I have worked out how to get people visiting my retirement blog. I discovered it after posting my blog about my night with The Eagles. People googled, I guess, Eagles tour Leeds, and the poor sods ended up on my blog. So I now see another golden opportunity to increase my visitors by including as many references to the Tour de France / Tour de Yorkshire / Grand Depart etc., as is humanly possible in this blog. So here we go.
I had my first taste of the Tour de France / Tour de Yorkshire, Tour de France in Yorkshire on Wednesday. I was overtaken by one of the ‘teams’ of the Tour de Yorkshire. The name on the side of the estate car with the bikes on top and the support van, as I believe they are called, was BMX or something. But it was hard to read at speed – theirs not ours. I decided in a flash they were French. As this was on the M1, coming back from a visit to my mother’s, it was something of a surprise. But, given the route of the Tour de France in Yorkshire as shown, I shouldn’t be surprised as the route seems massively perverse. To me if you want to get from Leeds to Harrogate there are much quicker ways but then perhaps I’m missing the point, they certainly are – the quickest route. And the other thing I will say is that if their race performance is anything like their motorway performance they’re worth an each way bet.
Although frankly their driving was appalling, very French I thought – they could simply have been confused by driving on the left of course in which case they might have thought they were constantly in the slow lane rather than where they actually were – constantly in the fast lane, ignoring all attempts by other vehicles to get past, but again to be fair, given that they were doing about 100 mph (not kph again another possible source of confusion) perhaps they were surprised that other vehicles should try and over-take them. But they did try. To no avail. I thought they would slow down when they got to the 50 mph zones, of which there are a number on the M1 now and forever. I thought we might catch them up and then I could give them un morceau de my mind about their driving performance. They did not slow down and continued at 100 mph, now about double the legal speed limit. Sacre bleu. Of course they may not have been French at all in which case ignore the whole of this paragraph.
And talking of which, and just in case they were actually French, my move into fluent French reminds me it’s time to dig out my favourite French speaking guide so I may parle fluentment with our visitors. It is Miles Kington Let’s Parler Francais!, published 1974 and still a classic. I was a big fan of Miles and his writings and no better time to bring out his book, (see above) than now. With ‘chapters’ on ‘Avec la Traffic Warden’; ‘Apres l’Accident’ and ‘Dans le Travel Agent’, how much more relevance do you want?. Tour de France in Yorkshire, Tour de France in Yorkshire, Tour de France in Yorkshire. That’s should bring another 100 visitors to the blog.
It may or may not be the right moment to bring out something else – a blog I wrote a long time ago but never published. It was waiting for its moment in the light and this may just be it. It was about exercise broadly which from my blog on diabetes you will know has been a disappointment, and cycling specifically. It went like this at the time – another part of the retirement jigsaw. How often have we been told about the missing link? We might not know who or what it is but we know it’s important. If ever a life stage accommodated this concept then retirement must surely be the one.
Anyway hold the front page because I may have found it. It’s not new but it is for me. Here it is –exercise. Generally a hateful concept for me thus far but times are changing. Exercise is reportedly life-extending. Maybe, watch this space – a continuing blank may mean not the case. Back to the present (or actually the past). Exercise, and for me that means a bike ride. Admittedly instigated by my wife. She’s concerned about my health and not without good reason. More of that at another time.
I have to say that the first attempt at exploiting my knowledge of the missing link was an inauspicious one. The Irish have a lovely expression designed to wish a person good luck – may the wind always be at your back and the road rise up to meet you. Half of it is true when applied to cycling. The wind is rarely at your back but the road, even flat roads, do rise up to meet you.The original ambitious plan was to cycle along the bank of our local canal. This was rapidly abandoned when it proved too difficult to get the newly purchased bike rack on to our Land Rover. So we went for a local, local route. Out the front door in fact. Even on this route gentle gradients became mountainous but hey, this is the missing link, so be happy.
By the time I got back I wasn’t so happy and that was to do with the pain or rather pains. My backside and crotch hurt from the saddle, my hands hurt from pressing down on the handle bars. My calves, thighs and lungs hurt for obvious reasons and my head hurt from trying to work out the location of the, reportedly, 27 gears on my son’s fancy mountain bike. It’s six inch wide tyres (or so it felt) are, no doubt, perfect for crossing the Alps on mountain trails but bleedin’ useless on tarmac. Oh and the other thing that hurt was the bruising to my ego, battered by the sight of my wife’s backside disappearing into the distance. Even worse the sight of her front as she waited patiently / patronisingly for me to catch up. We were out 30 minutes by her watch and two hours by mine. So there we are, life outside of the summerhouse. I was glad to get back under cover.
All this I shall bear in mind as I watch The Tour de France in Yorkshire, The Tour de France in Yorkshire, The Tour, oh bloody hell, you get the idea, from the comfort of my sofa.
I have to stop now, we’re off to the city centre to take a look at the start – The Grand (in Yorkshire this is as in Eeh, ain’t life grand) Depart, I don’t have high hopes even if we can get there and the buses haven’t been diverted to Bradford – photos of the backs of a thousand people’s heads are the most likely result, but you never know. There’s no point going any further because the whole of Yorkshire is closed down. Yes, I exaggerate but then that’s what I’m good at. Some people are good at riding bikes and some at exaggeration. In retirement I’ve become good at the latter. Enjoy the Tour de France, oh shut up. I’ll let you know how our trip into town goes.