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Riding Our Bikes Through the French Countryside

Submitted by Bethany on Tue, 04/02/2019 - 10:00

Life in the country can get a little boring sometimes. Since it's a 40-minute drive to the nearest town with something more to do than the grocery store (that's only about 10 minutes away) we have spent a lot of time watching Netflix (when the internet works), reading (me, on my Kindle), and playing games (Joel, on his phone). The four cats we are caring for are super low maintenance (especially compared to the six cats at our last housesit!) so they hardly take up any of our time, and we are looking for things to do!

We have completely cleaned out and organized the kitchen, and just last week we rearranged the living room. Hopefully, Bob likes all these changes when he gets back! (We did specifically ask for permission to move things around, we haven't gone rogue or anything.) We are also spending a lot of time figuring out where to go next - right now come to the end of May we are homeless again! 

Perhaps our favorite countryside activity has been toodling around on the two bikes Bob owns, one of which we had to spend a couple of hours fixing up. Now that both bikes are set to ride we have been getting out a few times a week, as the weather allows. One of our first trips was into the small town that is only 1 mile away - where there is a church, a cafe, and a post office. We dropped a few things in the mail for some friends before heading back home. I forgot how much more efficient biking is than walking! What would have taken us close to an hour on foot took less than half that time on the bikes. 

When we leave the house heading the opposite direction of town, we eventually come to a dead end by a lake. After discovering it our first time out on the bikes we decided to come back some sunny afternoon with a blanket and the makings of a picnic lunch! The weather here has been pretty mercurial - 45 degrees one day then 65 the next - but we try to take advantage every time there is nice weather. (And no wind. The wind can be brutal around here - there is nothing to stop it!) 

I have to say there isn't much better than a quiet afternoon spent sitting by the lake, chatting with Joel or reading the latest book on my Kindle. It doesn't make for the most exciting blog posts but it makes for a really lovely way to pass the time. 

We also found a cute little waterfall on the way to our picnic spot! 

Riding the bikes has also made me realize that I still have a ways to go when it comes to getting in shape! When I was a kid all through high school I used to ride my bike a ton - for several summers when I worked as a lifeguard I would even bike to work! I don't remember it being hard at all. Now, however, if we come across even the slightest hill I am huffing and puffing. To go into town it's uphill on the way there, then easy on the way back. To go to our picnic spot it's super easy on the way there - I could almost coast the entire way, but the way back is a lot tougher. There is one giant hill I have to walk up right now - my goal is to be able to bike it by the time we leave France!

I think part of it is that I haven't really figured out the gear-shifting yet. I have a 21-speed bike but it doesn't shift easily so often I'll just leave it on the same setting for as long as I can. Someday I hope to get one of those fancy electric bikes that you still pedal on your own but just give you some extra oomph when you need it (like on hills.) I spotted a lady riding one in Limoges last week and she was moving up a pretty steep hill effortlessly! 

For the most part, living in the country has made us shift to a slower pace of life. It has its merits, but I find myself missing the action of our last housesit when we lived just a short walk from the high street of a small but active town. I am learning that country life is not for me - it's great to visit but I wouldn't want to live here long term! But for now, I will try to enjoy it as much as I can. Hopefully, as we move further into Spring we'll get even more warm days and lovely afternoons by the lake. 

I hope things are starting to warm up and get lovely wherever you are. (Unless you're in the southern hemisphere, and then I suppose it's the opposite.) What are some of your favorite Spring activities? Do you have any suggestions for ways to pass the time in the countryside? Help a girl out! 

XOXO, Bethany