Friday, July 4, 2014

I Love France (and You Too Switzerland)

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

Once upon a time I thought I'd use this day to circumvent Lake Geneva, a distance of about 110 miles. However, I realized the bike rental location I was going to use wanted a two day rental at 40 CHF per day. Plus the weather forecast called for a 90% chance of thunderstorms. The ride was off.

Train Station
Geneva, Switzerland

Well, the big ride was off. Staying one block from the train station, I found a bike rental location called Geneva Roule which was on the other side of the train station. For 25 CHF I had a BMC road bike for the day.
Geneva Roule

I did not know where I was going. I was negotiating 100% by "feel" and just a little knowledge. This can be dangerous. Or fun. I knew the train station was north and west of the
Rhône river so I looked at the sun and headed south. And east.

Geneva, Switzerland


There are many bike lanes in Geneva. Some are marked along with bus and taxi lanes and many run the same direction as the trolley tracks. Be very careful my friends.


Geneva, Switzerland


I crossed a bridge and then started my ride following Lake Geneva. I reasoned if I stayed closed to the lake I could not get lost. My original ride plan which would take me around the lake was simply using the roads that were hugging the lake.



Geneva, SwitzerlandRhône River

I was on city streets and saw there was a bike path next to the lake so I jumped on it. At Vesanaz the road peeled away from the lake. I went through a construction area and dropped most of the traffic as I continued on the back road.



Bike Lane painted leaving traffic with 1 1/2 lanes

On the road out of Geneva the bike lane is a bit higher than the regular lane and a bit lower than the walking lane. Each separated by an angled "curb." Or sometimes the pedestrian lane was simply divided by paint. 

Bike Lane with angled curb


And then it happened. I was going through Hermance, Switzerland and was going up the road, a slight climb, with some gravel on the road and a park and soccer field to the left. Maybe it was Chens le Pont or Sous le Cret. Or maybe even Lagraie. Little towns within two kilometers (one mile) of one another. 



I think the Province/Region sign is behind this construction sign
Welcome to France

It just seemed French and no longer Swiss. And I noticed a road sign, D 20. I AM IN FRANCE!


French Road Signs
I am in France!


I think I was expecting a welcome sign. A
Bienvenue sign. I doubted there would be passport control. But I was riding and had this moment -- I am riding in France. And it was great. I was smiling.


I liked Italy. I like Switzerland. But there is just something about France. I love riding here. 



Commune de Nernier, France

I had angst yesterday traveling from Tirano to Geneva. It was a long, but beautiful, day on multiple trains. I worried about getting a smoking room in Geneva (I didn't). I didn't know where the hotel was. But getting on the bike and riding in France, that made everything better.

Commune de Nernier, France

In Chens-Sur-Leman I passed a bakery and cursed myself for not bringing those couple of 2€ coins I still had left. They were in my pants in the bike shop and would be so better used stopping and enjoying a chocolate croissant. 

Always use SPF 1000 on your feet

As I was riding on a beautiful country road I saw an old church and diverted to it. There I discovered a community called Commune de Nernier. What a neat old village right on Lake Geneva. It was gated and I don't know if I was allowed to bike in it but I did.




I was just so happy riding for part of a day in France. If I had any doubts how much I love riding in France the smile on my face said it all today.

Commune de Nernier, France

I returned to Geneva and used some time to explore parts of the town. It is a great city and I don't want to diminish how much I like it here too by raving about riding in France.
Geneva, Switzerland
Rhône River


Looking back, I had a week of climbing some classic cols. That brings a satisfaction, especially Stelvio, unlike anything else. But riding in France today -- pure joy!

Geneva, Switzerland
Rhône River





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