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Showing posts from 2012

TWO-THIRDS A MADMAN

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The streets of Avignon in mid-September are spotless - thanks, not to the zealous attentions of municipal road sweepers, but to the unbelievably violent winds which had been scouring the roads and fields clean since we'd arrived. The fabled mistral had taken hold of Provence and was shaking it heartily by the scruff of the neck.
Not the best conditions in which to be preparing to cycle up and down Mont Ventoux by three different routes in the same day. But that's exactly what I was doing.
My goal was to become a member of the Club des Cinglés du Mont Ventoux (Club of the Madmen of Mont Ventoux), the same challenge I'd produced a short film about in 2009. This time I was going to be suffering in the saddle rather than observing from the roadside.
Our gite in the village of Mazan was almost in the shadow of the 'bald mountain'.  I could see Ventoux, looming ominously in the near distance, every morning as soon as I stepped out of the front door.


 It was a daunting sight …

THE MOTHER OF ALL PUNCTURES

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Working on the edge of the Olympic Park for the duration of the London 2012 Olympics forced me to more than double my bike commute. My leisurely 9 mile jaunt through Richmond Park and across Hammersmith Bridge, turned into a 20 mile slog along the Thames embankment, past Big Ben, round Trafalgar Square, on to the City via St Pauls and along the Whitechapel Road.
A 40 mile round trip every day was going to do wonders for my fitness but could the bike and the nerve hold out?

I thought it prudent to invest in new tyres and give my ageing Trek a bit of a once over before starting this new commuting regime. I didn't want to end up 15 miles from home, late at night (my shifts finished at 0200) - scrabbling under a street light outside the Blind Beggar pub trying to deal with a flat tyre. It took me no time at all to strip off the old Continental Gatorskins which had served me well for at least two years! Once I'd fitted brand new Armadillos, I put the wheels back on the frame and s…