Spain - Day 1 : In the bus with Wim and Kees
On the first day we would take the bus from Breda, in the Netherlands, to Capvern, in the south of France. To get to Breda we would need to cycle 60 km. We had plenty of time because the bus wouldn't leave until 14:30. Through some small villages we reached Tilburg. From there we followed a dirt road along a canal. Soon we arrived in Breda, two hours too early. That was as planned, we really didn't want to be late. While sitting on a terrace we already saw some other cyclists with luggage. We sat down on a curb near the bicycle path.
Although the bus hadn't arrived yet there were already many passengers waiting. They were all a bit strange but also quite similar. Mostly men looked relatively well in shape and wore sandals with white socks. Soon we realized that no-one there went on a real cycling vacation. Nearly all people were joining a guided bicycle tour through the Pyrenees. Others would cook for them and transport all their luggage. One man would cycle for only half a week, stay on a campsite with his family, take the train to Paris, and then cycle home to the Netherlands. That meant that on the way back we would likely be the only people who hadn't shaved, eaten, showered or washed our clothes for three weeks.
After a long wait the bus arrived. It carried a trailer for bikes behind it. This is where we first met the bus drivers: Wim and Kees. Both had a big mustache and both were equally self-righteous. When one driver was loading Bram's bike he nearly hit its front fork against the metal rack. Bram's bike has wide tires which didn't easily fit in the rails. The driver pushed as hard as he could to jam it in. Because the tires were so thick his bike was also a bit longer than normal. It just didn't really fit. After pushing so hard that his front fork bent a bit it did. Now we just had to hope that Bram's bike was still in one piece by the time we arrived.
The bus itself was nice. There was a lot of legroom and the chairs could decline. The only annoying thing was the music. The drivers played only Dutch folk classics. It went from "Que si, Que no" by Jodi Bernal to Corrie Konings and back. At first we thought it came from a Dutch radio station, but when we were near Paris the music was still equally bad. Another passenger had asked the drivers if they couldn't play something else, but they said this was their music, so it was this or nothing. We told him he should have picked nothing.
I didn't sleep in the bus, but the ride didn't seem to take that long. We were scheduled to arrive in Capvern around 7:30, but already arrived at 5:45.
The route of day 1
Distance cycled : 63.50 km