N83 running along the Doubs river

The good part of today was riding along the Doubs river on a variety of 'roads' ranging from two rocky tracks to the N83 highway. The bad parts of today were the riding through cities, riding with a strong cross/head winds, and riding in dreary weather with worse weather visible ahead. It wasn't a particularly enjoyable day of riding, but the good parts were quite nice. I stopped after 70 plus, mostly pretty hard, miles when a light rain started. It only rained for half an hour and it never got heavy, but I was ready to stop and it was a good excuse <grin>.

This is what the world looks like from my handlebars when riding in a strong crosswind

Strong cross/head winds make riding unpleasant, especially when they are coming across the road and there is traffic on the road. Today's ride was mostly on N83 which is a major highway, but it had light to moderate traffic with no big trucks. The wind slowed me down by about 2 mph and sometimes made it tricky to keep on the road. I almost crashed, but that was due to being tired and riding in urban conditions in Besacon, not the wind.

The path along the river/canal

which gets pretty rough

and then smooth again

I rode the first fifteen miles on N83 from Dole to near Saint Vit. I didn't feel like messing with backroads, N83 was smooth and had little traffic, and the weather was lousy so there wasn't much point in riding through pretty country. Near St Vit at Ranchot, N83 is running right along the river. I saw a tourist couple riding on a bike path between N83 and the river. I also saw a lock. Hmm, this looks like a path along the old tow path! After climbing a hill, I descended into Ranchot, found the path, and followed it along the river to Routelle. It started out smooth, degenerated to a rocky trail better suited to a MTB for a few miles and then became smooth again. I left it at Routelle to ride on D13. I saw several bicyclists on that road and it looked like good bicycling. It was, except for the 100+ m climb out of the valley which I shouldn't have done.

D13 leaving Routelle - that is a Porsche 356

D13 goes through Osselle, a pretty town
Check out the church steeple
Churches here have geometric pattern on their steeples

When D13 crossed the Doubs, the path had a no-entry sign on it, so I stayed on D13. When I came the intersection of D13 and D105, I looked at my mapping software and though, partly because of a confusion of two very similar town names, that it wasn't the way to go and that I should ride on to D107. I won't say that was a mistake, but it meant climbing out of the valley on steep roads and then descending back in. There was a pretty town and spectacular views up there, but it was a hard climb that I would have been better off without, then a great descent where my tent poles came off of my rack - did I mention that some of these roads were bumpy? - to D105. If I had taken D105 from D13, I would have saved more than 100 m of climbing. I felt very tired and sore when I got back to N83 near Besacon. Next time...

D13 had more bicyclists on it - at least 30 out for their Sunday ride - than I've seen all week
They were friendly too!

D105 runs from Byan sur Doubs to Besacon
It is a bit hilly, but good riding

Besacon was frustrating! I wanted a French lunch, but, after half an hour of searching, gave up and rode back to the Mcds at the south end of town. My 10 Euro lunch at McDs was good, but I would rather have spent that half an eating than searching for a place to eat. Then, leaving Besacon, I found myself confronted by a series of contiguous cites, all hilly, all with curbs and no bike paths, all with lots of traffic lights. Since it was Sunday, traffic really wasn't a problem, but I did not enjoy that stretch of road which lasted for about six miles. After getting out of the city, I was climbing into a headwind for a long time. It was about a dozen miles, but seemed longer. I met several cycle tourists coming the other way on this stretch, two guys together and a solo tourist. All seemed to be happier than I was, but they were going downhill, with a tail wind and away from the bad weather!

Climbing on N83

Finally, when N83 descends back to the river after Baume les Dames, riding was fun again. There is a really great five mile or so stretch there where N83 runs along the river. Some of the best riding of the day, plus several cars beeped encouragement at me. It was fun!

Cruising in the gorge - Nice!

The weather looking up the gorge where N83 leaves it - not Nice!

When N83 left the river, I expected a lot of climbing. There was some climbing, but then a great descent back to the river which had turned 90 degrees. That descent took me to Clerval, where the rain started - it has sprinkled earlier - and I stopped for the day. Before stopping, I met yet another couple of tourists. They are Dutch and spoke English well. They were also stopping for the day, but they were searching for a campground while I was looking for a hotel. I saw two hotels, stopped at the second one where no one was home, met that couple on my way back to the first one, and took a room. I just finished a great supper at the restaurant. In addition to simply being very tasty, it was light enough and early enough (7 - 8 PM) that I don't think it will cause me problems. It is a bit noisy here - both the highway and the railroad are nearby, but the host and hostess have been most gracious and I'm very pleased that I stopped here.

My home for the night

View looking down river, across from the hotel

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