10 Things I Learnt Riding To France For The First Time

Last week S and I set off for a quick European getaway by hopping on the bike and riding to France for the first time.

I say “we” took but what actually happened is S rode the bike and I sat on the back singing Spice Girls over the intercom with the occasional pip of childish glee thrown in every time we drove past a dog I wanted to pet. I’ll be going over the route we took and the things we saw and did whilst over there in future posts, but for now I thought I’d tell you about the ten things I learnt when riding to France for the first time, because riding across a country when the longest you’ve spent on a bike beforehand is 20 minutes is… Well, it’s a learning curve!

1) Being a passenger on a bike (with a back rest!) cruising along the French countryside for hours in 30’c heat is the most relaxing thing ever and you will want to fall asleep a few times.

2) You will fall asleep.
Not on the bike, but approximately 30 seconds after stepping off the bike.

That puddle of human you see above? The one blended into the grass with a helmet sticking out?
That’s me. Fully geared up and passed the eff out.

3) Falling asleep is not good.
Sugar is veryyy good.

4) Riding to France for the first time fuelled solely on sugar, is not good.
Especially if that sugar comes in the form of Coffee CaraFrappeWhateverTheyreCalleds, because you will be awake for ten minutes and then point two will happen. Point two is not advisable.

5) 30’c is hot.
30’c heat in a bike clobber is hell.

6) Gloves with built-in linings on a hot day are the devil’s work.
Get yourself a single layered glove and save yourself the emotional breakdown which happens after the third toll-booth you have had to take your glove off for and now can’t get back on.

7) I have ignored every piece of advice my mum ever gave me about not taking sweets from strangers. On day one I took jellybeans (which I was offered – cheers Gav!) from a stranger on the Channel Tunnel and on day two, S and I were invited by a group of non-mudery looking French gentleman, to indulge in their sausage, cheese and wine picnic. FYI – That’s not a euphemism. There was legit sausage, cheese and wine. It was amazing and I didn’t get stabbed which was even more amazing. Ah travel <3

8) Romance is not dead.
Forget hearts and flowers. Romance comes in the form of your other half putting his arm in front of your leg during one hell of a hailstorm to save a small part of you from getting pelted to death. (I had been caught in one prior to this, aI have bruises and it was très painful).

9) If you have long hair the tangle teaser is your best friend.
I lost five hairbands during this trip which meant that after a day of riding, my hair was knot looking good. This post is not sponsored by them fyi, I just legit love their brushes because they tackle the knots without scalping you and making you bald in the process.

10) It is the unwritten rule that all bike riders must acknowledge other bike riders.
For England the secret code is a subtle hand raise with the left hand.
For France the secret code is a subtle stick out of the right leg.
It’s weird, it’s cute and it’s peculiar how a little wave or leg lift can brighten your day.
There’s just not the same comradery with cars!

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