Once upon a time, I thought I’d use this day to circumvent Lake Geneva, a distance of about 110 miles. However, I realized the bike rental location I was going to use wanted a two-day rental at 40 CHF per day. Plus the weather forecast called for a 90% chance of thunderstorms. The ride was off.
Well, the big ride was off. Staying one block from the train station, I found a bike rental location called Geneva Roule which was on the other side of the train station. For 25 CHF I rented a BMC road bike for the day. I thought that was a good deal. Actually, it was a great deal.
I did not know where I was going. I was negotiating 100% by “feel” and just a little knowledge. This can be dangerous. Or fun. I knew the train station was north and west of the Rhône river so I looked at the sun and headed south. And east.
There are many bike lanes in Geneva. Some are marked along with bus and taxi lanes and many run the same direction as the trolley tracks. Be very careful my friends.
I crossed a bridge and then started my ride following Lake Geneva. I reasoned if I stayed close to the lake I could not get lost. My original ride plan which would take me around the lake was simply using the roads that were hugging the lake.
I was on city streets and saw there was a bike path next to the lake so I jumped on it. At Vesanaz the road peeled away from the lake. I went through a construction area and dropped most of the traffic as I continued on the back road.
On the road out of Geneva the bike lane is a bit higher than the regular lane and a bit lower than the walking lane. Each separated by an angled “curb.” Or sometimes the pedestrian lane was simply divided by paint.
And then it happened. I was going through Hermance, Switzerland and was going up the road, a slight climb, with some gravel on the road and a park with a soccer field to the left. Maybe it was Chens le Pont or Sous le Cret. Or maybe even Lagraie. Those are small towns within two kilometers (one mile) of one another.
It just seemed French and no longer Swiss. And I noticed a road sign, D 20.
I AM IN FRANCE!
I think I was expecting a welcome sign. A Bienvenue sign. I doubted there would be passport control. But I was riding and had this moment — I am riding in France. And it was great. I was smiling.
I liked Italy. I like Switzerland. But there is just something about France. I love riding here. From my first time with Trek Travel in 2010 and then again three years ago when I did a solo trip. I love it here.
I had angst yesterday traveling from Tirano, Italy to Geneva. It was a long, but beautiful, day on multiple (four) trains. I worried about being stuck in a smoking room in Geneva (I wasn’t). When I arrived I didn’t know where the hotel was. But getting on the bike and riding in France, that just made everything better.
In Chens-Sur-Leman I passed a bakery and cursed myself for not bringing those couple of 2€ coins I still had left. They were in my pants I left in the bike shop and would be so better used stopping and enjoying a chocolate croissant.
As I was riding on a beautiful country road I saw an old church and diverted to it. There I discovered a community called Commune de Nernier. What a neat old village right on Lake Geneva. It was gated and I don’t know if I was allowed to bike in it but I did.
I was just so happy riding for part of a day in France. If I had any doubts about how much I love riding in France the smile on my face said it all today.
I returned to Geneva and used some time to explore parts of the town. It is a great city and I don’t want to diminish how much I like it here too by raving about riding in France.
Looking back, I had a week of climbing some classic cols. That brings a satisfaction, especially Stelvio, unlike anything else. But riding in France today — pure joy!