Euro Bike Trip: Into France, to the Riviera

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Looking down the channel in San Sebastian

After Pamplona the crew and I headed north into France. Jon, Chett and Marc cut through Roncesvalles and into St. Jean Pied de Port while I hopped on a bus towards San Sebastian to rest my tendinitis-plagued heal. While I wished I could continue riding with the other guys, the mini-break I took on Spain’s Atlantic coast proved to be very worthwhile, as I recuperated fully in just a few short days. I was cycling by myself for a total of six days. My solo detour was quite an adventure, and were not for a few incredibly kind and generous people I met along the way, I probably would have never made it to my final destination. The roads carried me West as I headed through cities like Hendaye, Dax, and Pau before eventually meeting up with the others just outside of Toulouse. From there we were on our way to the coastal town of Sete and the Mediterranean Sea. The trip was grueling, but after the first few views of the French Riviera all was forgotten. Take a look:

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The world famous “Conch” beach in San Sebastian.

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Walking towards the cathedral.

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Another protest, this one in Toulouse. It seemed like everywhere I went people were protesting.

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The cycle path heading out of Toulouse. I followed this river path for 40km. Sweet riding indeed.

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Finally reunited with the crew. On the day we met we realized that it was the UEFA Champions League Final so we abandoned our plan and found the first bar with a TV.

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As we probably could have predicted, one drink turned into two and two turned into too many. Before we knew it the bar had closed and we were left to finish our drinks on the stoop outside. It was 2:30 in the morning when we realized we still needed to find a place to sleep. Rather than checking into a hotel or sneaking into a campsite, we decided to improvise.

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The view from my tent when I woke up. Yes, that is a McDonalds, and yes, we slept in the parking lot.

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One of the best nights sleep of the tour. We used the bathroom, got our water bottles filled up, and had Big Macs for breakfast. Free camping? I’m loving it.

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Cruising past the Pyranees.

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Finally made it to Sete and the Mediterranean Sea. The blue water was a sight for sore eyes. Immediately upon seeing the water we ditched our bikes and jumped in for one of the best swims ever. We ended spending the rest of the day in Sete, drinking Kronenbergs along a canal and watching the sun set behind the old buildings. Our first day on the Med was truly special. It only took us three and a half weeks and 2000km of riding to get there, but sitting there by the docks, cool blue water running past our feet, it was all worth it.

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Next up: The French Riviera

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