Chennai: While most couples stick to the clichéd European holiday tropes of posing by the Eiffel Tower and Swiss Alps, this couple took Tour de France a bit too seriously and decided to explore France and Switzerland on bicycles.
Meet Gomathy Nivedena and her beloved husband Jayendran from Mugappair, Chennai, who undertook an epic 500-km cycling tour of Europe – the dreamland of travelers. Gomathy narrated her adventures to News Today and we have tried our best to accommodate the best bits within the confines of this page.
“I was pretty shocked when my hubby suggested we do a 500-km cycling trip from Paris, France to Nyon, Switzerland,” says Gomathi. While Jayendran was familiar with long distance cycling, for Gomathy this would be her first time. On top of that, it was a self-supported trip.
“To be on the saddle for over six hours for seven consecutive days with a target average of 80km per day, I had to build up my endurance,” Gomathi said. They also carried their own bikes, assembling them at the Paris airport when they arrived and rode with just one pannier (bicycle bags) each.
Gomathi says that the first two-day were the easiest. “We explored Paris on the first day and my better half had de-greased, oiled and pumped air in both the cycles. When it comes to cycle maintenance, he was my saviour.”
“The 76km from Paris to Fontainebleau the next day was a cakewalk flat ride on scenic cycling tracks along Seine river with proper breaks in-between. We learned that cycling uphill with our panniers (a bag for bicycles) is going to be tough and time-consuming.”
The maiden 100
Next comes the challenging parts. The couple cycled from Fontainebleau to Fleury-la-vallee through Sens in a single day covering a distance of 106 kms. Gomathi said, “This was my maiden 100 km on a cycle and doing it with my better half in France on a holiday was an incredible experience.”
But the ride was not without its challenges as rain beat down and the temperatures plummeted below 10 degrees. “We were riding with drenched clothes. We had difficulty operating mobiles for navigation and there was no food. I couldn’t take it anymore! But, my determined husband was certain to complete the target for the day. If not, we would have had to replan everything which would have cost us a lot of money.”
Gomathy says the ‘best of the best’ cycling tracks that Europe had to offer in their trip was the 76 km track between Semur-en-Auxois and Beaune.
“Nature was so beautiful that I had the impulse to stop every five minutes to capture the beauty I see. It was like cycling in a wonderland filled with greenery, lakes, mountains, valleys, and attractive farmhouses. I had only seen these images in wallpapers!” she exclaimed.
Though they had initially planned to cycle till Nyon in Switzerland, they decided to complete the last 86 km by bus. Nevertheless, the French countryside compensated by providing them with the best sights as they were riding in spring when the flowers were in full bloom.
“We hope to come back for riding in Switzerland and we can now confidently say that cycling is the best way to explore Europe,” says Gomathi on a concluding note.
You can reach Gomathi at 93622 00200