Had a BEAUT of a bike ride out to The Woolpack in Slad today. Sunny and (fairly) warm, it was pretty glorious to get outside. I have decided that my new bike is a) a girl and b) called Crumpet. No real special reason for that name: she’s a Croix (nope, still don’t know how to say it) de Fer, and so decided to think of words beginning with C. Crumpet was the first C-word (HA!) that came into my head (not sure why, I’m not a huge fan of the foodstuff) and so, voila, that’s it.
She’s a bloody DELIGHT to ride and I had a pretty big smile on my face for all of the ride, but ESPECIALLY that long downhill into Slad – weeeeeeeeee! What I failed to realise at the time is that YOU HAVE TO GO BACK UP AGAIN for the route that we were taking back. This realisation dawned on me when my belly was fully of chips and two pints of beer (one of which I’d pretty much downed). Not the best cycling conditions; that first hill was a pretty harsh warm up and I spent most of it regretting my life choices (not for the first time that week too). But of course, what goes up must come down and the cycle back to Cheltenham along a different route (along the side of Coopers Hill) brought a pretty sweet sun setting view and then the A46 Shurdington Road became a racetrack to go as fast as possible because I’d forgotten to take my lights with me….I can confirm I beat the actual sunset, my thighs were on fire and no cyclists were harmed….
Well. They nearly were later on… After a quick pit stop to pick up said lights, it was time to make a beeline for The Barrel, the outside festive bar on the Prom (it’s not actually got a name, that’s just what I have called it – it’s shaped like a barrel). On the way to The B, I nearly got taken out by a car which pulled out of a side road while I was haring down (us cyclists can go quite fast you know) Montpellier to The Prom. Luckily she put her brakes on in time otherwise I would have absolutely hit the side of her car and gone flying for sure, but I had to slam mine on too and felt the back wheel go from under me. At that moment all kinds of things flashed through my mind….”shit, Crumpet is so nice and shiny and new…..PLEASE DON’T BREAK…SHIT, I might actually break too….oh no, and if I do, I might not be able to cycle in Chile. Look at Stav and his broken collarbone, I could be joining him…well, I might bounce…oh crap now I am wiggling around…maybe this is good, maybe this will be OK…HA!” Yes, I managed to fishtail it a little bit and stay upright. How the holy crap I did, I don’t know, but Tara: 1, Road: 0. My skin stayed on my body and didn’t end up on the Promenade and all bones remain intact. Hurrah!
I then glided down the rest of the Prom towards the traffic lights.
Van driver behind: “That was a close one eh love <chuckle>”
Me: “Yes, it bloody was eh <manic-adrenaline fuelled laughter>”
Me: “Did you see that Sam?” (who was behind me)
Sam: “See what?”
Me: “DAMN IT, I totally smashed some cycle-riding wizardry there and you didn’t see”
Cycling is bloody ace. But motorists, please look out for us and our bright flashing lights.