Moons ago, I purchased my very first bike from a girl who lived in New York City and who was moving back to France. She had bought it from a boyfriend who departed for France a year earlier. I rode it up and down Manhattan Avenues, through traffic across town from East to West, at the side of joggers in Central Park, over bridges, and along the rivers for hours; whether morning or night, I loved to watch people from all parts of the world strut the sidewalks, doormen greet tenants with a smile and buildings scrape the sky up high.
In the summer of 2003, I broke the “chain” and packed my bike – along with the rest of my belongings -, headed back for Paris. I could not imagine leaving it behind, after all of the hours spent soaking up the New York life.
Ten years later, considering the countless wheel spins over cobble-stoned streets, through the tree-lined Bois de Boulogne -rain or shine-, along the boulevard extérieur in pursuit of a burger truck, to meet up at a café or for an art show, or headed to the market; I again could not leave it in place.
The funny thing is, there is nothing “special” about this bike. It accommodates to country or city rides; it comes with 12 or more speeds; there is no fender on the back – as a colleague once remarked from the back on my dress as I waltzed in to work; and the paint needs refreshing. Actually, it is well out of fashion.
Two years ago, we moved to the South-West of France. It has found its place in the garage of our historic stone house, a quick hop from vineyards and the longest Estuary in Europe.
This weekend, I wanted to ride alone – the 17 kilos of our gorgeous little boy at the back is an exercise. Mind you, à deux is also very special. I headed to the Pauillac harbor and followed the road along the Estuary to Saint-Estèphe, allowing time for a click of the shutter and a lens change of my camera along the way. The light and nature just don’t look the same when spinning wheels. I believe I “soon” shall change its color.
Which reminds me of a book I had loved several years back : “Bicycle Diaries” – one of my favorite reads.
Pauillac to Saint-Estèphe, is a lovely 20km ride round trip. I recommend following the Estuary one way, and taking the Chateaux route the other – bypassing Lafite-Rothschild, Cos d’Estournel, Cos Labory, Le Crock, Montrose, Phélan Ségur, Tronquoy-Lalande (my favorite in terms of architecture), and Meyney along the way.
Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.