My chances, finally, of living out the edgy Clash lifestyle I’ve secretly craved, are doomed. This realisation flared up in my head, in synch with the lights in front of me, as they changed in turn from red, to amber, to green and I duly started churning my cranks. The problem is I’m never going to jump red lights. I will wait diligently for the correct colour to appear before humbly pedalling across. So you can gather from this that I am neither an iconoclast, nor an anarchist, nor an ‘RLJ-er’ (red light jumper). Obeying traffic signals, I fear, is not very punk rock.
I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure the group responsible for White Riot, Guns of Brixton, Death or Glory, I Fought the Law, Bank Robber and Spanish Bombs, was not concerned with toeing the line and obeying all of society’s rules. That’s a major part of why the Clash are, in my estimation, the best band there’s ever been (I offer as exhibit A, their almost perfect album, London Calling). However, they were also strong ad…


The ride from Port de Pollenca to Cap de Formentor - to the lighthouse indeed - is great training for  Ventoux. While it’s neither as long nor as daunting, it resembles the 'Giant’s' upper reaches because much of the Formentor road clings to the side of the hill, following the mountain’s contours, rather than zig-zagging in d’Huez-style hairpins. In this sense much of the route is a ‘mini-me’ version of the bald mountain’s most famous sections.

I tackled the lighthouse in mid-afternoon heat. As I reached the viewing area after the first climb, a call from Jackie came from the villa. Was I OK? It was hurling it down where she was. I looked back - the Pollenca villa being only a couple of kilometres distant - and could see an angry purple and black cloud hovering over the town. I could even hear claps of thunder. But where I was perched at the top of Col de la Creueta, the immediate sky was powder blue and would stay that way for the duration of my ride.

The sun also mimicked e…


The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold - Adventures along the Iron Curtain by Tim Moore

Few writers make me laugh out loud, with abandon and in public. Tim Moore is one of them. Buried deep in his Tour de France-alike 'French Revolutions' whilst en route to my own joust with Le Grande Boucle in the shape of the 2006 Etape du Tour, I was rudely dug in the ribs by my long-suffering wife and told to shut the book. My giggling apparently was not appreciated by our fellow cyclists who sat in our coach from Geneva Airport brooding over the travails to come on the Izoard and Alpe d'Huez. Moore was my antidote to the anxiety facing all of us before that mammoth ride but I was forced to stop reading it in such company because I couldn't keep my mirth to myself. For my fellow travellers it was too late anyway - most had already developed the hundred-yard-stare.
In this, his third bike book, Tim Moore once again is pedalling headlong towards what he calls, the coal-face of off…