So, on day 16 of the journey (7 hours in the saddle, 61 miles, just 8.6 mph average speed) what do these pictures relate?? No prizes, but guess.
OK, I'll give you a clue. Steam rising vertically into a blue sky from power station cooling towers at Hieres on the way from Lyon towards Geneva = ? NO WIND. WHOOPEE. And no rain either. Yet another stunning day's riding.
So, second thing? Pause. OK then. Steam but no smoke. Yet again, a whopping great nuclear power station, part of the system that gives France 80% of its electricity without almost zero CO2 emissions.
I know, I know, I've said this before. But we're going to have to think hard about nuclear. I'm with James Lovelock that we will have to have it, big time, if your cities aren't to go into powerless meltdown as global warming stresses civilisation to breaking point. As with twirly chocolate, France leads the way…
Third thing from the photos? The St James shell, symbol of the Camino. This bike trip is in many ways a spiritual, or soul journey, a pilgrimage. Subject perhaps for a later blog on really why one does this kind of thing…
And finally re the pix? Raven and I climbed high today, testing our new Rohloff low gears. Look carefully, holding the idiotic-grin image perhaps to a mirror to get it right way round (the Blackberry does this back to front, for some reason, when photographing from the front of the device) , and you'll see 1010 metres, over 3000 feet.
Long slow slog, but we got there. And down again, though so cold we've retired to a cosy B&B rather than put the tent up and risk my three-season sleeping bag not coping with the coldest of late winters/early Springs.
Cait McMahon in Oz, my former Dart Centre colleague, btw, thinks I'm too gloomy on climate change. I wish it were so – but heavy snow in Southern England and Northern France at this time of year? Another oddity.
OK, so finally finally. Seamus Kelters in N Ireland, BBC and Dart colleague, once did the Loire by bike as well, and had the same intimate relationship with his steed that Raven and I are developing. He reminded me of this lovely and so appropriate Irish blessing:
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device