But not. When riding a fully loaded bike, it is not just like riding a bike…as the oft used colloquial phrase would have you believe. Everything is a potential obstacle; ranging from the obvious (potholes, parked cars and pylons) to the otherwise innocuous (small fissures, wet pavement, grass clippings). It almost feels at first that the bike is actually two different objects being moved along by two riders. The front seems ok since you are the one in the saddle. The back, however, wags around as if it were being driven by two competing squirrels who have been drinking. And then we pile on the complexities of cobblestone and navigating Paris. The first day of actual bike travel was slightly terrifying. We made it out of the city and traveled south along the Seine. It sounds romantic. Notions of lovers in striped shirts carrying baked goods and dogs that can fit in a bag. Turns out, there is a lot of concrete and cinderblock…This kept up until we hit a small town with big traffic. And strip malls? They had more McDonalds locations than we were used to seeing. Folks didn’t seem to be to excited to have bike tourers heading through their town…this sentiment kept up for quite some time. And here we are on day two…90 miles southeast of Paris. Half of which turned out to be some fairly insane and poorly marked French single track to be navigated with the weight of a robust fourth grader strapped to your bike (it was during these long miles that my fear of grass clippings was extinguished). After examining the map at the campsite, we realized that we had inadvertently stumbled onto a very busy highway at some point (it was here that my fear of cobblestone subsided). There is a reason, we believe, that you rarely see anyone actually on bikes in this region in France. And we are also now correlating that observation with the fact that a year’s worth of research only turned up one…in the whole of the internet….resource on cycling this region. So…if any search weary traveler has stumbled into our midst compiling information for THEIR impending journey…get a train out of Paris to Montbard. Then cycle the Burgundy canal into Dijon. It will serve you and your bike well. Now I sit with a left shoulder that won’t quite do what I want it to do, some fairly blatant crotch pain and studded with mosquito bites wondering what tomorrow will bring. Hopefully it will come by train. In the name of adventure, humor and cheap wine….onward!