We were fortunate in our choice of hotel in Dijon. Not only was it close by the railway station (the bikes were still having to be carried at that stage), it also had free Wifi access (to update friends and family on our activities) and a very convenient, enclosed beer garden, which was perfect for assembling our bikes.
Having ‘wheels’ again was very liberating, as it meant we were now able to get around the city with ease. We had decided to base ourselves in Dijon for a few days before heading off down our selected route. We had a few skills to master such as riding on the right (wrong?!) side of the road and giving way to the left instead of the right at roundabouts. Interestingly, and to my surprise, this left/right issue created few problems other than having to put the rear view mirror on the opposite handlebar.
We also needed to stock up on a few groceries so that we could have a cup of coffee and/or a snack whenever we felt like a break. It took us a day or two to realise that we were located right near a major shopping centre, and this turned out to be a real stroke of luck.
We were able to get a few unexpected extras such as a thermos flask, some mugs and some items of cutlery which our weight limits had ruled out in our flight luggage. We were also able to get cycling gear and, not knowing how accessible bike stores were going to be, stocked up on a few spare parts.
Dijon is a lovely place to ride a bike and the weather we had was absolutely perfect for riding. We explored the canals and harbours and generally got any final bugs with the bikes sorted out. We had read that it was compulsory to wear orange safety vests when riding in France. This turned out to be incorrect, and once we realised this, we only wore them in major cities where there was a lot of traffic. They are not a great fashion statement, but we would rather be the topic of conversation (you have to be seen before you can be discussed!) than not be seen on the road! Likewise, helmets are not compulsory, but I rather like the concept of my head having this protection if I come off the bike for any reason.