Allo! mes jolly suiveurs!
I expect you are wondering “What is ‘appening, ‘e ‘as not been clogging for 2 weeks!”
Well mes amis, a lot ‘as been ‘appening inside mon bureau, as I try to mobilise ever more supporters. And not without success! One of them, let us call her ‘Madame Moy’, has even volunteered to come to France to line the route and stir the crowd to a frenzy as I speed past. Poor deluded girl! Does she not realise that I shall be riding in disguise? There is already enough problem with British Yellow Jerseys, British Brexit and British Beef without me getting involved.
I ‘ave ‘ad a lot of fan mail to deal with. ‘Ere are a couple of examples:
Ze Postie, has already been complaining (but that is normal), of so many envelopes all marked ‘Allez Grand-Père!’. I ‘ave ‘ad to promise to bring ‘im back a yellow Postman Patrice bike to quieten ‘im down.
It should be easy to buy one – nowadays zey have vélos électriques, so the old ones are Dix a Euro down the antiquaires.
There have been two sorts of reaction to the “300 Miles” distance …….
First, there are those in the Monsieur Alphonse camp – “Oh my God! If you ‘ave not a dicky ticker already, you will certainly ‘ave one after zat!”
And then there are those fresh from watching Geraint de Wales win the Tour de France. Such knowledgeable people regard 300 miles as just a couple of days in the peloton – a ball of chalk in the Noah’s ark, as my Cockney friends would say.
So where does the balance lie? Well, I’ve calculated that, to a reasonable physiological approximation, my ticker has so far ticked 27 hundred million times…….. So, those in the first camp are giving me plenty of alarm and I am wondering if I should be swallowing a little olive oil to keep things lubricated (along with the vin rouge of course).
I’ve also calculated, to an equally reasonable physiological approximation, that all those very thin men in Lycra pouring up-hill over the Alpe d’Huez in the Tour de France, are 27 hundred million times fitter than I am. Their bikes weigh 7 kilos, mine weighs 18 kilos; followers throw bags of food and drink at them as they go by; the huddle of the peloton shelters them from the wind and a masseur awaits them every evening.
Factor in that I will be riding 50% of the time on rocky tracks and paths over jagged limestone outcrops, and I reckon my 300 Miles will turn out to be a loooooooong way – très beaucoup looooongue in fact, maybe 30+ hours in the saddle.
Better do some training then, Jon!
Or (scrabbles furiously for an easier way out) could I rely on genetics?
Well, a diligent search of the ancestors has revealed that my father went bicycle camping in the New Forest in 1935. However, family history has it that he was forced to give up after 3 days owing to loss of way, pony strikes, and complete exhaustion.
Looking further backwards into the gene bank reveals nothing, nada, not even two half-pennies and a farthing. But, looking forward, what about the progeny?
Well, number 1 son did show early promise riding pillion on a Bamileke bicycle, when growing up in West Africa …….
and then revealed actual competence, racing en peloton from London to Paris to raise funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research whilst doing total immersion research for his third novel “Gold”. He’s the smiley one.
So I can have some hope that raw, innate talent will surface and come to my assistance. But I’m hedging my bets, and getting some training miles under my wheels.
I have to say that there is no finer country to pedal round than Dorset!
The last 10 days have seen me in Purbeck, round the edge of the Golden Bowl of Encombe:
watching the harvest above Tolpuddle (and almost everywhere else besides):
overtaking slow worms on the Wareham Forest trails:
and facing down the military in Bovington.
Yesterday morning, knowing the hills and mountains that await in the Drôme, I pedalled north up the long, steady, 702 feet of climb from the village to the top of Bulbarrow Hill. When I was a lad, we knew Bulbarrow as the highest point in Dorset at 900 ft. But now, in the metric age, Lewesden Hill has been measured by satellite as 5 metres higher. I feel forever cheated!
Anyway, here is the view from the top of Bulbarrow looking northeast, around midday.
Back to the village was downhill all the way from here!
A good point to end this clog – on a 702 ft roll home!
Click on ‘Follow Blog via email’ to register & keep up with the clogs as we, bike & I, continue to get into shape, then cross the Channel on the “Barfleur” and head south to the Drôme Provençale in time to ride ‘September 300’ for Cancer Research UK.
To donate to Cancer Research UK, please click on “My Cancer Research Page” at the top of this post. It will take you to a secure Cancer Research donation page and will allow you to say if Gift Aid can be claimed on your donation.