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Errands on the French Riviera

by Tyler

I was absolutely exhausted this morning when Tara shuffled me, squinty-eyed and stumbling, out of the tent and in the direction of the shower block. While I doused myself clean and scrubbed off the last bit of sleepiness, Tara packed everything and got us ready to leave. Our food supplies were low and we hadn't ordered bread from the campsite because we had intended on leaving well before delivery time at 8:30 AM. Of course we slept "in" and found ourselves looking longingly at our fellow campers and their fresh breads.

While I was rummaging through what remained of our food Tara went over to the reception area, hoping they had some extras. Luckily the baker had made a mistake and we were able to purchase the three pains aux chocolats he'd accidentally brought. Thrilled, we shared the flaky chocolate-scattered croissants before hitting the road.

Just a few kilometers out of camp I noticed a nagging 'bump' in my rear breaks. It has been there for the last week or so, due to (I thought) a slight nick in the breaking surface of my rear rim. This morning it was extremely pronounced, almost locking my rear wheel with every rotation when breaking at slow speeds. We decided to stop and investigate at a nearby McDonalds. Tara would have time to journal and I could tear apart my rear wheel, taking photos of the damage.

As it turns out, there is a crack in my rear rim joint and the braking surface is no longer completely flat. I have no idea how concerned to be about this (will the crack grow further and the rim catastrophically fail? I hope not!). I sent an email to Velocity, the company that made the rims, asking them about my concerns and reassembled my bike. Thankfully I do 90% of my braking up front!

Velocity Rim Joint

We wound up staying in McDonalds for hours getting caught up on journaling and sending responses to tons of emails. When we finally left, we were intent on doing some riding, but instead had to take advantage of a discount store I spotted about 5 kilometers down the road. We've been rationing our sunscreen for nearly a week because most shops on the coast charge close to 20 euro for a tiny bottle! In this store, weirdly named "Schlecker," we stocked up on not only sunscreen (two bottles), but shampoo, conditioner, a nice razor to replace Tara's deadly cheap ones, a bottle of lotion, and Tara's current favorite treat, a bottle of orange Fanta. All for less than €30!

Happy to be well supplied on essentials for the next month or two at low prices, NOW we could hit the road. After turning our cranks for what felt like just a few seconds we passed a discount grocer, and of course, had to stop to take advantage of it as well. Auugh! I thought we'd never get anywhere today :) We stocked up on food staples, snacks and goodies at Lidl before heading out yet again.

Reaching the coast at last we managed to put down 60km in no time, in large part thanks to lots of beautiful, flat bicycle paths. Kilometer after kilometer we either had a bike lane on the road to ourselves or our very own flower-lined cycle path. It was a really nice break not having to navigate, covering most of our distance hopping from one bike route to the next.

Almost immediately after deeming we'd ridden enough for the day, we passed signs pointing towards a nearby campsite. I wish that happened more often! There were two on the same road and we stopped at the first. It was pretty grungy and they wanted €17 a night so we carried on to the next. Though we had to push our bikes up an almost impossibly steep hill, we were more than satisfied with what we found at the top. Beautiful views, nicer amenities, and cheaper rates. Perfect!

Hilltop Campsite Hilltop Campsite View

Tara made chicken soup and chatted with our friendly caravaning neighbors while I got some work done. All in all, a very productive day. Tomorrow we have even more of the Côte d'Azur to look forward to!