Friday 27th July
Montbéliard to Basel: 4 hours 42 minutes, 90km
“So today I made it across France. My first country on European mainland had been crossed. Just want to shout out to everyone reading and following my trip! Thanks for all your comments, I am getting and reading them all – its very encouraging and helps me try keep things interesting. Sorry if I don’t respond to all of them.
Andrew Sykes (the guy I stayed with on my very first night in Reading) is reposting my blog posts on his site cyclingeurope.org. He did a European tour a few years ago from Reading to Brindisi (tip of Italy) and wrote a book about his experience. It’s a highly entertaining read and I would recommend it to anyone embarking upon a cycling adventure (or anyone who enjoys following an adventure for that matter), it’s full of interesting stories about the towns he passed through and the people he met along the way. He’s planning another tour for next year following another route (Eurovelo 8) along the Mediterranean. Thanks Andrew, and I appreciate all your comments!
Back to the days events…
Stijn rode out with me in the morning and showed me where the best cafés and boulangers were in town. He left me at the tourist office as he headed off to work. Montbeliard is a quiet town, and mainly exists due to the nearby Peugeot Factory. It has what any French town has or needs.
I made my way to the commercial centre just outside town, to buy a new odometer. Standing in front of a range of bicycle computers in Inter Sport, it occurred to me that the batteries in my old odometer just might be dead. With new hope, I left Intersport and headed over to Leclerc (a large convenience/grocery store), where I purchased two new batteries. Sitting in a shady corner of the car park, I replaced the battery in the sensor and reattached it to the front wheel. I did a quick test ride around the car park and to my relief the computer started registering my speed! It was fixed! How stupid of me not to have thought of that earlier.
The day was uneventful, as I passed from industrial town to industrial town. I stopped for a break under a bridge and had some Stroopwafels (a Dutch treat), which Stjin had given to me as a snack for the road.
I pulled into Camping du Petite Port, just north of Basel, still on French soil. Andrew Sykes had suggested I stay there as it was where he had stayed on his journey south, and he had had a pleasant experience there. This was the point where our two journeys intersected. I could not resist the thrill of crossing my first border and so I decided to do what he did, and cycle across the footpath bridge (that does resemble the Sydney harbour bridge) into Germany.
I returned with a chocolate milkshake and a pretzel and sat down at a one of the campsite tables. I was joined by a fellow cycle tourist, who is a teacher back in Paris and was cycling to Zurich to meet some friends. He was looking for a new destination though, as those friends were not there anymore. We chatted about the various French towns that we had passed through and about the unknown towns that lay ahead.”