About : Europe

There are 3 very different parts to the ride. In Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland and Germany you’re in modern western civilization all kinds of amenities and support – fine dining and **** hotels to budget inns. You ride on nice, paved secondary streets, and especially in Germany, on a lot of spectacular bike paths. Crossing into eastern Europe, (Czech Republic and Poland) the roads are about the same, but the seleciton of accoodations goes down outside of the major cities. In Belarus and Russia the road selection and hotel selection outside of major cities goes way down – get support or bring camping gear.

Lyon, 121km/72 miles**

europe2003 PII, Day 2
15June03, 121km/72 miles**
Lyon, FR

Yesterday it was Chateauneuf du Pape, today the wine highlights were Croze Hermitage, Hermitage, St. Joseph and Cote Rotie, all of which we rode through, along the Rhone, without touching a drop! We make up for it a dinner though, by trying as many and as much of the local wines as possible. The Rhone River from Avignon to Lyon offers a variety of distinct and great red wines, but not much in the way of white.

On this, our second day of riding, our 7AM start time was delayed almost an hour by various minor mechanical difficulties – the biggest of which was Susie’s seat, broken and irreplaceable in France on a Sunday. She toured with Sylvie, while the rest of the team rode. Here’s some action shots!

That’s Steve, Lisa and Dave waiting for a train to pass. Following photos are Dave, Steve, the team (sans Bob, the riding photographer), Steve, and then Lisa and Dave, respectively.

These give you some idea of the roads and scenery, as well as the mood of the riders. It was a reasonably short day, and everyone who rode rode together and made it all the way to Lyon. Both of our breaks during the day were roadside, van fed events. Baguettes with local cheeses and meats (together with the usual fruit, yogurt, nuts, candy, etc.) sounds simple but really taste great.

The prior evening, Bob told a story of river jousting. Two years ago, driving along the road along the west side of the Rhone (the N86) he saw a crowd gathered and cheering by the side and stopped to check it out. There were two long narrow boats with platforms on the back, each filled with a dozen or so adult males and one 12-year-old (or so) boy standing on the platform. The boats had small gasoline engines. They idled to the ends of a smallish harbor area, turned toward one another, and amidst hysteria, charged. The two young boys, armed with 20 foot poles and 2 foot rectangular shields valiantly tried to survive and overcome. One was violently thrown overboard. The other feted as a hero.

Sounds like a tall tale, right? Our first break, a mid-morning brunch in Serreres, was cleverly timed to segue with this experience. The boats were tied up as if on display for us.

And here’s a picture from two years ago, the boats in use, just before the violence.

This probably deserves a better explanation, but I don’t have one. Here’s a picture of Dave at the break though.

I better understand the wine regions, and here’s two shots from a break along the Cote Rotie, one featuring Lisa.

Then it was into Lyon, the second largest city in France. Our chosen road, the D15, was probably the best but it had some significant hills, the benefit of which was to build confidence into some of us. Happiness ensued when we crossed the Rhone to the peninsula between the Rhone and the Sonne (sp?), the convergence of which has made Lyon the strategic center of the area for millennia. Here’s the Rhone followed by Dave and Lisa at that happy moment. (Remember, everyone rode the whole way!)

We checked into the Hotel Grand Boscolo**** around 3PM. Bob sent Dave, Steve, Sylvie and Susie on a tour of the city (the cathedral (vista), the archeological museum, the Roman amphitheater, the old city – take a taxi up and walk down) while he and Lisa worked. Apologies due and made for no photographs of this great city, oh, except for Steve and Sylvie.

There’s a walking street of cafes one block east of the Rhone straight east from the cathedral. We found a nice bistro there. Your closing picture of the day – Dave and Susie at that Bistro.

closing thought: to the 100+ people registered for these updates, many of you know some of these people but not all of them. For the next few days we’ll include some random background information, starting with Ms. Susie Perkowitz.

Susie’s around 29 years old, lives in Chicago and Deerfield, IL. She’s the sweetest person around, and works hard at Clear Channel communications in Chicago where she is responsible for traffic reporting for 7 radio stations. Her other current mission in life is taking care of her (our) parents, for which some of us will forever be in her debt.

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