Photo Diary

Cycling Madness

It is rare that I take silly risks. I’m in my fifties, for goodness sake. Still, today I was asked to go for a cycle ride with a friend, and thought it couldn’t hurt. It did.

I haven’t been regularly cycling for a while. It was two years ago I got my Kinesis bike, and boy, is it good. It’s easy, fast, direct, with great handling. I’ve only fallen off it once, and while it was painful, hey, getting fit is hard. I’ve a friend who’s a writer who once had an industrial injury. He sat at his desk so long, his leg went to sleep, and when he stood up, he fell and broke his leg. Yes, really. So falling off a bike is easy in comparison to dangerous work like writing.

Last year I was working so hard, I didn’t have time to get out on the bike for months at a time. So this month is the first time on the bike in the last ten, I think. And that means a certain anxiety while going out with Roger.

Why? Because Roger used to be a national cyclist with the Swiss team. It was a while ago, as he laughingly told me, but seeing his gleaming blue eyes smiling at me was enough to persuade me that this was probably the smile of a sadist. Was the Maquis de Sade fair-haired? I think he might have been. Did one of his children set up home in Switzerland? Hmm.

But I digress.

The first eight miles were . . . well, good at first, then painful, and then we hit a hill that had me giving up, getting off and walking. The next few were better, apart from the hill up to South Tawton, which was a really nasty one (thank you Perry for trying to run me over) – but I stayed on the bike. And Roger kindly left my gently steaming body at the corner of the lane, and cycled off up the next hill.

He really is unpleasantly fit.

So, today I have learned that I am way behind and need a new effort on the bike before I can have a chance to make the London to Brighton ride. However, the good thing is, London to Brighton doesn’t have hills like the ones round Spreyton, Chagford, Moretonhampstead . . .  so before too long, I will be ready. Honest.

I’ll have to be. I am getting money for the British Heart Foundation. After today, I know full well that getting money for that charity is enlightened self-interest.

Meanwhile there’s the book. That’ll be finished, hopefully, next week.

And then I can get back to work on the other projects.

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