Is it September already?

9th September 2013

This blog has been milling about in my head and playing on my conscience for four months…. FOUR MONTHS!!! Where did they go? How can it possibly be September already?!

My training for the Rivers Ride began early. As early as April, when I did, at least, go and have a look in the garage and found that, yes, my bike was still there.

In May we were off to bonnie Scotland for a few days and were immediately faced with a dilemma.  Remembering all the enticing cycle paths we drove past the last time we were there we had to decide….. do we go in my car, the cabriolet, with the hood down and the radio blaring, or his car …… the ancient landie with the bike rack and no obvious signs of any suspension? Well, what would you do? We took the cabriolet. Of course.

I did actually have a bit of an urge to cycle though so ten minutes of Googling later I came across Tim from Strontian Cycle hire. What a discovery. Couldn’t be more helpful. All he needed was our inside leg measurement and we were sorted. He met us at our holiday cottage on the banks of Loch Shiel.

Next morning dawned, fondly reminiscent of last year’s Rivers Ride. Identical torrential downpours, howling gales, everything. Undeterred we set off to cycle to Loch Moidart, three miles away, where the kids were staying. The landie owner was his usual helpful self. At the least sign of an incline he would yell instructions such as, “Change up!!” or “Top gear NOW!!”

I didn’t like to say, but I honestly hadn’t a clue what he meant. I mean, which gear is top….the one where pedalling is harder or the one where pedalling is easier? And do you “change up” to pedal faster or slower? I have no idea. All I know is if I tweak my thumb the hills get much easier and if I tweak my forefinger I don’t have to pedal so fast on the flat. And any fool can see when a hill is coming up so what more do you need? But, we were on holiday, and I was having such fun, what with the sodden hair plastered across my eyes and the persistent trickle of cold water coursing down the middle of my back, so I just ignored it and carried on, chuckling merrily to myself all the while. The kids fed us then kicked us back out into the storm for a jolly ride back home. So six miles in total and a fun start to our holiday.

Fortunately the next day dawned sunny and warm, so we packed a picnic and set out to explore. All I want to know is, why does every bike not have a lovely, soft, leather Brookes saddle? I had no inkling of the lasting effects of the previous day’s endeavours until my nether regions hit the solid ridge that masqueraded for a seat on Strontian’s best. It was agony. We got as far as the village of Acharacle, with me affecting a lop-sided technique that I’ve yet to see on the Tour de Anywhere, and the frequent change of sides made it rather difficult to maintain a straight trajectory. We did a bit of a tour down to the Loch and out to the end of the village and were back home for coffee.

The next day we did a quick scoot to the village for the morning paper and then rang Tim.