What’s up with Jamie Bookwalter? She’s taking a short break from her studies to guide an awesome cycling tour in France. Here’s a note from her from the road…
I am cycling in France and I wanted to share the experience with you. For the fourth time, I am working as a guide for Binge Silver Sponsor, Destination Cycling. This custom tour is designed to ride sections of the Tour de France stages over three weeks in July.
I really enjoy seeing the different regions of France. For a country that is slightly smaller than Texas, France offers an incredibly diverse landscape. There are 18 regions in France: Côte d’Azur, Hauts-de-France, Pays de la Loire, etc. Even within each region, the architecture of each small town often is quite different from the next town. Many villages are 900 years old or older, and the houses and churches display the local stone and masonry techniques as well as characteristic roof lines and window shutters. I am consistently impressed with the pride the French people take in their villages. The sidewalks are usually swept clean and the public spaces tidy and bursting with carefully maintained flower beds.
France can also be a very traditional agricultural and pastoral centered culture. We’ve been riding over the words “STOP OURS” (stop bears) painted on the mountain climbs in the Pyrenees. Some local farmers and shepherds believe the reintroduction of bears to be dangerous to people and sheep, and are fighting the release of more Slovenian bears to the western Pyrenees, where only two male bears remain.
Tonight we are staying in the renovated stables of a chateau that was constructed in 1420, sustained extensive damage during the French Revolution, and was reconstructed in the late 18th century after the Revolution ended. The chateau has been family owned and operate for 15 generations. On the property, there is a 500-year-old oak on the property that “gives good energy” if you touch the bark. Yes, I touched the bark!
Soon my adventures in France will come to an end, but the memories will live on forever. If you have the opportunity to travel to France with your bicycle, take time to explore the villages and sample the culture and savor the experience.
See you soon,
Jamie Dinkins Bookwalter