Fair dinkum! That doofus of a GPS has taken us on some mighty strange routes at times and has got us lost or sent us up motorways and often made our cycling endeavours that bit more challenging and frustrating, but I reckon today’s efforts from the ding-bat device just about take the cake!
There’s dodgy weather forecast in these parts all this week, so we decided to do a shorter ride today, of only about 45km in case we were riding against a meteorological monster. We started with a bit of a pedal around the streets of Saint-Quentin to take some photos, a quick stop at the bio store to replenish peanut butter supplies and then set off towards Noyon.
The route that was planned said it would take us along a canal path, and after some road riding we stopped at the spot the GPS told us to turn onto this path. One look and I said, “No!” It looked exactly like the slippery slidey track we had tackled the day before! We abandoned that as an option and continued on the road. The GPS recalculated and gave us a new route and told us we had a right-hand turn onto a road, so…we turned right onto the recommended road. Well…
…the “road” (and I intentionally use those inverted commas!) The “ROAD” was a track through a paddock! No, I’m not exaggerating, we were actually riding along a tractor track, with crops either side of us, making our way through an actual agricultural landscape! Then…it rained! Down came the heavy drops and we both quickly stopped in our tracks on the track to swiftly put our rain coats on. On we went and Steve was soon way up ahead as I bumped along behind. The track was just deep ruts and once I was in the deep groove, I couldn’t get the bike up the rut and onto the grass strip down the middle, so I wobbled along in the tractor groove. We continued bouncing on. At one point, my bike wobbled in a rut and toppled over and I’m sorry to say, as I put my foot down, to keep myself upright, while the bike toppled onto its side, I think I put my foot on a seedling in the field. Sorry farmer! I definitely left a footprint and maybe a pannier print too, in the nice soft, freshly ploughed soil. Sorry! I picked the bike up and continued on and finally the groove levelled out a bit and I could get the bike onto the grassy strip, so I concentrated as hard as I could to balance myself and ride straight so I could stay bumping along that grassy bit and not wobble about in the groovy track again. We got to the end of this track and the GPS instructions were to “turn left”, so we turned left. Then…
…the track ended. By that I mean, the track through the paddock was now just a paddock! No track, no wheel marks, just grass and an actual paddock, with flourishing farmland on either side of us! We bumped along and the grass got longer…we bumped along and came to three huge rocks (kind of boulders actually) in our path. They were obviously there to stop vehicles, including those used by navigationally challenged, plant stomping Tasmanian tourists, from travelling through the paddock! There was just enough space to squeeze around them, because an actual road, one that looked like a road and had the all important black stuff on top of it, was in clear view and we wanted to get there! So, we squeezed around the boulders and forged on through the ever lengthening grass and then came to…a pair of huge, iron, locked gates! Oh, man!!! They were clearly there to stop anyone who was on the actual, real, genuine article, road, from entering the “ROAD” aka paddock, but the trouble was, we’d come from the opposite direction, so now we had those gargantuan gates stopping us from getting out! We had a look around and found enough space again, to just squeeze around the outside of them. Finally, we and our wheels were back on the bitumen again! “I think we just trespassed,” I said to Steve. “I think we did too,” he replied. We really didn’t mean to! Our defence is a dopey GPS!
We spent the rest of the ride on a solid, smooth road and had some beautiful scenery to look at again. We were being shadowed by a huge black cloud the whole way and the wind had well and truly come to the party too. We rode through a little village and while there was no rain, we quickly stopped on a bench for a rapid elevenses, before journeying on.
I was in low gears again trying to keep moving against the wind, but at least the hills weren’t too big. I did manage to look at the scenery though and it was just spectacular again. The countryside is beautiful. I know it probably sounds silly, but the colours are amazing. The green is so unbelievably green and the yellow is such a bright yellow! The landscape is just the most vibrant colour palette I’ve ever seen in nature! Silly sounding or not…that’s a fact!
We were getting a bit peckish, so stopped again for a quick spot of lunch, while the enormous black cloud hovered overhead. We quickly got back in the saddle and pedalled on. As we were turning onto a road, I had another encounter with the generous drivers we’ve come across here. Steve was ahead and had turned left at the intersection, I came to the intersection and was about to turn left but a car was coming along the road, so I stopped to give way. Well, the lady driving actually stopped and let me go. She had right of way, she was coming along the main road, but she still stopped and let me turn across her path. Lovely people and generous drivers.
We then arrived in Noyon, after exactly 45km of riding, so our pedal through the paddock hadn’t added any extra distance to the ride, just a strange addition to the route! So we did some cross-country, off-roading today courtesy of the incompetence or sense of humour of the GPS. Our GPS doesn’t stand for Global Positioning System, our GPS means
Generally Pointless Screen
Ghastly Powers of Steering
Guiding People Senselessly
Maybe tomorrow it will tell us to actually cycle IN the canal! I’d better pack some floaties!