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The Gears of France

sunny 34 °C
View Calais to Chiasso on Tom.Calver's travel map.

The river came into view, its surface calm and bright. It made me want to childishly ignore perspective; to reach out and grab great handfuls of it, to pull it up, to wrap it around myself like a cool cloak. To form it into globes then swallow it in whole mouthfuls.

Our exit from Thionville began with an attempt to return to the river in the hope the cycle path from the day before continued. We spent half an hour following minor roads through housing estates to get as close to the river as possible, but were constantly separated by fences, barbed wire or fields and could see no evidence of a path. As such our journey followed the main roads, which would occassionally meander back to the river and away again, into the wind. It was hot early on and the temperature rose throughout the day.

The road levelled and our pace lagged. The click of the rear wheel's cadence sensor tapped less and less as about us the wind thickened to viscous plasma. My wrists ached. Hives of industry came from the distance, fed with the blood of whining trucks so much larger than our bicycles, monolithic and naked. A mist was on us, and it smelled of malaise.

The first section of our journey to Metz, Lorraine and possibly France's industrial centre, saw a two mile trip over an uncertain decommissioned road which fortunately for us eventually led back to a D-route. It was however unpleasant, due to the constant risk of punctures and poor environment. Evidence of industry was everywhere, from the river to the large volume of traffic to the constant presence of concrete and motorways. One of our lowest points came on cycling through an industrial centre dominated by a large imposing building. It wasn't until we came close and smelled the trucks passing by us we realised it was a colossal abattoir; this certainly wasn't great cycling territory.

This had been predicted however, and as was also expected the industry slowly disappeared after Metz into the French countryside we were more familiar with. We made good enough time for the day, but recognised we'd been doing such long days for too long. John's bike was in pieces (we had to repair three punctures that day),and both of us felt the strain of continuous cycling, often at ten hours at a time , for seven straight days. Now in Nancy, we need to take time off to repair them and will use it to get ourselves back together as well before we head East across country for Strasbourg.

And as I haven't forgotten, the Stats and Map

Bonsoir mes amis,
Tom x

Posted by Tom.Calver 13:06 Archived in France Tagged bicycle

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your reports of all these disasters,have really done it for tom he has never been so happy!!! i bet thats the first time you gosport boys have been pleased to see a pompey reminder!!!keep it up cu

by paddy

I'm impressed at the little poetic paragraphs. Do you think of them all day lol well done keeping this up to date, must be a pain every evening. Keep it up and avoid dutch role playing games or whatever it was ; p

by Josh

haha on your profile page it says "Tom.Calver has no friends" - tough times man!

by josh

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