Tomorrow, Maurice and I set off on our own mini adventure.
I’m used to riding my beautiful angry blue handlebar-ed Mira up and down speedy country lanes – or (making attempts at) smashing up dual carriageways (though this year they’ve been more twisty country lanes – why is that??) on Roo-be-Roo the TT bike – usually paying little attention to much other than pedalling.
Now: For something completely different.
We’re going “Touring”.
(I realise my map looks a little phallic. Totally unintentional and I’m not doing another one. Even if I did, I think it would still look the same..)
Touring is like a whole new country of the cycling world – where people wax lyrical about Brookes and actually stop to take in the landscape their travelling through. It’s all going to be very different, and I’m excited about sampling the new-old-fashioned lifestyle.
I’m quite accustomed to the Maurice/Michelle riding pattern – sit behind comfortably for 20-30miles (occasionally being tempted to overtake but realising this is futile and thus trying not to half-wheel), stop for coffee, take the lead intermittently for 15-20miles, before just about managing to hold on for the final 5miles where either I’ve worn myself out in the second half, or he’s sped up at the thought of lunch (I am sure this is the incentive) – followed by a very disciplined cool down 10mins from home which I never do on my own. Entire days of what I’m told is more ambling by bike is going to be somewhat different.
I’ve had to specifically purchase items that I’m sure are designed with the sole purpose of making ones bike slow. The offending items have been fitted to my bike, namely a rack and panniers – and the whole caboodle has been taken for a little spin.
I’ve been informed the bike will feel a bit funny at first, but actually Dulce felt quite ok. She wobbled a bit when I got out the saddle but still felt smooth and I didn’t feel in danger of wiping out on the corners.
The plus side of all the anchoring devices is that Dolce and I are now a totally self sufficient unit. Lovely Dulce (my 21st birthday present, first road bike and the start of a beautiful relationship with cycling) and I have some nice big pockets, and effectively we have everything we need stored to live a very simple life of rolling along, sleeping and eating, for a week (ok – with the help of Maurice who carries the tent to go with my poles ;-p) :
Now, as is obviously very clear, I’ve never done this before so I wasn’t sure really what to pack. After some pondering, I came up with:
And… I think that’s it.
The bike now looks like a wonderful vehicle for making my bum look smaller:
I got Dulce in around May 2010 (she’s a 2009 model I think) – and within a couple of months the two of us were climbing mountains in the Pyrenees. I still had cages on the pedals, didn’t own a single pair of padded cycling shorts, didn’t know what gels were or that chamois cream existed, and I don’t think I could change a puncture without assistance. Still, Dulce and I had an amazing time:
Since then, Dulce has been to Majorca, and done a lot of UK miles, and I’m pretty excited about our next adventure. It’s amazing, really, how one bike – which seemed at the time to be a grossly overpriced item at £750 – has given me so much pleasure, and granted me so many experiences over the years.
Dulce might have seemed expensive at the time, but she’s well and truly paid her way in service. (Admittedly, of course – over her 3 years I’ve replaced: brakes, pedals, wheels (twice), cassette (3 times?), chain (twice?), tyres (lots), bar tape, handlebars, stem, saddle, pedals, cables… anyway..)
Now, three years on, we’re going on a whole new adventure to discover a completely new territory of the cycling world.
And hopefully, when I come back, my TT bike is going to feel like a feather on all those flat out dual carriageway courses I’ve got planned :-p