There are pros and cons to a headwind at 36 Celsius.
You need quite a bit of wind to achieve any kind of cooling effect, and to combat the waves of pizza-oven-like heat rolling up off the road. But it increases the effort required, and therefore the loss of water. I find it hard to take in enough liquid to replace what’s lost.
So I’ve learnt to keep an eye out for little supermarkets – which are always very discreetly hidden – and buy a litre of juice. And down it in one.
I stopped at Nuits St. Georges for coffee. This is another wine area, which claims to have more wine tourists than Champagne has, and there are plenty of signs for various routes “Grand Cru”.
If you make the right judgement on these little un-trafficked roads between the vineyards you’re rewarded with single-track smooth emptiness. If you make the wrong judgement, the track quickly deteriorates into dusty stony impassibility.
But the country is so open you can see well ahead, and usually make the right call. And we’re between two main roads – one in the valley below, and one higher up, so it’s easy to keep to the right general direction.
There are a couple of e-bikers doing the same thing, and we leapfrog each other as we make different decisions and then meet up again. The last time I saw them they were deciding to view the collections of old aeroplanes at the Chateau de Savigny-les-Beaune. I was deciding not to.
The town of Beaune, a bit further on, is an absolute gem. There’s an enormous market on a Saturday, and the whole world is here. A good place to play some Bach, and a few dances.
I was intending to bike another hour after Beaune before lunch, but when I saw water I was of course distracted. Black bread and liquid cheese on the grass after a warm swim.
And on to Chalon-sur-Saone. Once again I’ve nowhere to stay, so I’m wondering about going on a bit further. But after tea and icecream – well, you have to, don’t you? – Chalon-sur-Saone seems an attractive place to stay.
The Villa Boucicaut is tucked away. It has a little garden, which might be nice later. And it’s officially “Acceuil Velo”, which means cyclists get their washing done for them.
Laure in reception sees the cello, and suggests a concert later, in the lobby/salon, for the guests. Ten minutes later there’s a big conference notice board advertising it.
It went down well, and afterwards I thought I should celebrate that I’m now 1000 miles from home. My energetic waiter, Bek, was an Uzbek from Samarkhand. We talked about his beautiful city, and I left him a large but not very sober tip.