It was cold and miserable when we got in from our morning ride. It was winter in Sydney and whilst thawing out with a hot cuppa Scott suggested a cycling holiday in the south of France! My initial reaction was don’t say a thing; don’t move or the wind will change and so will his mind! Could we really plan a cycling holiday through France? Yes we could and yes we did!
Being keen cyclists and both reasonably fit we decided to book through Cyclomundo Cycling Tours. We chose the intermediate level self guided. We would be cycling along the Dordogne! OMG!!
Scott is not only a keen cyclist, he is also an elementary level triathlete, a paddler, a plumber, a landscape gardener, a leather maker, a husband – you name it he does it! BUT he also likes a good challenge and is always willing to try new things. Recently some colleagues and Scott got together and decided that they wanted to create and import some new sports sun glasses that were not only photochromic but had the added bonus of a reading lens in the bottom part of the glass. This is apparently something totally new and totally awesome !! Apparently they are the world’s first bi focal photochromic lens and have full uv protection AND they can go from clear in low light to dark in full sun light! What a perfect opportunity he thought to trial these glasses on our amazing cycling holiday in France! Read on!
We started our trip in Souillac after catching a train from Paris. All accommodation and luggage transfers were included in our package and the majority of meals were also included except for lunch. We cycled out of Souillac and headed for Sarlat – a 14th medieval town. This town was steeped in history and ancient folklore stories of goblins and witches; the cobbled streets and antique building were alive with tourists and locals. The ride was quite picturesque and reasonably flat and easy. Maybe about 50 kms so quite doable.
This area along the Dordogne, unbeknown to me is also the origin of fois gras so not only did the wines and cheese delight us we now had something new to tease and tempt our tastebuds. France and in particular the south are proud of this cultural and gastronomical heritage and fois gras seems only to be found in this area.
We continued cycling on our very upright hybrid bikes which ran along incredibly smoothly and were not too heavy. Scott’s bike had a map stand attached to the handlebars panier, which was encased with a plastic sleeve. The directions and itinerary from the tour company were great and quite accurate. We had taken our own pedals, helmets and shoes with us which was incredibly sensible I thought but not totally necessary if you don’t want to. We did actually cycle a few hills as the tour company tries to take you on the more scenic routes away from the main roads. Occasionally we got a little lost and thank goodness for the garmin and … yes the new glasses enabled Scott to read the tiny weeny print on the maps on the fly without having to stop and swap over to reading glasses. These new Bz Optics glasses come in +1.5 up to +2.50. I would also borrow them occasionally to double check his navigation!
On day four the weather closed in on us and our wet weather gear was very limited. Scott leant me his arm warmers but they ended up soggy wet wrist warmers so we decided a “cheat” day was called for! We cycled to a near by train station put the bikes on board, chatted to some fellow cyclists from Belgium and descended the train in St Emilion.
Again another extremely fascinating town from pre historic times and a UNESCO world heritage site. Set upon a high hill in stunning surrounds and famous for not only its red wines but also it’s limestone monolith where St Emilion lived after escaping the Benedictine Order. (Quite an interesting story but not fitting for this site)!
The summer evenings in Europe are long and beautiful and our evening meal was always included but we would still got a menu to choose from. Sitting in the beautiful gardens eating alfresco - lucky Scott had his sunnies on with the reading lens for menu choice as well as sun reflection! The BZ Optics glasses are super light and the adjustable non slip nose piece ensures a comfortable fit for all face shapes. Towards the end of the trip I did feel that Scott and his colleagues were on to a winner with these glasses.
On day seven we cycled into Bordeaux and the cycle paths become flatter, longer and busier – we even came across a roundabout on the cycle path! As we crossed Pont de Pierre Bridge, we marvelled at the city spread along the river with the church spire towering above like a leading star. Our cycle tour was coming to an end, the lycra was going to be put away. We would trade our bicycle seats for a train seat, sit back relax and say “au revoir” to France and “hola” to San Sebastian.
Would I recommend CYCLOMUNDO – I would!
Would I wear BZ Optics – I do!
Would I do it all again – In a heartbeat!
Taken from louloubird.com