The last four days here in SouthWest England have been glorious. Sunny and warm. It’s starting to get a bit windy, but we’ve had a sneak preview of how glorious it can be to be out cycling in the summer.
Of course, with the best will in the world, cycling in Devon is never going to be quite as good as cycling in the Dordogne or Umbria, and I certainly don’t visit world-famous vineyards and castles when I’m out on my evening rides. Or any kind of vineyard, come to that.
But here in Devon we can simulate, on occasion, the sunshine. And, as Mayor of London Boris Johnson would have it, we can certainly experience a bit of wind-blown bliss in anticipation of even more beautiful cycling in the summer.
Three things to tell you about. The first one, on Sunday last I actually got a bit sun-burnt. Amazing. I cycled out to Budliegh Salterton to meet two of my brothers and sisters with their kids and our Mum. The plan was a BBQ on the beach to celebrate Mother’s Day. I took a roundabout route on my bike and had time for a brief snooze on the grass outside Bicton Agricultural College. If you’re ever in East Devon looking for somewhere for a 30-minute kip, I can’t imagine anywhere finer.
But, on Monday morning as I got out of bed, I noticed a distinct tan-line where my shorts had been. So it’s official, Summer is here, and I can start planning for the sunnier climes of France and Italy.
But how to prepare? Dr Bike and I have entered the Tour of Wessex towards the end of May. This is actually a 3-day race, but amatuers like me and the good Doctor are allowed to do the middle day as a ‘cyclosportive’ event. And I shall be joining the CTC again on a regular Wednesday night ride.
This is much more like a Chain Gang style event. We meet up, cycle about 10 miles to a pub (Sarah and Ian choose the pub, a different one each week), have a couple of pints and cycle home again.
At the moment it’s just about dark by the time we leave at 7.00 pm. From next Wednesday, after the clocks have gone forward, we’ll be cycling in the evening sun towards a wonderful pub, then turning our bike lights back on for a gentle ride back. It’s exactly what cycling should be. All are welcome, have a look here for details. Tomorrow we’re heading for the Golden Lion in Talaton.
So with a bit of training for the Tour of Wessex, and a series of gentle rides to some of Devon’s nicest pubs, I should be well prepared for a summer of cycling with The Chain Gang.
Hey, it’s training. I wonder if I can claim my bar bill as a training expense?