Leaving Lyon was more difficult as expected. One of our trailer attachments had broken in half, and a shop selling this piece was not in sight. So some of us went to the construction store in the early morning to find anything that could be useful as a temporary solution, and just when we had succeeded improvising a replacement part, we realised that an important part of the trailer had actually broken apart and needed to be fixed as well.
Navigating out of a big city is always difficult, and the Via Rhona long-distance cycle route along the river Rhône is interrupted in this part because the banks of the river are plastered with highways. But after an exhausting cycling day in the heat and traffic with one broken chain on the way we arrived to a field in an agricultural area right beside the river Rhône, where we would spend the night in disagreement about whether the river was too polluted to take a swim in.
Following the Via Rhona further through some less populated areas along the river, with the surrounding mountains becoming higher, the climate becoming more Mediterranean and the first cicadas chirping in the trees, we continued our way south the next day. In the evening, after a long search the scouting team found a beautiful place just outside of Tournon-sur-Rhône right on the banks of the almost dry river Doux. The rest of the group arrived shortly after, and the van of a Biketour participant that happened to be close by helped to transport a bike whose plastic crank had mysteriously broken apart.
Due to a delay in the schedule for our next sleeping place, we had one day to spare, which we used as a rest day on the river bank. The river was dammed to form a narrow but very long lake that was deep enough for a proper swim but very brown, and some people passed through our campsite to walk their dogs or get a tan on the sandy beach. Occasionally we got a visit by a few cows, and the historic Train de l’Ardèche blew its whistle as it passed by.
The next day was a rather short cycling day with around 45 km to do along the river without any hills. A few people decided to take a more panoramic detour by following a bike path following an abandoned train line through different river valleys of the Ardèche region. The hot temperatures of the last days were ended by some heavy rainfall, causing the group to make it to our sleeping place in La Voulte-sur-Rhône just before darkness.