Cycling = hope…..perhaps

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70km

Most of my riding may be solo these days, given that I live out ‘in the sticks’, but I invariably join up with other roadies at some ‘watering hole’ to chew over the fat, and to indulge in that favourite pastime of most roadies……coffee and cake.

One of the groups I tie in with is made up mostly of the ‘retired-and-idle’, who have nothing better to do with their spare time than to ride bikes and eat cake. I mean that in

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jest of course, but it’s not too far from the truth. Today’s ride took me to a small Northamptonshire village called Earls Barton, a community with a rich Anglo Saxon heritage (pre-600 AD), in later years famous for its leather trade, and most recently a protagonist in the film Kinky Boots, which was based on the Northamptonshire shoe trade.

Our watering hole today was a very nice café in the local marina, nestling beside the moorings of river boats and narrow boats, and it was warm enough in the sunshine to sit outside on the veranda. Although I have been

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retired for nearly ten years, I was clearly the ‘junior’ member of this group, the eldest well into his 80s. And this is the message of hope, perhaps…….that riding a bike regularly, doing some decent weekly mileage (which all of these people clearly do), keeps you fit and active……and it is remarkable how little the aches and pains of old age creep into the chat and banter over the table. If any discomfort and pain is ever mentioned it is usually about the damn headwind on the way out, or the hill that had them grinding in their lowest gear…….or occasionally about some inconsiderate driver who nearly cut them up. Otherwise, we are usually engaged in relating anecdotes of cycling times past, or discussing something technical about the bikes, or mocking the latest generation of sportive riders who ‘have all the gear and no idea’…….and would be better off riding a cheaper bike and losing several kilos of body fat.

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All said and done, we have a laugh.

Then I came across this green plaque in Woolaston and learned something new about the town……

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on March 25, 2018, in Cycling UK and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. I love that about riding, the chatting it up at a cafė followed by the ride home. Man, that’s perfect right there. Still too cold to stop for any length of time but we’re getting there.

  2. I have just come back from Mallorca and that is just what we do there as well. We just ask for Cortago and Almond cake. Also there was snow on the top of some of the hills and at this time of the year!

  3. Oooh this was wonderful to read … I am a newbie to the cycling world. I actually have none of the gear and still no idea but I’m learning, and learning fast. I’m planning a trip from the north to south of France at the end of July. (The Atlantic Cycling Route) so easy stuff for beginners like me, I’m just doing the full length of it rather than just a section … nothing like a challenge! Therefore, any advice whatsoever that you want to give would be kindly received! Thanks, Katie

    • Great project to have…..and one to savour for a first major tour. I have spent years whittling down my luggage to less than 10 kilos, including camping kit. So travel as light as you dare, and be flexible about your daily mileages….and live off the ‘fat of the land’!

      • Now that’s good advice … I think tomorrow I shall weigh my kit. I’m trying to keep it as light as possible, bearing in mind that the bike itself is more of a hybrid, so heavier than a true road bike I presume, because of the different surfaces that I’ll be cycling on. I had to carry it up and down various flights of steps today along the Thames Path where I went a bit wrong, it was heavy but do-able! Thanks so much for the advice …. any more is very welcome! Katie

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