Chalon-sur-Saone to Bourg-en-Bresse 112 km

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June 18th 2017
Published: June 18th 2017
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The Breakfast cave
Today was mostly just a pleasant ride, 3/4 of it on a rails-to-trails bike path. After fuelling up in the hotel's funky breakfast 'cave' (seemingly an old wine cellar) we navigated the 3 km out of town on pretty much traffic-free streets (it being Sunday) before opting to travel 68kms on the bike path that took us almost all the way to Macon. As the morning wore on, many families and others joined us.

Although there were quite a few 'level crossings' (mostly at farm tracks) it was interesting to see that even at some (but not all) regular roadways the motorists had stop signs while cyclists were given the right of way. Most intersections also had stiles on the path to ensure cyclists slowed down and were cautious.

After about 24km I pulled over to pee and lost contact with the group I had been riding with; had I not done so I likely wouldn't have clipped one of said stiles, and I don't mean I just failed to navigate through it cleanly. I was actually going pretty fast on a downhill section when I came upon it, and the combination of focusing on the traffic on the

Not much traffic Sunday morning
road I was about to cross and the cyclist similarly descending from the other direction, plus simply the lay of the land and the background behind the stile meant that I simply didn't see it until it was way too late to avoid. As it was, I felt pretty good that I almost managed to squeak by and didn't go over the bars, suffering just a slightly-skinned knee in the ensuing tumble.

A little while later I managed to join up with Henry again (we had both picked the same general area in which to have a banana break), and we - like many others, it seemed - didn't pay close attention to the directions in Cluny and crossed over the TGV tracks to find a bike trail to Macon, whereas our directions said to continue on the same side of the tracks and later pass under them. What's the difference, you ask? The path we took definitely did not follow an old railbed, as it had many steep climbs; I'm guessing the other one didn't.

No matter, both routes eventually converged to pass through the 1.6km long Tunnel du Bois Clair, where a drip from the ceiling

Riding through a stile
managed to nail me in the face as I rode through. I hoped it was condensation and not bat guano, as the tunnel is actually closed during the winter months to protect a colony of bats that live there. After the tunnel, traffic on the path increased, and at km63 Henry decided he had had enough close encounters so he reverted to the roads while I pressed on ahead. A scant 6km later I broke one of my cardinal rules of cycling and drank a bit of alcohol with another 50km or so yet to pedal, inasmuch as the Vignerons des Terres Secrètes was right by the path. I didn't seem to suffer any adverse effects from my two tastings (one white, one red).

After travelling through Macon (on the roads) we then turned eastward for the final 30km into the wind on a single, mostly-straight (albeit not flat) highway. Opinions on this section were quite polarized. The van having not yet arrived when I reached the hotel, I decided to shower anyway and subsequently wandered down to get my gear (once it had arrived) wearing only a towel. Luckily, there was no one around to be offended.

How this car got here is a mystery

Our next challenge will be finding somewhere to eat. It's bad enough normally when our group of anywhere from 4-18 (not only do factions form, but our total group size keeps fluctuating as people come and go) tries to find an establishment that can take us, but it's Sunday and everything - even the hotel restaurant - is closed.

Speaking of food, though, I just have to mention the fabulous white-fleshed nectarine I had today. Produce here is expensive, but very high quality. And news flash: as it turns out we did find a place that was open but seemed pretty suspect to me - A La Bonne Heure, a chain associated with Casino supermarkets that features all you can eat salad and dessert bars, cafeteria trays, and self-bussing - but their fare proved surprisingly very good and ridiculously cheap as well. I love how the French respect food - there was even a choice of waters available from the fountain.

One last thing I haven't quite figured out, though: what's with all the hotel beds having not sheets but duvets? My Ethiopian-born roommate doesn't seem to have a problem with them but I find they're ridiculously hot

Typical path-side view
to sleep under - am I really supposed to crank up the a/c (where available) to compensate? OK, I just found out I can remove the duvet from the cover. Duh.

Additional photos below
Photos: 17, Displayed: 17



The damage done was minimal

Snack stop

This local latched onto my wheel

The path we weren't supposed to take...

...probably because of this

About to enter the tunnel

Traffic jam!

It starts off here...

...and ends up here

Silo art

Clean but without clothes to wear (plus the obligatory helmet tan shot)

Choice of water

Tot: 1.578s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 10; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0281s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 2; ; mem: 1.5mb