Day 3 of our cycling tour was a great day. It began when we first opened our eyes and realised that it didn’t actually rain the night before. Our preparations turned out to be totally unnecessary but would be good practice for later in the trip.
I set about working on breakfast, while Bert worked on packing up the tent. We bought some oats the day before and had some spring onions left over. I added almonds to bulk it up and took some bread from the previous day.
We set out along the coast, cycling for about 108km of mostly flat and straightforward biking. With stunning views and easy riding, it was a really good and needed third day, which allowed us to refuel our tanks and rediscover our confidence in the road that lied ahead.
Although the morning started great, it didn’t involve fresh French bread and I knew I needed a croissant, so once we had made enough progress, I kept an eye out for a bakery and made an abrupt right turn into a roadside purveyor of delicious pastries. Bert had an éclair.
Later, we stopped at a beach for lunch, after having some trouble locating an open supermarket. We decided not to swim because we wanted to make a lot more progress in terms of distance and, instead, contented ourselves with a great view. Funnily enough, most of the people on this beach spoke German. I guess we found a major tourist destination for Germans! It probably would have been a great beach to swim at because it was quite shelted, meaning there would not be a lot of waves and the water would have the chance to warm up. I’d like to come back to this beach some day with Jelena.
Before we got to Cannes, we were treated again to some amazing sights, in the form of coasts and great rock formations.
Another thing we did before getting into Cannes-proper was to stop by Decathlon, a discount French bike shop. I’ve heard a lot about it on the reddit and people seem to really like it. Actually, we had already stopped by a Decathlon earlier in the day and didn’t find what we were looking for (cable ties). Why cable ties? Well, the rack on my bike, which holds the back bags, is busted and we were afraid it might eventually break apart totally. Bert suggested cable ties to repair it. Unfortunately, Decathlon doesn’t have cable ties, nor does it have good replacement racks. In fact, after 3 visits to Decathlon on our trip (including one on day 4), I discovered Decathlon actually sucks. They don’t ever have what you need – we even couldn’t find AAA batteries! I guess they’re popular because they’re cheap.
We went on to Cannes afterwards, which was a bit of a snooze. We drove through it and enjoyed the nice-looking buildings but there’s nothing too special there – I don’t even have any pictures! We were also a bit dismayed that no Cannes film buffs recognised the director and co-star of the Killer Refrigerator series. We expected red carpet treatment but got snubbed, just like the Academy has done to Bert and Andrew for years.
With a good number of kilometres under our belt, a happy sense of accomplishment, and the camp in sight on Google Maps, we decided we had earned a beach break and pulled over just after Cannes.
It’s always a little nerve-racking when you’ve got all your stuff on the bike and want to go swimming. Last time, we took turns in the water. This time, the beach was fairly empty and our bikes were pretty close to the water. We decided to both jump in simultaneously and just keep the bikes under our watchful eyes. There were no problems, even though we did eye suspiciously anybody who dared come within 10 metres of our bikes.
The water was really refreshing – and still warm, even without the glaring sun. This was a break well-earned and we took the time to relax and enjoy our time on the coast. Sadly, we still needed to eat and check into the camp, so we had to get out of the water before too long.
Although I generally hate shopping at home, I love shopping abroad. It’s always interesting to see what different things they’ve got in the grocery store, especially when you’re in France or Italy. These are two food-loving countries and there are always good things. I picked up a roast chicken for an easy and warm dinner, as well as some sausages in different forms. There are some little bite-sized ones that make perfect sources of quick protein while riding. I also grabbed a garlic, which I would use for the rest of the trip. What is the point of cooking without garlic?
While Bert busied himself with setting up the tent, I cooked us up some dinner. You can spice up plain old rice by first frying some garlic in the pan – then you add the rice and water. After the rice was done, I fried up some peppers and onions and then mixed it all together. With the roast chicken, we had a feast fit for hungry cyclists.
We met a cool German guy from Hamburg (Michael) at this camp and he talked to me while I cooked. The only bad part was I got distracted and burnt my fingers a little. Still, burnt fingers are worth meeting a new friend at the campsite. He told us about his trip to France through the Alps and we gained some insights about what lay ahead. What we found especially interesting (and crazy) was that he did the whole trip on a folding bike. How he did that I don’t know, but Michael’s tales and friendliness secured him as one of the legendary people we met on our trip.
Overall, this day was exactly what we needed, after surviving two challenging days previously. It set us back on course for the amazing journey we had ahead of us. What we didn’t know was that a great catastrophe awaited us on day 4. More on that later.
Did you miss a previous day’s tales or are you looking for an easy overview? Then check out the European Biking Tour 2019 page to get a list of all the days and reports from me and Bert!