At the end of day one on a bike, I was hoping to find a better route than the 4 laner I'd taken on the way up. Fine for lunchtime, but not great from 4.30pm until past 7. If you need a hand, grab the first bike rider you can. Mine turned out to be a Canadian, so that made 3 Anglo helpers for the day. Do French people ride? I assume the lady with the stunning black leather bags on the stupendous Peugeot mixte was French. Mixtes just look so stylish, especially with the flat bars that wrap around towards the rider. About once every 2 weeks some of this pure bike porn glides past, too fast to get out the camera, of course.

The Canadian took me almost all the way home, and 2/3 was a separated bike path. What a great ride, and a nice chat too. The next few days I rode the folding bike to work. I hung it in the picturesque trees to tune the gears. I felt very lucky to have such a nice way to go. But, I was banging my knees on handlebars when out of the saddle. It started to screech in the frame, as it wasn't enjoying be powered uphills, so I sold the folder to a guy at work for 200, and bought a 2nd hand racer with shoes for 180 on the internet. The racer is quite a piece of work; columbus tubing, fancy Mavic wheels, and clip pedals. I've had 2 obligatory low speed falls, while not thinking. I'm not a fan of these shoes.

Roundabouts with clip shoes are deadly. You only get a couple of seconds space to jump in, and my foot slips off the pedal, unless you chance onto the click thing. Plus when you get to work, you need to pack some thongs to get from the car park to the building. Walking is impossible. Lucky I had some thongs from Oz. Not sure what other people do in these things. The commute now takes 45-50 minutes. The only sore part of my body is my arse. The Veneto's seat is that bit too sporty.

At this time, work moved, and we found a home. We got a truck to buy 2nd hand furniture (god, the old stuff here is to die for, and costs about 1/4 of the price of the brand new awful chipboard units). Getting smart, I threw the bike into the back of the truck so as to get home after drop off. And of course the tyres are 10 years old, cracked and deflated. Luckily everyone at work drives (or rides a motorbike), so I got a lift to Decathlon for 2 new tyres, and 3 inner tubes.

Our things arrived from Australia, including the Long Haul Trucker with it's luxurious leather seat. The new work place is 18k's away along a flat path. The wind blows the wrong way going there, and on the return, sometimes strongly. I miss the mountain ride, as the new path runs in the industrial area next to a freeway. The LHT is finally sharing the garage, after being outside in the rain for the last 2 weeks.

I told my boss I am happy now. She said great, what do the kids use to get around? At the same time, the higher powers in our household pointed out that it is very difficult at the train station, as you must carry the pram and deal with 2 children, up and down some bad staircase. Then we tried catching the bus out to where the awful chipboard furniture is sold. The bus doors closed as I ran up alongside it, carrying the 21kg child. The next bus was 35 minutes later. The trip would have been about 15 mins. As we waited with our 2 and 4 year old, she said "That's it. We're buying a car". And I knew there was no point in delaying the inevitable, or going through a pointless argument. We now own a Renault Clio Estate, with it's 20cms extra boot space.

Sadly, we accidentally blew our budget right up, so at the moment we can't actually do anything. Further to the standard bike/car story, we could have bought 3 cargo bikes with electric assist. The 4 year old's school is 1km away, and the 2 year old's childcare is 2km away. Easy distances, I know. But the childcare is up a seriously dangerous skinny mountain road, with crazy locals flying around. It makes biking a hard choice for those with kids.

Some of the roads have amazingly good bike paths, but so many don't connect up yet. For example the stunning mountain road to St Jeannet has a path, which simply ends on the bends. There is a sign that seems to say no biking, but we think it means the bike path ends. Otherwise there'd be a lot of stranded riders!

Am riding every day to work now, as per the last 4 or 5 years. My boss has said in about 3 months I'll give up... we'll see.

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Comment by Bill Parker on October 25, 2011 at 10:27am
Edward, it is a pity you got stuck in Nice, maybe best French weather, walking distance to Italy, ski fields etc etc. Quite a while ago three prople from work were sent to Brussels for 3 months (Dec - March), ie winter, maybe they weren't the best travellers (and they didn't ride bikes then) but they came back saying the best thing about Brussels was the airport, train station or "any road out of there", perhaps they might have had a better impression if they had been stuck in Nice for 3 years! Maybe we will all have to come over to visit you, next northern summer
Comment by Edward Re on October 28, 2011 at 5:27am
Yep, it is not too bad, and it's only rained heavily on 2 days since we arrived. Here also, the best parts are outside the city, which has a Surfers Paradise feel, with lots of ugly high rise towers next to the beach. The mountains around here are really picturesque, with their hilltop villages. I can't wait to get away from the computer, pack up the kids, and see some more! Work is ruining my schedule.


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