Wine and hills towards Lyon

Dear Lily,
After our fantastic resting day at a campsite near Buxy with your play buddies Koen, Frederike and Eline, we biked a long long way towards Lyon in two days.

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Yesterday we enjoyed the super deluxe voie verte: an old train track transformed in a high speed bike road, in the middle of nature. Such a wonderful area. Honestly one of the most beautiful and easy going bike roads on the whole way from Belgium to Lyon. You can stop at the old train stations for a rest, drink or toilet break. The views over the hills and winery’s are fantastic. Sometime you pass old castles or the famous Taizé.

Arriving at Cluny around lunch we met a nice Belgium family on their holiday and shared the table. Book one of our bike tour is offially over in Cluny and Veerle was so kind to take the “heavy” book back home to Antwerp. See you soon Veerle!

I am so happy with the 817,5 km we have done so far. I honestly never thought we would get so far. I go so slow that it is all a mindset. Mental force. After lunch in Cluny, the path became very very heavy for me. Up, down, up, down and at certain moments very very steep. Just before arriving at one of the longest biking tunnels, we met two local cyclists while I was pushing our caravan up. I was almost there ant they offered to help. We had a nice chat and exchanged good biking tips. Thanx guys for the moral help at a critical point! Never did I get off the bike that much than I did that day. These wine hills make tasteful fluids but also a lot of sweat.

The tunnel interesting! Nice, cool and refreshing! I cover you up before going in and you kept on sleeping like a rose.

From there the road to Macon went smooth. We did 60km towards Crèches sur Saône campsite where we met up again with Mark.

Part two of the benjaminse route is not that easy anymore. Both yesterday and today I died several times on the bike. It was also very very hot. I can no longer hide that I am cycling, I have distinctive tan lines. 🙈😩 Today I tried to circumvent the hills by choosing my own path along side the river. However the gravel forced me back up after 8km. I was afraid that my tires would get punctured. So into the hills and sadly also some heavy traffic at certain points. It wasn’t fun at all. I thought I would have an easy day of only 30 km. Instead I did 44km, many Beaujolais hills!

We receive a lot of reactions from other people on the road. Like in Cluny two Italian cyclists came up to greet us and asked if we do this all by ourselves. Or at the shop or the train station they start to talk to us, often a bit baffled that we have biked already all the way from Belgium. Many people react enthusiastic and I also thank the car drivers who put up their thumbs today while I was biking uphill. A lot of people are so impressed on how easy going you are little Lily. You just sing or say tataaa the whole time. I know I am privileged to have you as my partner in crime on this journey. You enjoy the ride and not once it was enough for you. Sunshine, rain, short or long days: you hop on and off in your chariot and everytime you are out you can’t wait to mount my bike and get on my saddle.
Your vocabulary is also starting to sound a bit French now. You still speak whole stories of babyish. To me, to cats and dogs, to everyone actually. Pointing your little finger expecting to be understood. The other day someone bumped his toe into your baby chair at the restaurant and you said “auw”. We all laughed to tears. img_6666
The fact that you are so small and tiny, yet almost 1,5 year, many people still refer to you as a baby. However you are physically so active, climbing on top of everything, even the big slides all by yourself. If only it moves a lot, you do it!

Evenings in the tent are just one big massage for me. When we go to bed together you just can’t stop crawling on top or over me, trying to find the perfect place to fall asleep. In the meanwhile I get feet, hands and your head everywhere. It hurts several times but isn’t a massage supposed to hurt a little bit 😉

I never cycled in my entire life. Ok, I cycle daily short distances because we don’t own a car, to go into town or do grocery shopping. However, that’s not even coming close to the physical work I do right now. My dear Lily, all the things I carry with me for you. 3 out of 4 ortlieb bags are for you! I only enjoy 2 smelly t-shirt, 2 shorts, 2 sweaters and one pair of long shaggy soccer trousers. I feel soooo sexy all of the time 🙈. Many other people who cycle (with or without kids) say we are doing a heavy schedule with 50 km a day in these conditions. Jeej!

After days of worrying, doubting, stressing even about how I am going to manage to reach the south of France by Ter Train to bike my final 200km and go over the Pyrenees to reach Barcelona, I finally decided what to do. Tomorrow I will bike back to Villefranche-sur-Saône and take the train towards Perpignan. Thank you Lily family members Ludovik & Jonathan to find a cheap train for us! On the 26th we are flying back home from Barcelona. This gives me 10 days to do the final and most difficult part. I have no clue how I will manage the height. Taking one step at the time I guess, probably literally stepping…

After that your life will change. Going to daycare everyday while I go to my new job. I sometimes wonder what you think about all of this. Do you still remember our house, do you miss it? It doesn’t seem that way and it looks like you just have accepted this new way of living: the life on the road and sleeping in a tent. No care in the world: simple and happy. All you need is love and an occasional no from mommy and you keep on going determent like you are, always on the look out to discover something new.

Let’s go to the Pyrenees tomorrow and at least try to get over them! If not by bike I will take you on my back: together or pamoja like we say in Kiswahili. I am a bit scared for the conditions, the steep road and even for failure I gueuss. My fysical boundaries have been tested already so much on this trip and I really want to believe my adventure friends when they say that by the time I am at the Pyrenees and I have done already so much km my body will be ready to do this… I only hope so, but I fear it is going to be labour, just as much labour as bring in you into this world. But all this hardship compares to nothing when I think of the people we want to help by doing this tour de charité. lily.care!

I miss you when you sleep, so I am hopping now to dreamland to be with you.

Mama ***

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