Cycling at Lac de Liez: Knowing When to Give Up
In 2007 we spent a few days at a very scenic campsite next to the Lac de Liez near Langres in France
We saw a sign for a circular path around the lake, advertised as 10km so we decided to give it a try on our bikes. It was OK at first – a nice wide gravel path. However, it soon deteriorated to a narrow dirt path, and then we struck the first of the boggy sections, the result of recent heavy rain. We should have turned back then, but having gone so far we decided to persist. BIG mistake. The boggy bits got longer and worse and we were soon so covered in mud that we had to wash our feet and Crocs in the lake. Our bikes accumulated huge amounts of mud which bunged up the gears and got stuck under the mudguards and stopped the wheels going round. Not that they were going round anyway – they were just snorkling through the mud. And there were a lot of big orange slugs on the track which looked as if they would crawl through the holes in your Crocs given half a chance.
We also had a scary encounter with some men who had pitched their tent right across the path. They were stripped to the waist and covered in tattoos, and had to hold back two huge Rottweilers which clearly wanted to eat us. Sheila reckoned they were Serbian war criminals in hiding, but Gilroy reckoned they were the fellers from Deliverance. They were probably just fishing, but we did not tarry.
The man who was doing the measurements round the lake was clearly the mathematical equivalent of dyslexic. We had gone at least 10 km when we got to a sign telling us it was still another 6km, and we did another 10km to cover that. Finally, Sheila’s bike decided to call it a day and the handlebars came loose, making it impossible to steer. Sheila reckons that the handlebars got twisted when she was trying to push the bike through mud and into which she fell while managing to hang onto the bike. These dodgy handlebars resulted in a nasty fall when we eventually got back to the road, leaving Sheila very bruised and scratched. Just about the only bit of luck we had was that a thunderstorm held off until we had made it back to the van.
During this cycling trip from hell we did have the camera with us, but Sheila had a sense of humour failure pretty early on - not sure whether it was the first time she went down in the mud but it could have been much earlier when Gilroy insisted we should go on. The result is, that the above picture is the only one we have.
It took Gilroy an hour to wash the mud off the bikes (and on to him) and then mend Sheila’s handlebars.
Click here to return to Introduction or scroll down to see more of France