CLC18.4 Spring is here, or so we hope.

Well, folks, its been a long time coming, but it seems like we have finally turned the corner on spring. Today the sun was in full evidence and the temperatures were finally getting comfortable enough to ride without adding enough layers to cut off circulation in the extremities. Its not like I haven’t been on a bike, but I figured that I have said about all there is to say about riding to the bakery and back every morning for bread. So let’s go for a nice long ride!

The old roman road is starting to dry out, but it may be many weeks before its passible in the low spots. Marcus Agrippa preferred to use fords over small streams rather than bridges to keep the costs down and to speed road construction as he prepared to defend the frontiers of the empire against the barbarian hoards.

There is still a lot of standing water in the fields. This will doubtless affect crop yields later in the year.

The river Vouge is back in its banks, but still really full.

When I get to St. Jean de Losne, its just gone noon, so in keeping with the rules of the CLC, I start looking for a place to spend some money. How can one resist a menu like this?  Everything fresh and made to order.

I choose a roadside table with a view over the Saone. The peniches are still in winter quarters on the far bank. Some of these will voyage this summer, while others are semi-permanent floating homes.

I chose pavé du thon à la citronelle et sesame, tuna steak in citronella and sesame sauce, on a bed of braised cabbage. Delicious. I followed that with a tarte tatin, apple upside-down cake, and coffee.

After lunch I crossed the river and headed up the Saone on the far bank to Auxonne, where I re-crossed the river. I was soon passed by a young racer out motor-pacing behind a mobylette mo-ped.

Not a chateau, but the seat of local government in Athée.

On the ride home I stopped in Genlis to sit by the river Norge a while and watch the ducks and a swan. Still not a cloud in  the sky and all in all a rather perfect day.

Old fogy from France. Rides bikes and eats.

11 response to "CLC18.4 Spring is here, or so we hope."

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: April 8, 2018

    Good to see that your weather may finally be starting to improve. And now I know that it was the Romans that the rural road engineers in Oz have taken their inspiration from! Best wishes for more sun and warmth 🙂 Em

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: April 9, 2018

      Hi Em,

      I can’t speak for Aussie engineers, but the Roman ones were phenomenal. That road was built in 19 BCE and last repaired in the third century. Where it was possible it was reused as in the main route between Dijon and Langres. Other places where the traffic is lighter it’s too much trouble to repair it. The foundations of these military roads are often a full meter thick and hard as concrete. After two thousand years the gravel used in construction has fused into a mass. We won’t be around to find out what happens to our modern roads.
      The fords, however, are mostly choked with mud from the streams they cross. No legionnaires on work detail to shovel them out as in the “good old days”.


      P.s. I see this is a rather long-winded reply, but hey, you style yourself “nerdy”, so I gave you an appropriate response!

      • By: The Navigator Posted: April 10, 2018

        I truly enjoyed the explanation. Yes, Roman infrastructure and architecture are absolutely and amazing. I guess I was thinking the Aussie engineers were more inspired about building causeways instead of bridges (we have lots of roads with ‘floodways’, but it is understandable when so few use the road and it is dry most of the time!). We certainly don’t have any roads with a metre of gravel or concrete underneath – the thinnest layer of chip-seal with the largest diameter chip they can get away with is more the method here. Could you do a bike tour using Roman roads following certain military campaigns or other historical events? That could be really interesting!

        • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: April 10, 2018

          Hi Em,
          Yes, you could follow some of the roman military roads and there is even a marked trail from the site of Bibract, where Caesar wintered his legions 53-52 BCE, to Alesia, where he finally defeated the Gauls the following summer. But it would be best to do it on a MTB. The legions didn’t like to deviate from the straightest route, so it gets pretty rugged in places. The major trade roads, like the via Domitia in the south of France and in Spain are still largely in use. In Beziers there is a magnificent bridge spanning the Orb with its nine arches intact and still in everyday use. There are other bridges along the route, but many of them are in ruin. I photographed one of them last year when I went to Languedoc. You can see that over on CycleBlaze. You can also find the roman milestones here and there along the route, although most of them have been moved to museums for “safe-keeping”. I guess it would be possible for someone to steal one of them, but they are over 2 meters tall and weigh several tons each.


          • By: The Navigator Posted: April 12, 2018

            Thanks for the info, Keith. Sounds awesome – I think you need to do one of those rides so we can live vicariously through you. I don’t know when I will get to Europe. I’ve always envisioned it as somewhere I’d tour “when I get older”, but I…ahem… am starting to get to ‘older’ now! Until my parents are gone, my international trips will be back to the US to see them, so hopefully it is awhile before I have the freedom to go elsewhere on holiday. Thanks again – I’d love to see a Roman Routes ride written up somewhere on a bikepacking forum – I’ll have to look around. I know someone’s done it – just a matter of whether they’ve written it up.

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: April 9, 2018

      Hi Scott,

      The sun was great. Today, it’s,raining. Sigh.


  2. By: Kathleen Jones Posted: April 8, 2018

    Keith dear,

    We wish Europe could have sent us more of the rain this winter, but it is what it is. Glad you’ll be drying out soon. We approve of the menu and the meal you ordered. You get points for bringing haute cuisine to the CLC. Well done.

    -Yr Goddess

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: April 9, 2018

      If it was in my power to do so, I would send all this water to you. Today it’s raining.


  3. By: Bill Stone Posted: April 8, 2018

    Hi Keith,

    You make me so ashamed of my habitual bicycling luncheons of peanut butter and honey sandwiches. At least I brew my own tea. 😉

    • By: Bikerdockeith Posted: April 9, 2018

      Hi Bill,

      Peanut butter is something I gave up years ago, except for cooking. You can make some really great “energy” bars with p.b., oatmeal, chocolate chips and dried cranberries. But here it’s just too easy to find a small restaurant with reasonable prices to bother with bars.
      EDIT bars where they serve beer excepted.


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