The wind in my face

Why do you need a silver chicken this size?

Yesterday (I’m writing this in the morning, having gone straight to bed last night) was a day to forget.

Hot and strong from the south, all day like the unrelenting sun, the wind has been, according to the weather page, in excess of 40mph.  All day. 

It’s not safe going uphill at 6mph, and it’s just dangerous going downhill at 20mph.  It didn’t let up all day, and it was just too much.

I have some rules of my own on these roads – aim to go one-third of the day’s distance before a proper coffee and cake stop, and two-thirds before a proper lunch stop.

But on some days that’s just impossible.  I’d already had one unscheduled recovery stop before coffee in Brienne.  I found myself in the Rue des Livres, a street of secondhand book and music shops, all spilling out onto the blustery pavement on a Sunday mornng.

I was setting off again, when the next table – one of the booksellers and his friends – said they’d hoped I was going to play.  I didn’t need asking twice – the prospect of getting back on the bike was unattractive.  Something French, some Bach, and by special request God Save the Queen.

A short diversion, for cheese, and the garlic fried potatoes I’d bought earlier at a village fete, beside a lake that forbade swimming and “all kinds” of boating, for safety reasons.  I swam, of course.  I didn’t feel too unsafe.

Then McDonalds, the only option for more coffee at this time on a Sunday.  Would you believe that only America has more McDonalds per head of population than France?  Yes, really.

Then the inexplicable silver roadside chicken the size of a house, and now here I am in Bourg-en-Bresse.  I’ve seen nothing of the town, which I believe is worth seeing.  I’ve had 9 hours’ sleep.  I’m stiff, and tired, and today the hills start.  Onwards and upwards.

11 thoughts on “The wind in my face”

  1. Sally Johnson

    You are a star! I’m so enjoying hearing about your journey, and the beautiful music, which clearly is a blessing to all! Be well and strong! x

  2. What incredible adventures, Ken. I enjoy first thing in the morning as I start my day. And you have an amazing amount of music under your sleeve. And a delightful way with words to immediately draw us into your adventures.

    1. Sun is coming up, having my coffee, earbuds playing Weinberg, getting stoked for a ride and reading Ken’s blog. What a way to begin the day.

  3. Am enjoying your blog* very much Kenneth all the more so because my 76 year old cousin Kenneth and his wife are also cycling to Rome but are a bit ahead of you. They’ve reached Parma. There are some obvious differences in your travel blogs but also some similarities.

    The coq is one of the national symbols of France going back centuries and you often see it on war memorials. I’ve never seen one that size though!

    Bon courage!
    *Heard you play and recite in Mayfield.

  4. The chicken is a noted product of that area – Poulet Fermier de Bresse. I thought it was the ‘coq’ of France.

  5. Sorry you had a tough day yesterday. I’m tempted to write something glib about “only in overcoming life’s adversities do we become …bla-bla-bla”. Very much enjoying following your magnificent adventure. ‘Courage’, said with french accent.

  6. Bravo Kenneth. Like others, we admire your fortitude and panache! There’s a very large chicken in what appears to be silver-grey plastic on a roundabout near Dorking, by the way, possibly something to do with a rugby team’s mascot, that is even less agreeable than the French version in your pic. Allez-y, mon Brave… Verdi country awaits you.

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