Brits abound

With only two weeks to go to my departure for Austin, I realised that a few longer rides were in order and on similar terrain to that which I’ll encounter in Texas. Yesterday, like today and pretty much most days recently, was glorious. I left the Domaine around 10:00am, having avoided the early morning traffic. The Domaine is securitised by way of a barrier. To exit the mechanism automatically senses an approaching vehicle and raises the barrier. I am clearly too small (phew!) to be recognized as a vehicle and have to rely on the security guards to raise it as I approach. The service is outsourced and while we have a number of regulars, from time to time, we have newbies who don’t realise that they have to raise the barrier for me. This means it always has to be approached with caution. Obviously, we had a newbie in charge so I had to dismount and duck under the barrier.

I decided on a round trip to St Raphael. I hadn’t cycled along the coast for months; it’s a route to avoid in the summer for obvious reasons. My traffic light karma was in overdrive with all the lights turning green just as I approached – perfect. I breezed past loads of riders on the coast road between Villeneuve Loubet and Antibes; it was clearly going to be a great ride. On the short hill up to Boulevard Kennedy on Cap d’Antibes, I was wheel sucked by four gentlemen who turned out to be Brits from the Wirral down here on their annual boys biking trip. They asked if they could cycle with me and I agreed. I sensed a tinge of envy in their voices when I revealed that I lived down here and was able to cycle most days – cycling nirvana indeed.

As we cycled along, I was happy to explain other cycling routes they might enjoy and places they might visit before their return to Blighty on Saturday. They much admired my beloved bicycle but were not familiar with the BMC brand! We also discussed at length the growing interest in cycling in the UK. I don’t think it’s ever going to approach the deeply entrenched continental European love of cycling but it’s nonetheless very welcome.

Many hours later, I arrived back at the Domaine to discover the same guard was on duty. I rode up the steep hill to the barrier which he opened only as I dismounted. I popped into his office to explain the need to open the barrier as I approached so that I wouldn’t need to slow down and could just sail through in either direction.

My husband is away in London, his gout having subsided sufficiently, so I was able to sink into my spa bath for a reviving soak before heading out again to a meeting over in Antibes.

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