Set off reluctantly from Lyon having enjoyed the 36 hours I spent there. The beauty of the city was further enhanced by two experiences . First up was meeting a delightful couple next to our dining table, John and Margaret, who had recently downsized from 20 years in a house in Provence to move back to the Uk and Stratford upon Avon . Good material for a book I would’ve thought . Second up was a great coffee served by an Irish psychology student @thecrocknroll coffee shop. Worth a stop for a decent coffee and bite to eat if you’re ever in Lyon.
Speaking off the Irish. We are blessed in our street to be surrounded, without exception, by wonderful neighbors. However if you were going to create a template for the perfect people to live next door to you’d use a mould cut from the Irish couple who live to our left. Davy and Rita. The words, kind , generous , warm , engaging , hospitable, humorous, caring , patient, and understanding do not sufficiently cover the spectrum of their personalities. The added bonus is that on a summers evening you can hear the laughter and Irish banter from their garden as they host another set of Irish friends. They’re truly wonderful human beings who you feel enhance your life by simply knowing them and I dedicate today’s ride to them.
The clouds were grey and the wind gods were taking back from the two days leading into Lyon. I will say however that leaving Lyon to the north along designated cycle pathways adjacent to the Saône River is a far more pleasurable experience than entering it from the south through the slums of south Lyon. It was goodbye Rhône and hello Saône.
The terrain for the most part of the morning was agricultural with undulating hills that combined with a headwind and an unexplained lethargy meant the going was slow.
This church in Cormoranche-sur-Saône was about as typical as you can get in the many small pristinely kept villages I rode through .
Unlike its bigger sister the Rhône which I crisscrossed multiple times , today I crossed the Saône just the once .
Pretty soon I was into Bourgogne territory and it’s famous vineyards . As I stood taking this photo In a howling headwind I wondered what on earth was generating a high pitched whistle. Then the penny dropped as I looked at the wine glasses.
Soon thereafter the open hills that had lent themselves to vineyards have way to more narrow valleys , lush with post winter greenery, and the delightful Voie Verte (green way). Set up in 1997 it was the first of its kind in France and is a 74 km cycle way that runs from Chalon-sur-Saône to Macon . Part of it utilises an old train track similar to that which runs from the French coastline town of Dieppe towards Paris . I enjoyed it’s peacefulness and solitude for all of about 10 km
A highlight of riding it is passing through the 1.6 km Bois Clair Tunnel. Open only to pedestrians and cyclists. The alternative for those claustrophobic is a 9.5 km detour.
Exiting the tunnel and it’s a wondeful ride through lush forests to Cluny. Famous for its abbey and my stop for the night .