Trial run

Preview of the Tour de France poster from the city's website
Preview of the Tour de France poster from the city’s website

Next month, the Tour de France will be zipping through Carcassonne. In fact, race fans, Stage 11 of this cycling extravaganza will start here the morning of July 13 as the 22 teams of nine riders each set off on that day’s goal city of Montpellier on the Mediterranean Sea, about 100 miles away. As if that event itself won’t be celebration enough, our town had a Tour Festival this Saturday in preparation.

We live about a 10-minute walk from Place General Charles de Gaulle, just outside the city’s one remaining medieval gate, where Saturday’s activities were centered. Most of the 500 cyclists who were going to participate in the ride around the city were already in place by the time we got there. After the sound of the starter’s shout of allez, it didn’t take long for the sea of blue, white, red, yellow, and green jerseys to disappear around the bend in the road to cross the river and be on their way up the hillside to the towering castle above.

Cyclists lining up
Cyclists lining up

Although the racers had left the Place, we were far from not having bicycles around us. Local merchants and area clubs had booths where you could find out about doing your own repairs, going on tours, finding scenic routes, and making the most of your bike. The city sponsored a workshop on safety which was an interesting contrast to the “free-style” acrobatics demonstrated by some especially talented and fit riders. There was also a rather impressive game of polo where bicycles replaced the ponies, being played at one end of the parking lot.

For quite a while Bill’s been looking at bikes and has had his eye on one in particular; an electric. When you live in a valley between a river and a canal you expect the landscape to be pretty flat, and it is; however, the surrounding mountains are definitely not, hence the need for a bit of assistance from the rechargeable battery. If you happen to own an electric car, you’ll know that they aren’t cheap and that same trait has been passed along to their two-wheeled counterparts. With prices around 2000 euro, those trails labeled “walking” sound pretty attractive to me.

4 thoughts on “Trial run

  1. Bob, I never paid attention in the past when I visited France as a tourist. Now that I’m planning to move there, I’m very interested in purchasing a good used bicycle (I’m a fairly serious cyclist). I’d guess that France has a good market in used bicycles (I guess I mean “bon marché” in both senses, including “cheap”). Do you think that’s true in your corner of the hexagon, i.e. have you seen places that sell a variety of used bicycles in the Carcassonne region ? We love your posts, by the way, and are always delighted when we see you’ve posted a new one.


  2. Yet another commonality! My husband is a bicycling fiend. He has ridden a lot of the major climbs of the Tour. I like to ride but more for site seeing etc. I can ride a decent distance,but I have little desire to climb uphill! We have talked about me getting an electric bike when we get there so I can go on some of the longer rides. I will be interested to see if you all decide on some and where you purchase them! The tour will pass by close to us the day before you all. I highly recommend finding a viewing spot out on the road somewhere with some uphill so they do not go by as quickly, that and also everyone should experience the caravan at least once! Can’t believe we will be there in a little over three weeks!


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