Sunday, March 13, 2016

Some days are cycling days, some days are not.

French Village Diaries cycling gardening France
Behind the peloton

Some days are cycling days and some days are not. Yesterday was a non-cycling day, despite our best plans.

Saturday morning was a flurry of activity; I baked a cake, sorted the washing and ironing, Adrian walked the dog and planned our cycle route, we had morning coffee in the garden, Ed had a lie in and after a quick-cook pasta lunch we were ready to set off. It is not a given these days that Ed will want to come with us, but it was our lucky day, or so we thought, and we were all looking forward to a forty kilometre family bike ride.

The first spanner in the works was having driven 7km towards our start point Adrian realised he had left his clever gadget-thingy at home. His Garmin not only has all the route information on it, but also records all our data whilst out on the bikes, enabling us to see how far, how fast, how many calories etc. It is impossible to cycle without one (so I have been told), so we turned around and went back for it. The next issue found us when we turned off the main road to cut across to the village of Sainte Soline, but found ourselves stuck behind the peloton of a local cycling club, as it seemed we weren’t the only ones who’d thought about heading out on our bikes. On a small road, where overtaking would be impossible, we crawled along behind them for a few kilometres but eventually arrived, unpacked the bikes and were ready to go.

The weather was pretty good with plenty of sun, although cool when the wind blew, but we were happy to be out in the sunshine. Unfortunately less than four kilometres later and with a creak and a clunk as he changed gear to cycle up the first hill, the chain on Adrian’s bike snapped and fell to the ground. If it had been a puncture he could have fixed it, but without the necessary tool it was the end of the road for his bike. I selflessly volunteered to sit on a bench, which when the wind dropped was almost warm, while he valiantly hopped on my bike to return to the car with Ed. I wish I had taken a picture of him on my bike as it was quite funny to see to his knees hitting the handlebars and it did look rather like he was riding a child’s bike. At least it isn’t bright pink!

The Garmin data proudly told us we had burned off a meagre 124 calories, so when we got home it was all hands on deck (except Ed) to mow the lawns and carry on with the cutting back, pruning and shredding. It was a disappointment, but if we had have completed our route the garden wouldn’t look quite as nice as it does and we would also have missed seeing our neighbour who has small plot of land next to ours. She is in her late sixties and only comes to the village about ten times a year to spend time in the garden where she grew up. It is her little souvenir and all that is left as her family home was demolished many years ago. This was her first visit this year and she needed Adrian’s help to fix a gate that was damaged in the recent winds, so I have a feeling we were meant to be at home after all.

Adrian also managed to fix his chain, so we’re hoping to get some cycling done this week; unfortunately it has been rather too windy today. We both have quite ambitious projects planned with our bikes this year, so we do need to get some practice in very soon.