I have arrived, safe and sound after a very easy transition from Paris. It was so smooth I almost wondered what was going on. These things tend to be fraught with bad timing, crowds and stress. Not this time, and I certainly appreciated it.

I arrived to 35-degree heat and sun every day. First thing first, was a trip to the morning market to stock up (the peaches are heavenly, as is my favourite roast chicken). Then as quickly as possible, on to my bike for my first ride in a few weeks. One must get out early here if one doesn’t want to suffer heat stroke.

After a few days of settling in, I headed to the lovely town of Sault. I was warned that all the lavender had been harvested, but alas, this was not true. There were still beautiful patches of purple on the horizon. Sault is a very small village, with not much going on, but it is one of the routes up to the top of Mont Ventoux, it has the most amazing pizza truck in the world and the best lavender products to be found anywhere in Provence. So for me, it’s always worth a trip early in the season.


And why not just tackle the Ventoux while there? Why bother getting used to the setup on my old bike? Just go for it I thought to myself, and I am very glad I did. Though I feel as if I have been cheating on my old bike with my new one. I suppose I have, and even worse, I think I like the new one better. Oh the oldCramerotti has served me well: countless miles, racing, trips, beautiful rides all over Canada and France. But my new bike fits me like a glove, is light as a feather, and well, she sure is pretty. And now she’s got some serious miles on her too. 

However, the old workhorse and I made our way up Ventoux in record time, shattering any of my old speeds, so I can’t really complain. At the end of the ride, there is a climb back into Sault. Three Frenchmen passed me at the bottom encouraging me with, “allez, allez”. They thought they were pretty hot stuff, but no less than 30 metres later, I passed them on the climb and blew them away to exclamations of surprise. I had already ordered my pizza from the truck by the time they caught up to me. I hadn’t realized when I rode to my car, that I was passing them one more time. I was greeted with more shouting and gesticulations, one of them saying, “chapeau” which is actually an expression of admiration or respect. Poor guys, didn’t mean to crush them…

I love riding my bike, old or new, and riding in Provence is a little bit of heaven on earth.


Note: I was given a new toy this year that is highly addictive. A Garmin that shows all the details of my rides. For those cycling geeks in the bunch, here’s my ride.