The Paris-Roubaix cycle race has been postponed until later in the year. No surprise there bearing in mind the new lockdown just announced in France. Cobbles are an (almost) every day part of cycling here in the Calder Valley of Yorkshire. My bones have been shaken on a regular basis in recent years since my return to God’s Own County. Perhaps they should have just moved it to the north of England rather than waiting until the autumn of 2021… I wrote about the Paris-Roubaix in Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie.
As I was croaking my way through recording the links for the latest episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast that was published overnight, I mentioned that I would put all the relevant links to the accommodation providers on the website. We, here I am doing just that. The four people interviewed were Tahverlee Anglen from the accommodation sharing website WarmShowers, Simon Ainley from the Youth Hostel Association of England and Wales, Simon Kershaw from a new hotel – soon to be a chain of hotels – called Bike and Boot in Scarborough and the wild camper Tim Millikin. You can find more details about Tim’s travels and the book he has written by visiting his website.
The countries of continental Europe and the European Union itself have been much criticised in the (right-wing) British media in recent weeks on matters relating to the distribution of the COVID vaccines. In those criticisms there is, of course, a non-too-subtle dollop of British smugness. To at least 48% of the British population (of which I am part), these are sentiments that make us squirm. They are predictable and fail to take into account the ‘bigger picture’ of a continent which, in terms of the quality of people’s lives, is light years ahead of most parts of backward, squalid Britain.
In 2015 I cycled from Tarifa in Spain – the southernmost point of mainland Europe – to Nordkapp in Norway – the northernmost point. It took me over 100 days. In 2019 Dr Ian Walker – an academic at the University of Bath – completed the journey in the opposite direction… in 16 days 20 hours and 59 minutes. In the process he became the fastest person ever to cycle across Europe north to south. That’s no mean feat for a man in his mid-forties who had only taken up ultra-long-distance racing a few years prior to breaking the record. I needed to find out how he did it…
“Sometimes fate – and a Michelin map – lead you and your bike exactly where you were meant to be. In this case, it was the outskirts of Pernes-les-Fontaines in Provence, where I saw this statue…”
A short but rather beautiful animation from Citroën commemorating the Tour de France ‘broom wagon’ on Mont Ventoux.