A short break from cycling

I haven’t touched my bike for almost three weeks. I’ve not given up cycling or anything. Far from it (new wheel components on order, bike van being prepared, can’t wait to get going again). I’ve simply been tied up with a few things: a loft conversion, lousy weather, a sore toe, very bad toothache in cold air, and some pressing work – yes, work: occasionally I build websites professionally. I normally cycle every day so the temporary layoff is strange.

I’m doing the loft conversion myself with one of my sons. Actually he is doing most of the physical building but it feels like work and I can’t just break off to ride my bike. Besides, there is also the other stuff. I’ve been surprised how weary one is after a day of running up and down a ladder, carrying, lifting, crouching, drilling, and hammering. It seems to affect the whole body, unlike cycling. After the computer work in the evening, I’m knackered. So that is my excuse.

The loft conversion began with clearing out much of what had been dumped up there. I won’t call it rubbish because it’s family history. Some will be kept. This includes the official programme for the 1994 Tour de France that we watched go by in Sarlat la Caneda during a camping holiday in the Dordogne region of France. This programme appeared from underneath a pile of other things and now I know which year it was when we’d waited by the roadside to see the ‘greats’ go past.

This was the era of Big Mig. Miguel Indurain had already won the previous three Tours and this would be his fourth consecutive win. It is worth recounting some of the other riders who took part: Tony Rominger, Johan Museeuw, Lance Armstrong, Bjarne Riis, Claudio Chiapucci, Marco Pantani, Chris Boardman (UK), Greg Lemond, Laurent Jalabert, Phil Anderson, Richard Virenque, Abdoujaparov… Les Engagés.

One thing I didn’t find in the loft upheaval – it used to be a darkroom – was a large B&W photo I took of the peloton passing through Sarlat with Indurain centre stage. Anyway, the big push to install the new floor is almost complete and my toothache seems under control. I’m hoping to be cycling again by Christmas. I might have mentioned this before: the evenings are getting lighter again.