We did the warm up 25 mile “bon bon ride” out along Lake Geneva on Saturday, then yesterday, we experienced another interesting border crossing—(Recycling~Santa Cruz Style: I borrow the title of today’s blog from a chapter title from my own in Pulling Up Stakes: Stepping Into Freedom which I had already borrowed from a short article I wrote interpreting John Sayles classic film, Lone Star).
It turns out that to ensure that Sabbaths are indeed a day of rest throughout Switzerland, not only are most stores and businesses closed, but also Swiss law forbids trucks on the highways on Sundays. As our bike bags and luggage need to be trucked into France today to the boat dock at Chalone Sur Soane, we had to get up early at our Geneva hotels and load them all into four busses—We then cycled our tandems five miles to the border where we met and unloaded the Swiss luggage busses, then re-loaded everything including our tandems onto French trucks. So much for the Swiss idea of Sabbath. Then we rode the busses for about four hours and arrived some time after noon, hungry, at the start of our French cycling course with another thirty something fairly hilly alpine miles to ride to Chalone Sur Soane and our boat.
Although, unlike their more rigorous neighbors the Swiss, the French do allow truck drivers to work on Sundays, but French close nearly all businesses on the Sabbath as well as consistently observe their quotidian mid day closures from noon until two PM. So mile after alpine mile we cycled hungrily through small villages shuttered tight with no food in sight.
Finally we rolled into one tiny hamlet and saw a café open. It turned out no one in the cafe spoke English; so I was happy that I have been reviewing my college French the past couple of weeks on my iPod. I was able to ask for food, but the proprietor literally blanched when I estimated possibly more than a hundred hungry riders would be riding through this afternoon. He took me into the kitchen to show me he had only one large baguette of French bread! I didn’t say, “Jesus!” out loud, but I did think it and devoutly wished Jesus were here to turn his one loaf into multitudes to feed our hungry cyclists.
The proprietor informed me that the other local clients already in the café had phoned in their order for two sandwiches, so he could only make two more sandwiches with what he had. I gratefully bought the only two sandwiches to be had, and offered to share them bite by bite with the hungriest folks. The rest of the cyclists bought out every box of crackers and cookies he had on the shelves of his tiny grocery store.
Finally, late in the day after several hours of riding, we rolled into Chalone Sur Saone and up the gangplank of Amadeus Symphony, tired and happy to find our cabins awaiting us and dinner nearly ready in the ship dining room.
Wrye, H. K., (1998) Lone Star: Signs, Borders and Thresholds, International Journal of Psycho-analysis,