Via Francigena

Day 19 – Reims to Chalons-en-Champagne: vineyards as far as the eye can see

The stage


🚲 60 km by bike – Tuesday 6 July

One of the things that makes travelling by bicycle very different from walking, is that you depend on something other than your two legs to get you from A to B. While cycling, your bicycle becomes your best friend, but sometimes also your worst enemy. When least expected, things can break or cease to work, making it necessary to stop and fix the broken parts. Sometimes this is something you can do yourself, but sometimes a visit to a bike shop is needed.

These unexpected situations make travelling by bicycle as challenging as walking, if not more! However it also improves flexibility, problem-solving skills, and creativity when it comes to finding solutions.

Why this intro? Probably you can already guess… we’ve had our first bike to fix! Last night we found out that Nicola’s bicycle, the one that has been with us since our start in Calais, had a flat tire. Flat tires are inconvenient, yes, but nothing that can’t be easily fixed. And so indeed our blogger and bike traveller Pietro Franzese got to work, and only minutes later a new inner tube had fixed the problem.

But unfortunately this wasn’t the only thing that wasn’t working properly. An unidentified issue with the breaks of the bike presented itself this morning, making it imperative for us to visit a bike shop before departure from Reims. Both Nicola as well as Edgar, our EAVF intern, were visibily worried about the situation, which is normal considering they have never travelled by bicycle before. But as soon as you get some experience in this field, you realize that this is a very common part of the experience. And in fact, with a little bit of delay we were able to properly start our journey to Chalons-en-Champagne at 11:00 AM.

Today’s stage was characterized by champagne vineyards as far as the eye could see, a truly beautiful change from the usual Northern French countryside that we have gotten used to by now. We stopped at the town of Verzenay for our lunch break, and were gifted half a bottle of good champagne wine by a group of tourists that were passing by. Not bad! With the town’s lighthouse and moulin in the background, we ate one of the best half meters of baguette so far. Cycling with us these days is also Sandy Brown, author of several new Via Francigena guidebooks (in English) published by Cicerone.

Our arrival in Chalons-en-Champagne was accompanied by the sound of cheering for the Italian soccer team, who made it to the UEFA finals! With an incredibly happy Italian videomaker and blogger in our midst, we retired to our beds in preparation for Day 20 tomorrow.


Being able to hit the road again after Nicola’s bike got fixed

Great weather after days of rain

Appreciating the beautiful champagne vineyards after weeks of Northern French countryside

Being gifted half a bottle of champagne by total strangers

Italy making it to the UEFA finals

Myra Stals, Social Media Manager (EAVF)
Edgar Le Bras, intern (EAVF)

Pietro Franzese, RTR Ambassador

Sandy Brown, author

Nicola Cagol, videomaker


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