Friday, 17 July 2015

Day twenty three (Monday) Meaux to Paris 55km 3 hours 10 mins

Cakes: 1 x croissant each; 1 x pain aux chocolat each; Coffee 2 x each

It was a bit of a gloomy, grey day to start with, which seemed somewhat appropriate. I cheered up some though, once John had emphasised that we were off to Paris!! So, I pulled on my big girl knickers and cheered up.

The afternoon before we'd gone out and checked that we remembered where to get on the canal, so were able to make a good start in light traffic (July 14th is a public holiday - Bastille Day). I had forgotten how bumpy and lumpy it was on this stretch, and it was only once I'd tried to cycle again (unsuccessfully) down the middle of the track to avoid the biggest stones that it struck me. The canal had been constructed during the Napoleanic period (a masterful piece of engineering), and was likely to have been cobbled alongside. The large lumps of rock, many still flattish and still in place, would likely to have been placed there in Napoleonic times. While this realisation didn't help make the ride any smoother, it did help some vivid imaginings of the sheer scale and effort required to build the canal.

Meaux, like any town of a particular size, is not pretty on its outskirts. The graffiti and rubbish on the buildings alongside the canal could have been anywhere. It was not long, though, until we left Meaux behind. The many runners and mountain bike riders became fewer for a while, and we rattled along toward Paris.

During these kilometres we passed the km1,000 mark, which was a point of celebration (accompanied by a pedal-powering pain au chocolat and coffee). We have been really impressed by the way the Terns have performed over a wide variety of terrain. The tried and tested saddle design (we swapped out the ones the Terns came with originally) has proven, yet again, to be an essential comfort.

One thing I did initially use, which I haven't for long-distance riding before, are the padded shorts. John suggested that because all long-distance cyclists use them, I should give them a go for an extra comfortable ride. I have since returned to non-padded ones as I found the heat that was produced around my derriere led to some nasty chafing (TMI!!) I only include this detail to reiterate the old chestnut of 'don't change your gear before setting off on a long trip, and also to say - if you prefer to cycle without the padding - go for it :-)

The cycle into Paris along the canal was relatively simple. We had purchased a map beforehand, and John, who is a great navigator, safely brought us to our final destination - a delightful studio apartment in using the canals as a way to avoid traffic.

Being a holiday the place was full of folks enjoying the sunshine, and being an apartment culture, they had their deckchairs on the pavements by the canal, along with picnics and wine.

It will be an interesting few days in Paris, and, as an added bonus, we are meeting up with John's sister (Yvonne), and niece (Emily).

The adventure has been a 'top' one, with challenges and rewards a many. Can't wait for the next one!!

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