Friday, May 30, 2014

Vélo Fantasie

The calendar is rolling to June, and my mind is on summer.  OK, well not really summer, I mean Summer in Burgundy.  If all goes as planned I will be in Beaune for the month of July, dates which are squeezed between an annual event in La Jolla that I attend and help style, and my niece’s wedding in Monterey, for which I will be the florist and stylist and likely quasi-coordinator.  But first, there will be a month in Beaune.  Wait, it’s not just a month in Beaune, it’s July, when the days are very long, the vineyards are at perfection of foliage, and the Saturday market will be exploding with summer color and flavor.  We will have a series of house guests, good friends are at their own residences nearby, dinners are already being planned, and there are places to go and things to see and do.  R and I have also got a fantasy about getting out early to do some morning yoga in the hills above Beaune…note I said fantasy, but it’s a good idea, right?  Now, wanting to savour all of these summer delights, I came to the conclusion that it’s finally time to pop for a vélo, or bicycle.  And of course, I want not just any bicycle, I want a cool bicycle, like a Dutch bicycle. Sort of like this one~ 

Opoe fiets (awesome Dutch bike)

If you have been to Amsterdam, or elsewhere in the Netherlands, you know how wonderfully stylish and functional the Dutch bikes are.  How about the cargo bikes?  I mean, aren’t they just so cool?  You can haul kids and groceries and dogs…and wine in them…but I’m after a more basic model, something traditional.  I debated a beautiful cream-colored Dutch bike, but while it’s beautiful, it’s not practical, and would stand out like a sore thumb in Burgundy.  Too bad, because they are just beautiful bikes.  Until you run them through some mud, of course.  Then the dream is sort of dashed.  It’s over.  Save this one for cruising Cannes.

Custom made Dutch bikes

Yep, I am after something more traditional; something like this, minus the stilettos:

with a basket on the front, please.

with a basket in front and a great faux-leather seat.

Dutch bike

for picnics at the Parc Bouzaises, we need a blanket or quilt on the back too.  Or perhaps a wine crate attached to the back to hold the provisions along with the pique-nique blanket.

BEG bikes picnic rug and strap

…and a bell.  Definitely a bell.

and it must have a bell too.

Somewhere along the way, the concept of my ideal bicycle and the realities of life in rural France collide.  No, no one goes biking around rural France in short shorts, noted.  It’s not Paris, I remind myself.   But they do ring the bell to advise you that they are on the sidewalk behind you.  This is practical-ville.  Bikes are not super fancy, they are sturdy and ahem, practical. Here is a scene from a year or so ago.  I see this Granny every weekend and I know where she lives.   And this summer, I’m going to bungee cord a basket just like hers to the back of my bike.  I’ll add the baguettes when we are off to the parc for lunch.  She is inspiration, minus the black cargo bags~

velo saturday

Considering the alternatives to a fancy-a** new Dutch bike,  R and I started to discuss one of our favorite shopping spots in town, the Thrift Store, aka Emmaus. It’s a French benevolent society, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much great stuff I have scored here.  The best!!  They share my motto: Never Throw Anything Away!

With a little research, I find that Emmaus around France gets tons of donations of bicycles.  Well, you never know what condition they are in.  Many surely go to scrap.

But the Emmaus near Dijon is bigger than ours in Beaune, and they have a lot of bicycles, all restored and fully functional.

This is where I start to get really excited.  In the French countryside, the vintage, used, beat-up and battered is loved.  No one wants the new basket, they want the older model with a few holes and warm, worn leather handles.  As such, the vintage bicycle is also loved and cherished.  Who wants a new bike when you can have this?

Or, this….this is an actual bicycle bought at an Emmaus, via the web.  I’d die if I were to find this black and gold bike in Dijon….

I have a few weeks still to sort it out, meanwhile I have asked R to go to Emmaus each day or as often as practical to see if he can find a cool bike.  Actually, he says he was told the Emmaus in Dijon also has used Vespas, so he’s angling for one of those.  I’ll just take a black bike, thank you very much.  I may get a new model so that we have one on hand, and spend the month searching for my ideal vintage at Emmaus.  Oh, the treasure and the pleasure of the hunt!  You can follow me on Instagram too, during my Beaune adventures and bicycle hunt this summer.  Stay tuned….