Since childhood I've loved cycling. In my teens my bike, a red-brown three speed Raleigh Cameo with a pleasing curve in its frame like this one gave me the freedom that I yearned for. I strayed miles from the family home around the
Essex countryside. Once, I came unstuck and got a puncture in
the middle of nowhere. My friend and I
haled down a man in a car, begged 2p off him, for that was the price of a phone
box call, and phoned home. Due to the
distance my parents took a long time to get me.
'Try and stay closer to Southend.' they cautioned. I took heed and so circled the house of the boy that I had a crush on instead. No romantic good came of it!
Moving on in life I ditched the
or rather it was nicked from the bike
sheds. I treated myself to a posh hybrid
but can't recall the name or make.
Perhaps that's a measure of that particular bike's sentimental worth to
me. It was though my main form of
transport around Exeter
whilst studying to be an occupational therapist in the late nineties. There's a good network of cycle paths that
took me between home, college and the accountancy firm where I used to complete
tax returns in any spare hour to supplement my grant. Even though I could drive by then I reckon that the petrol tank had to be
filled once every six weeks.
My current bike is my favourite. Any enthusiast would tell you it's nothing special, a Giant bought from a hire shop at the end of the season. I've shown it to you guys before. It's the most comfortable one that I've ever been on though and has been customised with a distinctive green saddle and a Ortlieb handlebar bag, my equivalent of those baskets that other girlies have, but more practical and waterproof. I hadn't been on it since September and in anticipation of riding it this holiday I decided to forego a DIY service and treat it to a trip to the bike shop. The blokes there have done me proud and it rides like a dream.
And so I'm finally back in the saddle on this French holiday. The inaugural trip was down to the nearest harbour to our campsite for beer and crepes. Yesterday Lou and I set out on a bigger adventure, a round trip of widely varying gradients totaling about two and a half hours. And without the help of any of that fancy lycra clothing. Okay there's a bit of the stuff to give my leggings stretch but they're mostly cotton! I am proud to say that we got up this big hill above which started way before anything that you can see in the picture. The journey from the port at Perros Guirec to this viewpoint overlooking a beach was done without a rest stop passing some serious cycling dudes having a rest, Ha! Living proof that my surgeon has done a bloody good job on that knee and all the exercise bike action hasn't been in vain. More rewards necessary. Louis wanted another one of those crabs that he likes to attack with strange culinary instruments. As I was in celebratory mood his wish was my command!