It only seems like a week or two ago that I’d decided to embark on a little bike ride somewhere and some point. At the time I never thought it would be anywhere near this. At most, it was to be a few hundred miles spanning 5 days at the most and more than likely within England. I had initially looked at a ride from York to Exeter. 330ish miles of relatively flat cycling following a few rivers. You see, the missus wanted a girly holiday away with our daughters and the lovely mother-in-law (yes, truly, she is!). She asked if I minded and of course I replied with ‘Of course not darling, you go and have a lovely time. I can do some decorating whilst you’re all away’ (‘bound to score a few brownie points there’ I thought!). Then came the reply which, was heaven-sent and went something like, “You can have a week or so away in France cycling if you want to!”. Now, dear reader, this is not to say that I need permission but as a bloke and I’m sure many would agree, to get something you like to do and she has no interest in, rubber stamped by her indoors is a Brucie-bonus as it can’t use it against you at a later date or several years down the line haha!!! Anyway, I casually said “Hmmm ok, that might be good” – not to dress it up at all. Meanwhile, inside, I was punching the air and going “whoop- whoop!” every 10 seconds!
So, a trip in France was then born. First though, I thought about a little circuit in the North-East corner of France visiting some of the 1st World War battle fields. Whilst researching routes on Google, I was amazed at how flat this area was and then began to look further afield at other locations. An hour or 2 later, a rough route was plotted and rough daily distances calculated. A week later, accommodation was booked in France and then the ride was extended to London. Originally it was going to be a South-North jaunt but for reasons outlined in an earlier post on this blog, I changed it all around.
The bike is all set – eventually. When I took delivery of it, I was amazed at how such a lovely, well-designed machine can be sold with such a bloody awful saddle. Why do they do this? Why invest hundreds of thousands of euros/marks/dollars etc in frame and wheel development only to top it off with a spike cunningly disguised as a saddle. After several rides and the development of some pretty impressive sores, I binned the factory fitted instrument of torture and opted for my trusty Brooks rock hard leather touring saddle. It got me to John O’Groats without any pains in the arse so I’m sure it’ll be fine for this trip. With any luck, the only pain in the arse will be the absence of a bakery on a Sunday in french France!
So, here we are 4 days away from Marble Arch to the Med. It’s all become a little bit real now and nerves have kicked in. Training opportunities have been a bit pants and very few and far between due to work commitments but I’m sure I’ll manage. As for the fundraising stuff, it’s rapidly approaching £2000 which is the target. Hopefully, I’ll end up with a couple of hundred more than that.
Many thanks to all who have donated so far.