Barcelona Day 5 from Montélimar to Nîmes

Wow! Woow! Wooow! When I woke up today and looked out of the window, I couldn’t believe my eyes: Sun! No rain, not a single cloud, a bright blue sky and sunshine! But relatively strong wind. Although: Hey, it comes from behind! Today will definitely be a great day! With these perspectives I decide for the first time on this tour for my short outfit. Short trousers and shirt, sandals fit to it. Of course special bike sandals. Quickly take breakfast and then off to the buck!

Since I already passed the whole city yesterday evening and my hotel was on the outskirts, I can now start directly into the rural surroundings. Although the last few days I was anything but listless and had a lot of fun driving despite the rain, it is something else to let the sun shine on your skin while travelling. The landscape also changes. Again flatter, many fields, often interspersed with now flowering poppies. Fantastic colours.

Again it goes like yesterday along the Rhône. Often directly at the river, but also every now and then with some distance over land. The sections that lead me directly along the road are fortunately relatively little used. I enjoy the sun, but at stops I prefer shady places. It gets hot. Summery hot. I like it, the airstream cools down so much that it is still pleasant to drive.

Have I already mentioned that I planned the whole route with Komoot? For the most part, I limited myself to entering the hotel in the morning for the start and the hotel in the evening as the destination for the individual stages. Kommot calculated the route himself and I was brave enough to rely on it for the whole 2’700 km (1’700 mi). So far it has worked pretty well. But now I start to wonder. The road I am on is getting narrower and narrower. The asphalt is getting worse and worse. Until it stops completely and it continues on a sandy road. And then it happens: I stand in front of a ford! In front of me a river, through which the “road” leads. And “through” is to be taken literally. No bridge. No ferry. Tracks of vehicles lead into the river on this side and out again on the other. I leave my bike and wade a bit into the ford. The ground is quite muddy, I have a hard time with my bicycle tires. And it gets deeper – no problem for an SUV, but with my combination the water would run into the trailer and that wouldn’t be so good for all my stuff. And now what?

Thanks to a working internet I study satellite maps and tend to carry everything on foot to the other side because the detour over the next bridge would surely cost me one to one and a half hours. Zooming in further, I discover a small path that seems to go over a small bridge. A detour of maybe half an hour. That seems to me to look like a good solution, I turn around and set off.

After only 2 or 3 minutes the way becomes really bad, only two deep and washed-out lanes. Then there is a sign in French. I only know two words: Bonjour and Merci. But I have the feeling that there is something about private property. So the big detour or through the ford? I look around and nobody can be seen far and wide. Then I just drive on. If somebody stops me, I can give something in English of “do not understand French” from me. After a few hundred meters I meet a bigger, better road that I continue to follow. Then I stand directly in front of a well secured factory site with a lot of truck traffic. Everything very dusty. But next to it is the bridge over which the trucks drive. I speed over, turn off and after a few hundred more meters I am back on the planned route. Yippee! But I only have 55 km (34 mi) behind me and still 75 km (47 mi) ahead of me. So go on, eat kilometers!

On quite good roads I make good progress and pass several cities, which I luckily don’t have to cross. Kilometre after kilometre, either directly at the Rhône or in close proximity, sometimes on one side and sometimes on the other. Meanwhile, it has become quite hot, the sun is burning. The wind is strong to very strong. Usually I have it from behind, which is very pleasant and I make very good progress. But sometimes also from the side, then riding a bike is like a balancing act. As long as I don’t have it from the front, I don’t want to complain.

After about 85 km (53 mi) I reach Avignon. Here I drove once on the way to Marseille with the TGV. The city looks very inviting from the river and I would like to go for a stroll, but I still have about 45 km (28 mi) ahead of me and don’t want to arrive too late at the hotel. Gladly another time. So I drive on and after about 100 km (62 mi) I leave the Rhône, which here makes a turn to the south and drive the last kilometres in direction to the south-west to Nîmes. From the buildings a beautiful city I try as a cyclist my best to find the way planned by Komoot between the whole one-way streets through to my hotel. This is not very easy, because Kommot is based on OpenStreetMap and this seems to contain some erroneous data. But with some trial and error and map study I finally find my hotel right at the station. I still have time to go for a walk and get some new food in the supermarket. Partly it was a bit stressful today, but on the whole I can be very satisfied with this day and I am looking forward to tomorrow, because then I will see the Mediterranean for the first time on this tour!

Today it was 128 km (80 mi), for which I needed 5h 15m. I climbed 410 m (1’345 ft) of altitude.


Written on May 21, 2019