Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Our First French Rider...Aurelien Fourrier

"How can anyone govern a nation that has 240 different kinds of cheese?" ~ Charles de Gaulle

Despite all the jokes about the French, Aurelien was a fine representative of his country. He grew up in the north of France and presently lives in Provence, France. For work, he is a bicycle guide with Backroads Tours (https://www.backroads.com/). So, while on holiday, what does he do? Takes a cross country tour of the United States. He likes to ride his bicycle. Aurelien is riding the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route (https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes-and-maps/adventure-cycling-route-network/southern-tier/), going from St. Augustine, FL, to San Diego, CA.

I met up with Aurelien out in the mountains East of Silver City when I went to see where he was, so I could figure out when he'd arrive at our house or if he wanted a ride in the car to our house. He was just about a mile below Emory Pass, where the scenery is spectacular, so he opted to keep riding. Smart move and the best choice since it's so beautiful to ride there. To make his ride a bit easier, I offered to take his panniers and Bob trailer. This lightened his bike considerably and made the ride out to Rt. 180 much more fun. Returning back to our house, I unloaded his gear and waited for him to text me to let me know when he was near Rt. 180, so I could give him a ride to our house. The stretch of road from Rt. 152/Rt. 180 to our house is not particularly fun around 5pm when there's a fair amount of traffic.

Aurelien is an outgoing, fun to talk to, and easy to be around kind of guy. We enjoyed his stay with us and he's welcome back anytime. We drank beer, talked about America, how the rest of the world sees America/Americans, and how crazy they think American politics are. He had broken his pump and didn't have many rear lights to use going through the tunnel between Globe and Superior, AZ, so I let him borrow two lights and a pump. When he gets done with the ride, he'll send them back to me. That's one of the things that makes touring cyclists different.

Here are some photos:
    The Bob Trailer...
    A photo op before Aurelien headed out towards Duncan, AZ.
    Getting ready to depart for the open road...
    At Emory Pass, the top of the climb...over 8000 feet.
    A good photo of Aurelien in Florida...
    A selfie at Emory Pass in New Mexico...
    Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route...

Aurelien was on a quest to get to Phoenix by Sunday, so he could meet up with some friends and go watch the San Antonio Spurs play the Phoenix Suns since there were two French guys playing basketball for the Spurs. Who knew that the French played basketball??? I joked with Aurelien about this. He has a good sense of humor. Like the Irish, I guess the French have developed a good sense of humor after being teased about being French or Irish or Polish or whatever, eh?

Aurelien has kept in touch and is now in California, almost to the end of his bicycle tour. From San Diego, he will be traveling to Hawaii, San Francisco, Portland, and finally to New York City, where he'll catch his flight back home to France. We hope to catch up with Aurelien in France somewhere down the road, so he can show us a bit of France. I have to make sure not to drink any wine until the ride for the day is over or else I'll have to take a cab. I know how I am...and French wine is fabulous! As is French cuisine and cheese. Maybe I'll just take a cab ride around France? It might be safer...

So, time to end this post. And what tune/song will work? Let's see...Edith Piaf performing, "Non, je ne regrette rien" (http://youtu.be/Q3Kvu6Kgp88). She's an amazing singer and seemed larger than life in her time and ever since. I do like classics like this song. Hope the rest of your trip is fantastique, Aurelien!!! 

A Post Script: Just heard from Aurelien last night (2/3/16) and he has reached San Diego! Congratulations! There's no feeling like that. He posted the best "finish" picture I've ever seen, too...
   Aurelien at the Pacific Ocean!!! Great photo!!!

So, here's another French guy doing some jazz...Michel Petrucciani doing "So What" with his group of jazz musicians in 1992 (http://youtu.be/plRd_Kdcu4Q). He was born with brittle bone disease that affected his growth and died at age 37 in 1999. Despite the fact that playing the piano hurt his arms, he did so anyways because of his love for the music and the piano. Reminds me a little bit of what touring can be like, but, obviously, nothing to the degree that this man overcame his suffering to bring great jazz to the public.