Sunday, 28 June 2015

Wahahey! La Belle France!

We made it! We transibericed!
We made it up and over the Coll d'Ares, one of the little passes of the Pyrenees, a doddle at only 1513m.
Adventurous going down on the extra steep French side in the rain, sheltering in fruit stands by the road side, passing overturned cars...

At the bottom of the hill we stopped in Ceret. Here once upon a time Pablo Picasso and his friends hung out, The Grand Café, is still operating today, This is the old museum of modern art.  We prefered the old one to the new one. Neither were accessible. The old one was more interesting as art. 
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We had to cycle past three dangerous Robo Geishas! We know they hide chainsaws and samurai swards in their kimonos.

We made contact with Ceret en Transition. A bit last minute so not much happened, but they're there, they just opened a little organic cafe as part of the association and they're in the process of overturning the local government. Go go go!

Then a little further down the hill we went to visit our old friends from Energie Citoyenne in Perpignan.

Energie Citoyenne

And of course visiting old friends we made, encore plus new friends.
The Energie Citoyenne velo division is working on opening a Maison du Velo where people will be able to fix their bikes and have access to cheap bikes.


And then it was time to meet the cyclists from the  TOUR ALTERNATIBA 66


They cycled for four days, from the top of the mountain, meeting people who do good things, organising little events. We joined them in Perpignan and cycled together to Calce where we spent the evening in the company of many lovely people and Le Professeur Boum Boum.

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Le Porfesseur Boum Boum  explains in simple words and with funny musical interludes the ecological and economical state and affairs of our world. Ici a little youtube clip part 1 la haut.

It was an epic etape the next day - 92km with 50km/h winds straight in our faces!
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In a massive team effort and with some music playing on Kevins bike to keep the legs going round, we made it to Narbonne well in time for the Velorution with Velo Cite Narbonne and Le Tour Alternatiba.

La reine de la velorution Narbonne en porte bagage !

In Perpignan we saw this recumbant bicycle that someone had made themselves out of bamboo... very nice!
And in Narbonne this beauty of a mini racer hung upon Gilberts garage wall... aaah!

On our first leg with the Tour Alternatiba we stopped for lunch at the refugee welcome center in Bezier. Here we met the president of Velociutat Bezier. Later on that day we met Hubert who is part of the festival du Roc Castel, which this year celebrates slow travel for a whole week.


At lunch in Bezier we also had a demonstration of wood gas stoves and another beautiful solar cooker, along with a degustation of yummy pizza and aubergines....

And a couple of days later in Arles we found the answer to our question, whether there is anything like a table top solar cooker....
The Hot Pot Solar Cooker, known as “Tilenafa” in Mali, and “Olla Solar” as it is known in Mexico folds up into a nice little square and isn't all too heavy either. Just need to find some shiny shiny things now...

En route with

La solution est la!

In the evening in Sete we made some more friends...


...and decided to stay another couple of days to witness the birth of the Sete Cycling Campaign....and pique-nique avec Sel en Sete.
Sète en transition est heureuse de vous annoncer la naissance de sa première association : 
La Roue Libre de Thau,1179486.php
H.G. Wells was right more adults on bicycles - the future is here and now, it begins.

We cycled fast as the wind, against the wind again, through the Camargue... der Wind, der Wind das himmlische Kind in the boiling heat to catch up with the Alternatiba in Arles.

And again we made more friends, l'Association Convibicy...

... l'Association Arles en Transition....


.... and The Orange Velorution who cycled all the way from Berlin to Arles on this very heavy Surrey bike to stay here at the Longo Mai community until she finds a new co-velorutionaire who is brave enough to take on the next voyage.DSCN8898
We had lunch at the Mas de Grenier farm, a Longo Mai Co-op, and had a tour of their farm and co-operative canning kitchen...

Here we say good bye to Le Tour Alternatiba for a little while and take a short cut straight north to Montelimar where we meet Chantal and Gilbert who are part of Montelo Velo.

 Montelovelo - Montelimar
Montelo Velo has a new Bike Kitchen since last year, opening their workshop to the good people of Montelimar to come and find a cheap bike, make themselves a bike or simply come and fix their old bike. 
Tres bien! 
Onwards to Le Drome!
Contemplating about cycling slower... here a little bit of wisdom from Ziggy Marley and a dragonfly...
 Tune of the moment....

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