September 2, 2014

Vezelay to Autun to Cluny

Balance in anything is elusive for me. Including in cycle touring. This year I have intentionally taken on a route that is in several ways more challenging than my previous routes: it is longer, I have included some extremely challenging climbs in the Alps, I have included several rest days, and 4 in Nice, in places I want to visit. This leads to some long days, with substantial climbing. I suspect you have read my words ... "I try to do the hardest thing I can and still have some fun." I'm looking to discover what that might mean, and it  is not an easy balance to find.


So this year my plan, while here in the relatively flat north of France, is 55 - 70 mile days, climbing of not more than 4,000 feet. Now to some of you that probably sounds like a piece of cake, but for me I am finding that it is not. That my touring bike, while more forgiving, sturdier and stable than my road bike, is slower, is not a surprise. That riding it loaded is slower than riding the back roads at home unloaded is not a surprise. However, I did not anticipate how much time it would take me to find my way through cities. For every small city I route my way through, add anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on my confusion level, to my elapsed time. My average speed is s.l.o.w. There are a lot of small cities in northern France.


This affects the balance: less time for photos. Don't put a foot down; keep going. But also importantly, less time to actually visit, explore and enjoy the places I pass through or stay. Yesterday afternoon I arrived tired enough in Autun, a city with esteemed Greek-Roman ruins, about 4:30. After 45 minutes, or maybe an hour and a half, of trying to find my way through a hideous giant street fair, taking up much of the center of the city, where I could barely walk my bike through the mob, I arrived at my chambre d'hote exhausted. Shower, clean up, dinner.....no time to visit the amphitheater. There was no internet, so I couldn't post. Just as well, because I needed sleep. And I did sleep. But I had an hour or so's walk about town before dinner, and captured some details.





Because of this varying balance, or lack of balance, between enjoying longer rides and visiting historical sites, I suspect this trip my posts will be thinner, with less history in them. Also, my photos may be fewer.


Autun struck me on first and only glance, as a beautiful medieval city, with older roots, that was not itself turned into a museum to the past, or a town given over to tourism. It seemed to have a continuing vibrance, a life of today, a culture and vibrance of this era.  These photos have been of details I noticed while walking around a bit before dinner.

Today's ride was about the same length, between 55 and 60 miles, about the same climb. Luckily I arrived in Cluny in time to visit the famous Abbaye. If I had missed it, I might have stayed in the morning, and taken a train for part of my route tomorrow. Balance askew. But now, no need.

From time to time I post images specifically for one reader or another. They always recognize them. Here are two:



I met a lovely man from Switzerland, who stopped to talk while I was taking this photo. I felt rude, and probably I was, when he suggested that we stay stationary and visit. But I didn't have the time to stop and talk, I needed to ride and talk. So I said, essentially: yes, I'd love to visit with you, but could we ride together instead of standing here? And we did, until I turned off in Cluny. He was in France for a short tour, mostly to get away from home in Switzerland, I think. He had taken the train to Lyons and was even older than me: 75. I think he enjoyed riding on my wheel, he said something like that. I know I enjoyed having someone ride on my wheel, instead of always being on the faster riders wheel, like I am on club rides at home.

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10 comments:

  1. Did recognize - both places. do take time to look around, though.

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  2. I was so glad to get here in Cluny with time to look, pause, listen. Thinking especially of you dans ces coins.

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  3. I noticed the same thing with the photos. have you checked your settings? Re the distance/weight/getting lost thing, I know exactly what you mean because that's the usual way I travel. I always think I should have slowed down a bit and enjoyed the scenery. You'll see though, at the end of it you'll have a different sense of accomplishment than usual...or maybe not!

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    1. We just figured it out ... it is bloggers required default. More reason to switch to wordpress.

      I'm sure you are right about the sense of accomplishment, especially with the historic nature of,this route...

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  4. PHOTO REPAIR:
    The photos now look a lot better. Your ability to follow the instructions at http://mleddy.blogspot.com/2014/02/bloggers-fuzzy-image-problem.html
    seems to have fixed the problem.

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    Replies
    1. If anyone else,has,this problem. Go to the link, it works.

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  5. Can I assure you that 50-70 mile days with up to 4000ft of climbing do not seem at all cakelike in any way to me. It seems like a good deal of hard work with added navigation to do as well. The trouble with going through towns is that they don't have signposts at one end telling you how to get out of them at the other end. They just think that you either want to go round the bypass or visit the centre ville. This is not much use to cyclists.

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    Replies
    1. Let's go for a ride sometime!

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    2. Absolutely....as long as you slow down enough for me to keep with you.

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    3. Ha ha. You don't fool me, I read your blog regularly and know how much ground you cover! ActuallyI will have a lot of catching up reading to do when I get home, here I: eat, ride, eat, write this blog, sleep, repear. Be well!

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