Biking in Biscarosse

It was the middle of the summer, and apart from vacationing I had not done anything useful yet. The flying microbe was itching so I decided to add another useless activity to my vacation: a long flight to Biscarosse (LFBS), a mythical  airport from where the flying boats from the Aeropostale started on their journey south to Brazil, Argentina and Chili. Biscarosse is at a lake, near the Atlantic ocean south of Bordeaux.

This flight tied flying past with flying future: I had trained for some hours on waterflying earlier that year, and I was going to follow that very Aeropostale route in Africa !

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I decided when I would fly to Biscarosse, I would test the theory of taking a bike along to do some local biking. My mother was so kind to lend her electric bike to me, so I could practice loading that vehicle in and out of my Piper Turbo Arrow III.

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It actually folds nicely and it fits on the back seat. Taking the backseat out would have been even more handy, but there was no need as I flew alone.

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I took the western route around Paris early morning and climbed all the way to FL190 on oxygen.

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That Arrow flies pretty fast and after 2.5hrs I was crossing the Garonne river in Bordeaux already, ready to descent into Biscarosse.

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There was nobody on the field. I topped off fuel first so I did not have to bother about that later: that turned out to be a mistake, because the fuel heated up in the afternoon soon, expanded and escaped from the venting hole over the wing, leaving a nasty blue streak of evaporated AVGAS.

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I biked (electrically :-)) towards the lake of Biscarosse (actually “Hydrobase de Biscarosse”) where I indeed saw some floatplanes doing their touch-and-goes far away on the water.

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I continued my bike ride to the nearby “Musée de Hydraviation“: a larger-than-you think exposé about France’s golden years of flying boats. If you are in the neighborhood: it’s worth a visit !

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I had booked a hotel at the seaside resort of Biscarosse plage, about 12 km from the Musee. However, I thought I could take a shortcut through the dunes to get to the main road, but the only thing I obtained was a flat tire ! So I continued by foot to a nearby cycle store to get my bike repaired while enjoying a beer and watching the vacationers strolling by.

After about an hour, I could continue my journey to the hotel.

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The next morning, I woke up early to bike back to the airfield in the freshness of the summer morning: gorgeous ! I found Papa Charlie back in its original state (except for the blue AVGAS streak) and took off without having spoken to a living soul. This time my destination was Rodez (LFCR) where I had some business to take care off.

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The approach onto Rodez was interesting: I checked in with their Approach frequency. A couple of minutes later, the Ryanair flight also checked in. The controller immediately asked me to fo expect delays because of that 737. I told him that I accept any approach that will put me on teh ground before that Ryanair. He complied and let me do a visual approach onto runway 13 while the Ryanair was vectored to the ILS of runway 31. I was first on the ground and I beat the queue at the rental car desk !!

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Later that day, I flew back home … to Lille (LFQQ) uneventfully.

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Bringing the electric bike on the plane worked out very well after all. And I was able to waste two beautiful summer days in flying :).

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