July 2004

Wine, Culture, and Cuisine: Touring Burgundy and Alsace

Leaving Seattle on May 15, I arrived in Paris the morning of the 16th, taxied to the Gare de Lyon and took the train to Dijon. After a wonderful meal in a restaurant occupying a thirteenth century crypt I started the most important task ahead of me: assembling my S&S-coupled Rodriguez Adventure. I was carrying the bike in the S&S soft backpack protected by my sleeping bag, pad, and other soft gear in the pockets surrounding the bike compartment. My cooking gear and other hard equipment was in light duffel.

The next morning I commenced my 500-mile, fully loaded tour of Burgundy and Alsace. I biked across some of the most famous vineyards in the world to Beaune, the center of the Cote D'Or. Then a tough day crossing a range of hills towards Montbard, location of the beautiful Abbey of Fontenay. After a day touring the Abbey, a gorgeous twelfth century example of Cistercian contemplative architecture, I retraced the two-day trip along the Burgundy Canal to Beaune. There my wife joined me and we biked the 300 miles from Beaune to Strasbourg through the Doubs and Alsace regions of France.

The Rodriguez performed flawlessly in every way. The couplings made the logistics of the trip work. Even loaded with not only all the usual camping gear but also the bike bag and my duffel the R&E folks have chosen gearing that take you smoothly over hills, along towpaths, and down screaming descents. Rock solid and stable under all conditions.

French bicycle touring is wonderful. The combination of plentiful campgrounds, excellent restaurants in small villages, courteous drivers (their grandmothers are riding bikes!), and castles make rides there a joy. A Rodriguez with couplings brings the experience within reach of anyone who can plan a backpacking trip. You do not need guides and a sag wagon. You need the flexibility and performance of a Rodriguez with couplings, plus guidebooks and a spirit of adventure, to bring the amazing food and culture of all the regions of France to you.

Sean Sheehan