Saturday, September 26, 2009

Our New Bikes

Mike and I finally bought bikes here in France – VTT (velos touts terrains) bikes, which means French mountain bikes. They are both Specialized (that is pronounced Spechialeezed in France), and they are awesome! (Yes, we have to park 'em in the house.)

Our great friend Jean-Christophe went to the bike store in Sete with us, since he knows the owner. He is also the expert in all things sportive here in France. He helped us pick out the right bikes for riding here, and he got us a great discount.

Check mine out. It’s even girlie! How funny is that? It was a total fluke. Who would know that the best choice in a bike for me would also have cute pink bamboo accents. LOL And, boy am I glad I bought these new bike shorts in Santa Cruz.

This week, Mike and I have taken 4 rides so far (it’s Friday) to the top of a nearby mountain. Mike downloaded some way cool software for the iPhone (MotionX GPS) that tracks our route, altitude, speed, distance, time, etc. It is amazing!

So, this ride is roughly 12 miles, takes us about 1.5 hours, and is about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 for difficulty. The hardest part is the fact that the trails are all very, very rocky. It results in a lot of jarring (thank goodness those bikes have great shocks!!). There are also several places where it is either sandy or gravelly, which results in lots of traction and hard pedaling to avoid having your tires sucked to a grinding halt. The hills aren’t too steep (UCSC is steeper), but the rocks and stuff make it challenging in parts.

The views from the top of the mountain are incredible. The next non-windy day, I’ll bring my camera. This is a shot from Mike’s iPhone.

Today was especially special (or is that redundant?). Both on the way out of Bouzigues and the way back in, we saw the flamingos in flight. They are incredible. It is hard to capture their singularity in words . . . their shape is completely unique in the air, somewhat like a wave, and their colors are some of the most amazing I have ever seen. In fact, their colors are on par with the color of humpback whales beneath the water in Hawaii! Or, similarly, on par with the oriental poppies in bloom covering entire fields here last May. Sublime.

Here is a photo I downloaded from the Internet to give you an idea. However, today, we saw a flock of at least 50 flamingos landing in l’etang. Magical!

Love to all!

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