone, especially say my riding partner Susan, who is expert at following small unmarked routes, I might have wanted to go for it. Alone, I didn't want to risk it. Any substantial loss of time on today's 100k ride could be a real monkeywrench. Looking now via Google Earth, I think it would have worked. Next time I'll print a cuesheet. Stupidly, I later found a reminder to myself to print the cuesheet. A forgotten reminder.

That decision explains why I didn't see much of the Yonne, and why I don't have photos for you.

The little highway was safe, if uninteresting, and after crossing a quirky small suspension bridge, I arrived in Joigny without incident.

Joigny seems a nice enough small town and something of a holiday center, located on the Yonne. The race visited three times between 1969 and 1979



  1. Thinking of you as you pedal through France. So good to know you are okay from your run in with the car door -absolutely one of my dreaded fears. I ran into a parked car in similar conditions in Florence. At least pedaling slowly can save the most horrific situations. My you enjoy the rest of your journey!

    1. Hi Annie, Great to hear from you ... thanks! Yes, one of my fears also, and I am sure that moving slowly was what avoided damage! Hope all is well with you and your cycling world.

  2. Loving all of this, but PLEASE stay safe.

  3. Thank you and I will be cautious .... despite the door, I'm really not reckless! Take care of everything there!!


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