January 1, 2011

May 31| Arles to Aigues Mortes

From Arles we rode into the Camargue, hoping for lunch and a stop on the Mediterranean at Sts.-Marie-de-la-Mer. It was easy to find our way out of Arles, but the D570 was a very busy road, with lots of beach traffic. The shoulder was wide, though, and it didn’t feel dangerous.

White Horses
We turned off onto the D85A, the first chance to use a smaller road, and after that the riding was terrific. We went past salt water bays and marshes (literally ponds, or étangs.) This is the Rhone delta, famous for its habitat: birds, white horses, black bulls, and independent-minded people. Whether it was because the annual gypsy festival was the weekend before we arrived, or because it was hot, or just because it really is tourist season, it was too crowded for us. I don’t do well with the combination of big crowds, bikes and not knowing where to eat when I’m hungry.
Unexpected ferry crossing
We had bought some food at a vegetable stand, including some spectacularly delicious apricots and cherries, and its own sausage and wine. We bought cheese from a grocery store in town. Lunch was under a tree, for shade, on the way out of town. That would have been perfect, except that the huge plates of shellfish that we could see crowds eating at expensive restaurants looked so good as we rode by. The town is close to Arles and Avignon and I’m sure everyone heads there when it’s hot. I would.  NEXT 


  1. Hi Susan,

    Great blog! My husband and I are planning on heading to provence from our home here in Toronto next month. My biggest worry so far is transporting our bikes. How big a hassle was it for you? I have heard of a lot of people taking their bikes in cardboard boxes, dumping them at their destination and getting new ones for their return journey. What's your opinion?

    Thanks a lot,


    1. Hi Alice,
      Thanks, and thanks for reading! The cardboard box route is exctly what I did for my first 3 trips. My bike shop saved me a shipping box, showed me how to pack it, and it worked well, no damage. We took close up photos of everything Ken (my friend and bike hop pro) thought I might not remember later. Before my most recent trip, I bought a bag with wheels. It is a big improvement, but expensive and cannot be thrown out.

      A few caveats, from my experience: I used soft things, like my sleeping bag in a plastic bag, to provide padding. Carefully marked up on the outside of the box. Reinforce the box handles however best you can. I used duct tape, it worked somewhat, not well. I also reingorced the bottom back edge where it would be dragged, with duct tape. This is not an easy setup to move over distances. Ok for short distances, say in airports, but we had a many block walk in Avignon, with panniers also, and it was difficult.

      Air France sells boxes for the return and probably so do many other carriers. I wouldn't assume you can find a free one. You probably know the TGV is not bike friendly. Or not very. I have some other bike transport info in resources, packing a bike, that might be helpful. Email or post if you have questions....

      Have fun!!! Lucky you!!


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