A big part of the whole exodus for me has been figuring out how to live a simpler life, to have more by using less, to drop out of the rat race, to stop and smell the roses, ah how I love talking like a bad greeting card. If you have been following along you know that I have had some pretty wild fantasies about this life in France including riding about the village on a bicycle (The Devil Is In The Details), collecting baguettes and flowers, playing the part of Euro chic gal, fake it ’til you make it I say.

Anyway, fantasy and reality are closing in on each other as I am now the proud owner of the coolest bicycle ever. Initially I was all over the vintage look bicycle complete with wicker basket and big, shiny bell but in a rare fit of rational thought and consideration of practicalities I went for the Gitane E-bike.

Now this beauty does have the required basket for pretending that I’m Audrey (Hepburn, Tatou, either one will do) but instead of the romantic wicker it’s black metal which I have to say is a far better choice for weather AND will hold several heavy bottles of chablis and pinot noir. So clever, me.

But the genius of this is the switch on the left handle. One press of a button and, like magic, a battery charged motor kicks in to assist the pedals. It’s like having Lance Armstrong hidden in your backpack ready to spring out when you hit a steep hill.

My hope is that this will greatly reduce my dependence on a car for errands and short trips. The village has amazingly steep hills and I was a bit worried how my 42 year old pins were going to carry me to the bakery so this is a great solution for me. The very best part is that it was a gift from a kind and generous soul who shall remain nameless but in whose debt I shall remain.

So today I took it for a spin, visions of the wind blowing my hair about like a movie star, racing around like an Olympic cyclist. Of course I forgot about my silver scarecut so by the time I got home I looked less like Catherine DeNeuve and more like Billy Idol. I also forgot that I haven’t been on a bike since I was 15 so I mostly weaved about like a toddler in need of training wheels and my bum is so sore that I need to sit on a pillow. So much for my hopes for the yellow jersey this year.

What is quite intriguing here is that when people (okay the men) ride bikes they gear up with every piece of cycling stuff available. Racing helmets, special cycling shoes, wildly patterned lycra shorts and shirts, serious business. I must have been quite the sight in my sweats and comfort clogs.

Never mind, the next time I’m out I plan to sidle up to these cycling maniacs, kick into electric mode and yell “eat my dust fellas!” as I rocket into the ditch.

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