Years ago, in New Zealand, I climbed a monster hill on a hire bike and gazed down the valley as drizzle turned to snow, accumulating on fir tree branches. I returned the bike to the store, shared a laugh with the owner. Returned to my hostel as the weather picked up.
In the Loire, I span past picture postcard villages as the sun sapped my speed. A cafe offered refreshment and a warm welcome. Little beats that end of ride feeling and basking in a post ride glow.
Copenhagen was interesting. My continental riding frailties exposed. I remember joining a mass of humanity and feeling vulnerable as my brain worked out direction, destination and unfamiliar bike handling (it was a whopper of a city bike with a big ‘ole drum break). But I loved it. City cycling as it should be; of the people and for the people.
Setting off from Brugges was a delight, an 18,000 strong peloton spinning away from gothic beauty and toward pavé pain. The camaraderie was compelling, the surfaces challenging. I earned my stripes that day (and more than a few trappist ales).
Yorkshire Dales. Where do I start? My obsession with the peaks? The countryside almost completely sculpted by human hands? Rolling roads? Dry Bridlepaths? The echo of a Curlew? Probably the highest compliment I can pay Yorkshire is that it’s provided a benchmark and yardstick with which to settle the question: home or away?
Home. It took 5 hours in a car, 1 hour on a singlespeed and eventide on the River Taff to settle it.
Image above: The sun descends at Radyr.