Testing out the bikes and day-tripping in Nice

(written by Dave)

Today we went for a ride.  A bike ride that is.  What fun.  We actually did a ride last weekend as well but it was too short to report here.  We’ve gotten the bikes back into trip-shape but we needed to test them out before taking to the road for good next week.

Our ride today was all of 35k from Nice east to Eze and back.  There are three roads that cover this route, the low, middle and upper roads.  The coast here has many tall cliffs with the upper road being as much as 2000 feet above the bottom road at times.  We took the bottom road out and the middle road back, meaning a climb of 1500 feet at the turn around point.  The bottom road is the route we  will take next week with fully loaded bikes – it seems manageable.  It’s funny that when you have the ability to figure out the route ahead there is a temptation to pre-ride it so that you know how steep it is.  Of course when you consider how many k’s we ridden on this trip not knowing the grades before we actually ride them, knowing what is coming in the next 20k or so after we leave Nice won’t make a lot of difference!

The bikes worked pretty well, no major issues.  As for the few extra mid-section pounds we may have added on while studying here in Nice, well, we’ll have plenty of time to work them off over the next few months.  We even splashed out on a new bicycle computer with an altimeter so we will know just how steep the hills really are and how many meters we have climbed each day.  The weather was great for our ride today and last week in general.  We’ll be riding in leg and arm warmers and wind vests over the next few weeks, at least until we reach the ferry to Greece.  Thankfully it is much warmer now here and the cold spell appears to have broken but it is nowhere near as warm as it was riding in SE Asia.

We are starting to re-pack bags for the trip as well.  I got to thinking today and noted that we’ve not slept in our tent for more than 8 months.  That’s quite amazing when you think we’ve been travelling for most of that time.  We aired it out but have not tried pitching it.  For those early LWOP readers, you will remember that I correctly re-packed the tent with minimal supervision [editor’s note – early LWOP readers will remember it was only after hours of instruction].  Let’s see how it goes on our first morning.  Our “tenticate” rules will surely be reviewed somewhere on that first day as well (I’m not sure that we ever wrote the rules down, but we’ll see how my first transgression goes down all the same J )

We’ve played tourists yesterday again as we did earlier in the week.  There is a great daily market here in Nice that we’ve haven’t spent enough time wandering through.  So that’s what we did yesterday.  The fresh produce is just great.  It seems that citrus and beef tomatoes are in season now, plus we are starting to see strawberries and raspberries.  I hope that we see berries like this while we are crossing Italy.  Finding out what fruits and vegetables are in season is one of the fun things about bike touring.  You never know what you’ll find (probably no durian here in Europe, we can hope at least).

We hope to head out to Antibes again on Monday.  We were there earlier with my mom and Mats but it was so wet and cold that we barely got to see it.  Plus there is rumored to be a Starbucks there.  We do enjoy the coffee here in Nice, like we did in SE Asia.  I’m sure that there are some who would cringe at going to Starbucks when we have all these local choices but we like going there to get a “taste of home”.  It’s not so much the coffee but the whole experience that makes you feel nice.  We hope to catch an English language movie as well.  Same thing with the movie, if only for 2 hours, being immersed in English is nice.  You don’t have to think to communicate or really put much of an effort into just being.  It’s not that we don’t like to experience the new things, rather you just need “easy” every now and then for a break.

We also did a very touristy thing and took a ride on the Nice ferris wheel during the week.  It is pretty big so it feels like you are very high up when it goes around, and on a nice day the views are great from up at the top.  I don’t think Nancy let go of the railing at any point during the ride and there were lots of instructions for me to sit still and not rock the cage, which I followed for most of the ride.

Notwithstanding all these ‘English’ breaks we are still using our French as much as possible so that we can use it when we ride through France on our way back down through Europe.  Nancy has printed off a copy of her compendium French study document so we will have it to study as we ride on.  We are also watching French TV each night and it’s always exciting when we can figure out what they are saying.  There is a French version of the show ‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics’ called ‘N’oubliez Pas Les Paroles’ that Nancy watches regularly – the singing is often quite bad, as I imagine it is in any country, but it’s good French practice as they have the lyrics in French subtitles so we have a chance at figuring out what they are singing (badly).  At the moment I am watching one of the 6-Nations rugby matches with French commentators so I can claim some French practice as well.

The weather forecast continues as nothing but blue skies for the next 7 days, including start of our ride out on Thursday, 1 March.  We are a little nervous but also very excited to be moving again.  Of course, we haven’t quite finished the packing yet so there may be a few tense moments between now and Thursday.

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9 thoughts on “Testing out the bikes and day-tripping in Nice

  1. The market looks amazing. I miss red, ripe tomatoes! Wishing you all the best on your upcoming adventures! I am also happy to get more frequent updates!

  2. Hey, Thanks for the picture of the sea kayaks.
    P.S I am glad we (the royal we) will be soon back on the road, looking forward to it.

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