Day 35 Monday 27th June 2016 107km (3185km in total)
“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.” – John F. Kennedy
As I found out yesterday, the coast road was closed with maintenance on one of the tunnels. The receptionist said it was either a journey on a train or climbing a small track up the side of the mountain over the tunnel. Not wanting to take the train, I opted for the rough track.
It was extremely steep, I now understand why they have tunnels here! My bike nearly didn’t make it up there, with the wheels slipping on the gravel.
The ground it very dry here, with the soil looking a light orange colour. Cicadas make their unique noises most of the time, especially when riding near long grasses or trees. They are vaguely similar to a grasshopper, but you rarely actually see them.
Once over the side of the mountain side, I was able to get back onto the coast. I had previously thought it could get a bit boring riding along the coast day after day, but there are lots of towns to pass through. In these, cars suddenly seem to appear from nowhere, causing lots of traffic and queues. However, as soon as the road rises again out of the town, it quickly becomes quiet again.
Motorbikes and scooters seem very popular here, I counted 9 for every 20 vehicles that passed! Whenever there’s traffic lights, they all go to the front like an army of scooters.
The coastal roads although smooth, aren’t as flat as I’d imagined. I thought it would all be on sea level but of course it isn’t. The towns are near the beaches, then you have to climb out, often up steep hills. I’d call the terrain rolling hills!
It is nice to cycle along the coast and the sea is so blue! But this is the med! I sometimes forget I’m in the south of France as I came from the north of Italy. On the roads you see lots of Italian, Netherlands, Germans and of course French number plates on cars and there’s LOTS of tourists!
As I had a fairly late start of the day, I arrived at the campsite around 6pm, just outside Imperia. I had seen another cycling tourer behind, chasing me up the hills. However, as I stopped in a bike shop, unsuccessful looking for a new wheel, he overtook me. In the campsite, I saw him again as he was setting up his tent.
His name was Hammadi from the Netherlands, cycling around France, Switzerland and Italy for a few weeks. He teaches in a university and was saying how expensive the tuition fees are in the Netherlands, when he heard how much the UK’s are, he took it back! His route for tomorrow was the same as mine, to Nice so settled we would join together and cycle as a team.