What happens when your boyfriend decides renting a motorbike in France is a marvellous idea, and you think riding a great white shark through the Atlantic Ocean is more sensible? Read on to see if the relationship can survive.
Renting a motorbike in France, is it a good idea?
After a big fight with my boyfriend over the dangers of renting a motorbike in France – and for that matter the dangers of renting a motorbike anywhere – he rented one anyway. I was so mad that I got on the bike. I’m serious. I didn’t know what else to do. We seemed to be at a stalemate and that was the only thing I could think of to do to break the impasse.
“Okay, let’s go then,” I said in a grim tone.
“Really?” he said, hopeful that the fight might be over.
(It wasn’t. I was still arguing in my head.)
The fight is not over
I just thought I would rather be on the stupid bike than sitting in the apartment in Nice worrying. My reasoning was that it was better to be the one involved in danger than the one sitting at home consumed with anxiety.
Now I know that lots of people rent, drive and ride motorbikes everyday. I’ve rented one myself. In Greece. And then a car decided to play chicken with me and drove me into a brick wall. (No, I wasn’t hurt. I was going at the speed of a geranium growing anyway.)
And then there was that period in my life when I liked dating men on motorcycles.
But. Not. Anymore. I’ve known too many people who have had accidents, so I chose some years ago not to ride on any more motorcycles. I’m also of the mind that people close to me shouldn’t ride them either. But there it was. A Honda Lead from the Elite Rental Agency was sitting at the curb outside our Belle Epoque apartment on the rue Verdi in Nice on the beautiful French Riviera.
I am not immune to the thrill of the ride. I knew that renting a motorbike in France would be all kinds of fun. The wind cool on your face as you whisk along the stunning coastline in June. The freedom. The excitement.
But a lot of things are exciting that aren’t good for you. I won’t name any besides chocolate cupcakes because all the other ones that come to mind are illegal and you might think less of me if you knew all the forbidden things that tempt me.
I did realize however, or at least suspected, that my fear of bikes had grown into neurosis the size of a hot air balloon. Perhaps, it was time to face this demon of a bike fear head on.
And then she rides
So I got on the Honda. We whipped along the Riviera through busy traffic up toward Cannes then back the other way to Villefranche-sur-Mer and Cap Ferrat. And nothing happened. We didn’t crash, or go over the cliffs at Villefranche-sur-Mer and it was gorgeous and sultry and hazy and the sea breeze was in my hair.
But really, I expected all that. I mean, you don’t crash every time you go around renting a motorbike in France. Just like you don’t get your purse stolen every time you walk down the street. But it can happen. I’ve had my purse stolen in both Seoul, Korea and London, UK. Plus my backpack in Banff. Sometimes things happen. And you can’t predict when they’ll happen, so you choose caution over fun. Or, do you sometimes choose fun over caution?
I don’t have the answer, but I hope we never rent a motorbike again. And yet … and yet ….
Feeling like a traitor to myself, the next morning after the ride and before we’d returned the bike, I woke up suddenly at 6:50 a.m. and nudged Mark. “We should take the bike to St-Paul to Vence before you return it,” I said.
“I was thinking the same thing,” he said, equally awake. (Neither of us sleep well when we’ve been fighting.)
And so, just for one morning, I didn’t just throw caution into the wind, I threw myself into the wind. We whizzed up to the hill town of Saint-Paul-de-Vence and had breakfast at my favourite restaurant in the world, the Colombe d’Or, and went to the Maeght Foundation and saw lots of Miros.
And by getting on the bike, it did accomplish something. Mark has never felt the need to rent a motorbike again. (Except in Banff. But I wasn’t there so it doesn’t count.)
Read more on the sexy South of France: Visit my travel blog post Things to do do in the South of France for ideas about where to go, what to see and what do once you’re there.