We actually slept pretty well, in the end Both of us woke up a little before midnight and were wide awake. However, after about an hour, I fell asleep, and then eventually Natalie did too. I slept in until almost 8. Natalie slept till a bit after 7. I was actually hoping to wake up a little bit earlier and start putting the bike back together. It was split in half and in a storage room in the hotel. We feel like we’ve experienced a little bit of a miracle. Normally when I take the bike apart, I can be very careful to ensure every nut, washer and bolt is back in place before I move the bike. Yesterday we had disassembled it on the side of the road and just throw all the bolts and nuts in a Ziploc bag and shove the bike in the back of the van. We just hoped that we didn’t lose anything on the ground where we were taking it apart. The taxi driver found a small brake pad in the back of the van yesterday right before he left (the rear brake caliper has to come off in order for the bike to split in half and separate, because it and the shift mechanism for the Rohloff has to go with the front of the bike). Had he not seen that we wouldn’t have had rear brakes for the next several days. Amazingly every nut, washer, and bolt (and brake pad) has been found and we’ve been able to reassemble the bike. We count it as a miracle.

Getting everything put in order and packed on the bike took a little bit longer, and we didn’t start riding until 9:30 AM. Within the first half hour we ran into our first obstacle. Sometimes they make the bike trails so that only bicycles and pedestrians can access them. They do this by making a few short sharp corners with fencing. While this works for normal sized bicycles it doesn’t work for ours. The first one we came to required us to unload all of our panniers so we could lift the bike over.  One of the subsequent obstacles was navigated by picking the front of the bike up so it was near vertical instead of horizontal and pushing the back wheel through like a unicycle. Three kind bystanders hurried tu help us. This allowed us to save the time of removing the panniers. There should be an Olympic sport, like the steeplechase, but with big, heavy, recumbent bikes, and obstacles like this.

Today’s ride involved a lot of different riding surfaces. We were on city streets, paved bike paths, dirt roads, large dirt paths, and single track trails. Some of the surfaces slowed us down a bit, but it was an absolutely stunning way to see this part of France. We see landscapes that other tourists might not see. Most of the day we rode along the Seine (a major river of the Paris region) and later some of its smaller tributaries. We love riding near water. Since it was Saturday, many people were out enjoying the river and its shores in all kinds of ways: picnics, waterskiing, fishing, etc. We also were on a bike route called Eurovelo 3 pretty much all day. 

Because of our late start we began looking for a hotel a little bit late. We were not able to find one in the city we wanted to go to: Montargis. Instead we stopped 20 miles short in a town called Nemours and are in a simple but nice hotel. This is where we’ll take our rest day tomorrow. Next week we’re going to have to stick to a more regimented schedule so we can make it to our booked airbnb in Strasbourg. It is generally nice not to have reservations because that allows us to ride further on the days we are feeling good; however, sometimes it backfires, like today.

We are comfortable and well fed and ready to rest.

Thinking back on yesterday’s adventures, we are increasingly grateful that everyone involved was safe. And we are happy today was much calmer.

PS from Natalie: I have had to use my rusty French a lot more than expected! It has been helpful and fun. I am getting better at not being embarrassed about all my mistakes, and I also am happy that I am good enough to understand and communicate all right most of the time. We encounter so many kind people on these trips, in general. “There is good in the world, Frodo!” (LOTR quote). 

Photos to follow tomorrow. We are sleepy.

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