We decided to take today off, a sort of settling in period before the next leg of cycling along the Loire. With no plans for the day, I made sure it would be a lazy one.
A trip to the supermarket was in order after breakfast. With Bastille Day on the horizon, we wanted to stock up on supplies for the next two days just in case nowhere would be open. They very well could be open but if the 40 hour lunch breaks the French normally take are anything to go by, I highly doubt it. The walk to the supermarket was great fun. While on the bikes, we’re in single file a lot of the time. This makes it hard to hold a conversation. It was nice to be able to talk shite again and just stroll around together.
The supermarket we went to was huge. Like, Walmart huge. Everything under the sun was inside. There was even a guy there whose sole job was to weigh your fruit. Yes, his job was to place your fruit on a machine identical to the one my Nan uses in SuperValu back home. How helpless do you have to be to need a guy to push the banana button for you? We opted not to use said service and focused on our list instead. Along with the food, we were able to pick up some new brake pads for Ruth’s bike. While flying down the steep hills two days before, Ruth kept telling me there was something wrong with her bike. I kept brushing it off, insisting that, “Meh, it’ll be grand”. It turns out she had lost one of her back brake pads while descending the 8% gradient hills on a fully loaded tourer. Woops!
The rest of the day consisted of us lazily setting up pitch at a table by the camp restaurant. We took full advantage of the free Wi-Fi and Skyped home for the first time, mainly just to show the Mammies that we weren’t dead yet. We were meant to be meeting Ruth’s mom in Italy in about two months, but while talking to her we discovered we had the date wrong and she’d be there two weeks earlier than we thought. Balls! We were already pushing 100km a day to make sure we made it to Italy in time but now we hadn’t a hope. After a little fretting session, we went back to the drawing board and worked out a new route. We figured that, with a little re-jigging and a small train ride, we might still be able to make it in time to meet up. The new plan meant that we would cycle to the end of the Loire path and take a train to Mulhouse, near the German border.
We only noticed today just how much time we waste on the internet back home. After five days of pretty much no connection, to have full Wi-Fi was a bit mad. So far, deciding which way to go involves a bunch of maps and the ever so accurate thumb and index finger measuring system to work out distances. You would think that this would take way longer than using a certain popular route planner, but you would be wrong. Every bloody time we went to look up a route or train time we would just ‘have to’ take a look at Facebook or the latest FailArmy video on YouTube. Now don’t get me wrong, watching FailArmy videos is never a waste of time. Quite the opposite actually. There is very little in this world funnier than people falling. It’s my evil little pleasure. I won’t say guilty pleasure because I don’t feel guilty about it at all.
Anyway, the moral of the story is that we got to talking about internet use and the like. It reminded me of something I had read before about which type of life was better - a life where you’re subjected to so many stimuli that you’re easily bored, or a life so absent of any stimulus that the most simple of things excites you.
I think that I would probably fit into the latter. I’m the opposite of the guy that has to have their smart phone with them all the time. I broke my jazzy new Sony phone just two months after getting it last year and rather than getting it fixed, I just went back to my old brick with no internet access. Constant connection to the internet is just a bombardment to the senses, there’s no need for it all. If news is important enough, I’ll hear about it somehow. As for that child in North Korea who trained his cat to dance the Hokey Pokey? Yeah, I can live without seeing that.
On a different note we’re back on the bikes tomorrow. It’ll be odd seeing so many people but it’ll be great to talk to other tourers and hear about their trips.
ar an rothar
endurance cyclist, adventurer and usually hungry