A 48-hour journey from Chester to Marseilles (courtesy of a British Airways flight cancellation) was perfect preparation for making a horrible mistake soon after arriving. Smugly, I thought I was mentally prepared for this and told myself that I would not do anything stupid on the first day.
John recommended a 40km loop from the hotel and this seemed perfect to check the bike was in one piece. I was soon admiring the scenery from high up over town. As I looked back at the road a manhole cover raised about 6 inches off the ground rushed towards me. A nice skid narrowly avoided disaster – mistake 1.
The roads here are a reddish-brown colour (or my eyes think they are anyway). What I didn’t realise was that that the speed bumps in Aix are also dark red-brown, with no white lines to help you distinguish them. I’m a bit colour blind at the best of times and so I didn’t notice an evil bump at the bottom of a hill. Some late braking and a jump saved the bike and me – mistake 2.
I thought it was time to slow down a bit and potter back to the hotel. There was one more surprise left though, as a large buzzing insect flew into my arm and left half its’ backside there. It had a decent sting and it must have looked like I was having a minor fit as I flapped around trying to get it off my arm. Weaving down the road wasn’t the best way to potter home – mistake 3.
I’m glad I was prepared for not doing anything stupid on day 1 anyway.