On the 130th anniversary, I recreated part of the journey of the first person to cycle around the world on a bicycle. Taking it one day at a time. View the archive.

To Sezanne

By Stuart Lowe on

After breakfast at the youth hostel I needed a picture with the Eiffel Tower so back across Paris I cycled. It was still quiet but then it was 8am on a Saturday.

I once visited the Eiffel Tower with school although they only took us as far as the second stage so I've never been to the top. I wasn't going to the top today either as the queues were already long and I had 100 miles to go thanks to Mr Stevens.

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La Tour Eiffel selfie

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La Tour Eiffel

Around the west and south of Paris I trundled and exited the city at Daumesnil like Stevens. A little later, at Vincennes, I had a pleasant ride through Bois de Vincennes although as I reached the far side I had a mouth full of spit splattered over me thanks to a shared bicycle path and a runner who wasn't checking for anyone overtaking. He made very apologetic sounds as I cycled onwards.

It had been sunny at the Eiffel Tower but by the eastern outskirts of Paris a fine rain had set in and carried on for the duration of the morning. It was the type of rain that gets you wet without you noticing - frain, as my niece once named it - but it helps keep me cool and reduces my sweating so I don't mind it.

At Brie-Comte-Robert - a place that sounds like a list of cheeses - I stopped for some Mcfood, the toilet and WiFi so that I could call family on Skype. It was also nice to get a break from the heavy traffic I'd been putting up with. On leaving, the rain stopped but the clouds remained. Again, clouds blocking the heat of the Sun is fine by me. Really, the only weather I'm not keen on cycling in is a howling head wind. Oh and snow isn't great either now that I remember back to Nevada last year.

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Grey skies

Hours more cycling took me through Nangis, Maison Rouge, and Provins. I'd have loved to have visited the old town of Provins with its old cathedral but day light was running out.

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Approaching Provins

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Provins

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French farm

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Villenauxe-la-Grande

Leaving Villenauxe-la-Grande I had a big hill to climb. After the trouble with my knee before Paris I felt like the King of the Mountain when I summitted. I waved to the imaginary Tour de France crowds who spurred me on at the top. Around here the Vineyards of the Champagne region started.

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Champagne

I was only about 6km from Sézanne when the evening sun came out. It felt very fitting that Sézanne's motto is "Le Soleil en champagne". I found the municipal campsite and impressed the steward with having set off from Paris that day and for having started in Liverpool. When a Norwegian cyclist turned up a short while later, the steward told him how much further I'd come than him! I enjoyed a little feast of baguette, goat's cheese, banana, and what Parisians call "pain suisse".