Cycling in Burgundy: A Riding Revelation

B&R Experts | France | By Dave Bowden

“Wow.” I said it more times than I can remember—and the ride lasted barely two hours.

My first-ever B&R biking experience took place, appropriately enough, in Beaune, the heart of Burgundy wine country, our longtime European home. Pedalling an easygoing route through the forests around the city, I couldn’t help but feel that after six months with the company, I was only now coming to understand it.

On one stretch, ensconced by the luscious green of Burgundian trees, with a perfect breeze at my back and the sun on my face, I had the resounding sense that, though this was my first time on a bike in more years than I care to recall, I got it. The appeal of a bike trip was immediate and obvious.

Riding past renowned vineyards, with nothing in sight but blue sky above and fields of yellow grape seed in front of me, I could for the first time comprehend what it means to, if I may borrow a phrase, “slow down to see the world.”

“While biking is ostensibly an individual sport, there’s no better way to become a team.”

And the best part was, I wasn’t alone. In my particular case, I was surrounded by three colleagues, which at B&R means three friends as talented as they are fun, enjoying their company as much if not more than the aforementioned scenery. “Car back!” we’d call to each other when a vehicle approached from behind, breaking from our habit of riding two across and forming into single file. (Amateur cyclists all, I have to admit that we were as interested in good conversation as we were great scenery. In fact, the two complemented each other perfectly.)

Alternating between leading the pack and bringing up the rear, we shared responsibility (along with a few laughs), learning firsthand that while biking is ostensibly an individual sport, there’s no better way to become a team.

When we pulled back into the atelier and put two feet on solid ground for the first time in a few hours, we ended our ride with a round of high fives—our sense of accomplishment diminished not at all by the fact that the brief forest loop we rode took us about twice as long to complete as it had taken our guides the previous day.

It wasn’t about the speed for us; it was about the ride.

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