Monday, 24 October 2011

A new plan evolving...

It's a dry and bright autumn Sunday the predominantly blue sky is smeared with streaks of white cloud and the sun offers a hint of warmth to combat the cool breeze. We are out for a gentle ride today - girls are allowed to join us!. We've arranged to meet at one of the oldest pubs in Leicestershire, we will sit outside for what must surely be the last time this year and enjoy a pub lunch before riding back. It's an altogether stress free idea, no need to worry about anything, just enjoy.

Cate and I cycle at a leisurely 10mph or so; at this speed there really is the chance to look around. The trees are showing their autumn colours and there is a distant spiralling smoke plume from an unseen garden bonfire.

At the pub we do indeed sit out, choosing a table that makes the most of the sunshine. Unusually for me I'm not in the mood for a beer - I settle for a coffee and a bowl of home made tomato soup with a warm baguette and a we share a bowl of the most amazing home-cooked chips, they really are the best I've tasted for a long time; deliciously golden with a crisp shell and then beautifully floury and fluffy inside - we decide they have been cooked with at least the 'double-fry' method, quite possibly 'triple'.

A small tortoiseshell butterfly, late season, fresh-hatched, flutters around us- it really is hard to believe that it is almost November. There's a reminder in the pub that it will bonfire night soon. The Sealed Knot are staging a small skirmish in the pub garden - there will be a cannon! - it sounds like it would be worth a visit.

As we sit sipping and chatting we realise that we need to make plans for 2012 - we need a target, something to aim at to entice us onto our bikes over the cold months that are looming. We have talked about France, we had an idea to ride from the Channel to the Med - Calais to St Tropez or something similar, amazingly it isn't as far as Lands End to John O'Groats and we figured the weather would be better. But the idea of another ten days of solid riding, day after day was greeted with some reluctance. Gary suggested we travel over by car, rent a Gite and ride up one of the famous mountains of The Tour de France. We could do that for one day then just gently cycle around for the rest of the time, exploring the countryside, visiting vineyards and fromageries - we all thought this sounded like a good plan. Mount Ventoux was suggested - The windy mountain in the heart of Provence - a frightening climb and the mountain where the English cyclist Tom Simpson lost his life in the 1960's. We agreed to research the idea. I'll post more details as they emerge!

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