At last! It’s here! The weekend of the Cycle Touring Festival in Clitheroe. I’m really looking forward to… What? Really? Ah yes… It was cancelled. Mmm… That pesky Coronavirus thing. Bugger! What’s that? Oh yes, I remember… There was a ‘virtual’ replacement festival that took place in April instead. Of course there was…
Today is promised to be the hottest day of the year so far. Yesterday was my longest ride of the year so far, albeit split into 3; 65 km from home in the west of West Yorkshire to Tadcaster, just over the border in North Yorkshire, 16 km to York and a final 10 km from Huddersfield station back home after a train ride back west. Why? Well, apart from the joy of the cycling, Wanda, the Koga World Traveller had been booked in for her first service at CycleSense in Tadcaster and I’m delighted to say she passed with flying colours. New brake pads, change of oil in the Rohloff hub and a few checks here and there… Good as new!
I noticed earlier today that Frank Burns had posted something to the Cycle Touring Festival Facebook page about the cycling travel writer Dervla Murphy having appeared on Desert Island Discs in 1993. She was 61 at the time and she chose as her book The Diary of Samuel Pepys and her luxury was ‘a still to distill berries etc… into drink’. Well, she is Irish after all. I’ve just listened to the whole programme whilst having a post-run bath and it’s highly recommended.
It doesn’t matter who you happen to be, whether it’s Mark Beaumont, Josie Dew, Alastair Humphreys, Fred Bloggs or even (dare I say) Andrew P. Sykes, if you’re intent upon embarking on a long-distance cycling adventure of your own, at some point you need to move out of your comfort zone, push the bike out of the garden gate and set off cycling, however uncomfortable that may feel, initially at least. That’s what Abigail Melton and Lilith Cooper decided to do and they’ve just written about their experiences as first-time cycle tourists in a new book called Gears For Queers.
If you tune in to The Cycling Europe Podcast this weekend, you will discover a new episode – number 19 – in which ‘Gears For Queers’ – that’s Abigail Melton and Lilith Cooper – discuss their cycle as novice cyclists from Amsterdam to Montpellier in the south of France. They’ve written about their adventure in a new book that will be published in early June called (you guessed it…) Gears For Queers! If you listen to the chat on the podcast, you will hear mention of ‘Zines’ and specifically the Cycle Touring Festival Zine that Abi and Lilith are currently editing. They are looking for contributions and you have until May 23rd to get thinking and get creative.
The ECF have just published a ‘press pack’ of information about the EuroVelo network. Here are a few snippets. They complement perfectly what Ed Lancaster said on the The Cycling Europe Podcast that was published last week.