As you have probably guessed, I am a little bit restricted at the moment after my tumble a couple of weeks ago and am already missing being able to get out on the bike. I have very quickly realised that I am really not very good at being sedentary and know that I will be back turning the pedals as soon as I possibly can.
If I’m honest it’s not just the cycling that I miss, but our breakfasts too. Over the years a stop at a boulangerie for a coffee and a croissant or pain au chocolat has become as much a part of our ride as putting on our shoes and fastening our helmets.
Whether it’s a sit down on the terrace of our favourite boulangerie at Simiane-La-Rotonde, where recently we ended up sharing a table with Laura Winter the cyclist and sports’ commentator, chatting about her excellent ‘Lessons Learned’ Podcast ….
Sitting at the boulangerie in Bonnieux watching the wonderfully warm, community atmosphere of people popping in for their morning baguette and a quick glance at the headlines in ‘La Provence’, whilst having a quick catch up with their friends.
Or simply buying a viennoiserie, before cycling out to sit on a wall, where we can sit quietly, away from other people and simply enjoy the view whilst we eat our breakfast. With everything that has happened this year, this has become our normal approach during our recent rides and has led to some very lovely mornings.
Whilst we were there last month I did a series of videos from some of our favourite sitting spots, which I’ve put together and you can find them on our YouTube channel
From our earliest holidays together we have sought out beautiful places with delightful views, where we could sit and eat & for many years we called them ‘Perfect Picnic Spots’ – though now (as our eating habits have changed) the word ‘Picnic’ just needs replacing with ‘Croissant’
In this little video, the four breakfast ‘walls’ I visited have some of the best views in the area (although there are many others we love too) and they certainly show the valley at its best.
From Menerbes and Bonnieux with their spectacular views across the valley floor towards The Vaucluse Plateau and ever-present Mont Ventoux…
To Gordes and Caseneuve that are like a pair of book-ends sat high on outcrops at either end of the valley, with views that seem to go on forever into the distance in tones of grey, blue and purple.
Just sitting at these spots, slowly peeling apart a pain au chocolat, eating the flaky, buttery layers before finally munching through the chocolate is such a simple joy. The early morning light is always soft and beautiful, only matched by the peace that normally comes at that time of day too.
Sometimes though, it is as if we are sitting in the middle of a time-lapse film whilst we sit there, with people constantly coming and going around us, as we are just totally absorbed by what is in front of us, enjoying every last crumb of the pastry and watching the shadows shorten as the sun rises higher in the sky.
Our cycling ethos is actually quite simple – we go ‘croissant-chasing’ rather than the more widely-recognised ‘col-chasing’, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
Cycling to a viewpoint and just stopping to take a moment to enjoy where we are, never loses its appeal and at the moment I realise just how much I miss it.
So whilst I’m off the bike and incapacitated, you’ll find me doing my best to recreate the experience, sitting on the sofa watching the videos we’ve uploaded over the last few weeks and of course enjoying every moment of the Tour de France, with coffee and toast made with Andy’s superb home-made bread.
I know it’s not quite the same, but believe me (at the moment) it’s better than nothing … and Andy’s bread is pretty sensational!
I suppose if I were to reflect a bit on the conversation we had with Laura Winter at Simiane, I would say that my biggest ‘lesson learned’ this year is to make sure I stay on my bike in the future so that I don’t have to miss any more of our lovely breakfast rides!
Let’s hope it’s not too long until I can get back to them