A record of my cycling trips in Britain and abroad


By the bonnie bonnie banks of Loch Lomond

Day 7
Cycling distance: approx. 120 km

day7map.pngI woke fairly late, but feeling surprisingly well rested having slept so close to the main railway line - I don’t remember being woken at all during the night. Maybe trains stop running overnight, but I thought freight trains carried on; maybe I’m wrong, or maybe I was just that tired! I followed what was now the rapid routine of packing my tent and getting a quick bite to eat - not really breakfast, that comes later on, after an hour or so’s riding. I was back on the road heading north through rolling hills and soft moorland, different to both the lowland plains and the higher Scottish mountains proper. By the time I was starting to think about eating again the countryside was giving way to towns and the outskirts of Glasgow. [Read More…]


Heading North

Apologies for the rather long delay in adding the rest of the 3 peaks trip; however, it’s now winter, so I’m riding less, which means I have more time to update this blog…

Day 6
Cycling distance: approx. 170 km

day6route.pngSo, two peaks and about half the trip’s cycling done - halfway through! It ought to be a cause for celebration… however instead, this morning we had a conference about the path to take. We are now at least half a day behind schedule, and the pressures of working life mean that we don’t have the option of extending the trip to compensate. Simon and Polly are very keen to cut our losses and head to Ben Nevis by the shortest route - which means along busy A roads. On the other hand, I’m adamant that I enjoy the cycling part of the trip - afterall, that’s the real purpose of it - and would rather spend longer cycling each day to take the scenic routes, even if that means not climbing Ben Nevis in the end. Eventually, we decide to take different routes: Polly and Simon will head straight for Fort William, while I’ll spend longer going through the Lakes and following the national cycle network route from there on. (Of course, pride won’t let me get there any later than they do anyway if I can possibly help it!)
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Champs Elysees and home

The cycling for the trip - for us, at least - was over on the Friday. All that remained was to drive back, with an interlude via Paris to watch the final stage of the Tour (by long tradition finishing on the Champs Elysees). Saturday’s plan was to pack, and drive to Paris, where we would spend the night. A combination of a slightly late start, and more traffic than we’d anticipated, meant we didn’t make it as far as we’d hoped by lunchtime. In the end, this turned out to be rather fortuitous: we decided to the turn the enforced delay to our advantage and stop off in Grenoble to see the time trial. This was very productive in terms of pictures (time trial photos), and also it turned out to be a critical leg of the race. Others, I’m sure, have written about the race in far greater depth than I have here, so I’ll simply give a brief overview: Andy Schleck took the yellow jersey on Friday, on the strength of his phenomenal ride the day before, which had left him about 15 seconds behind Voeckler going into Friday’s stage. However, his nearest challenger on Saturday morning was the world-renowned time triallist Codel Evans, who was about 1 minute behind Schleck in the GC competition. Evans managed to take 2 minutes off Schleck in the time trial - with the help of a 30mph bunnyhop over a manhole cover - to take the lead and win overall; cue a mass outbreak of Aussie flags outside most of the bars in Grenoble!
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Friday: up, up, up

The last day of cycling of the holiday arrived, and with it, possibly the biggest challenge of the trip: to cycle the Col de la Bonette, the highest road in France, at 2802m. This ride wasn’t so long as the others, it was just very very high. We drove out to the village of Jausiers, arriving there late morning. I find it rather charmng the way each alpine village has it’s own blend of national characteristics; Jausiers, for example, is quintessetially French, yet there is an unmistakable Italian influence, in such things as the central fountain, the character of the shops, and a dozen other little things, in a very different combination from, say, Sestriere, which is a similar size and also close to the France - Italy border.
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Thursday: to the Galibier

Today sees the tour riders follow a similar route to our Monday ride - they’ll climb Agnel from the Italian side, then over Izuoard, and then finish at the top of the Col du Galibier: the 9th highest paved road in the Alps, according to Wikipedia, and a new record for the highest Tour stage finish. Our plan is to set off, head through Briançon and then watch them somewhere up the final climb.
[Read More…]