Week 10 day 69 – Sunday 31st May

Another rest day – and a welcome relief in these temperatures. 

Now it might seem a bit back to front, but we thought today would be a good time to have a look at some lighthearted cycling ‘rules’. 

For those keen and serious cyclists among you, the full set can be read here: 

www.velominati.com

but we’ve picked out a few we thought most relevant to our journey – or not, as the case may be – and our thoughts on them!

Rule 4 It’s all about the bike. It is, absolutely, without question, unequivocally, about the bike. Anyone who says otherwise is obviously a twatwaffle

Well I think I’ll have to be a twatwaffle as I reckon my legs and stamina might have played quite a key role here! And even my road bike scarcely qualifies for being ‘all about the bike’!

Rule 6 Free your mind and your legs will follow. Your mind is your worst enemy. Do all your thinking before you start riding your bike.  Once the pedals start to turn, wrap yourself in the sensations of the ride – the smell of the air, the sound of the tyres, the feeling of flight as the bicycle rolls over the road.

The smell of the air, the sound of the tyres’? – nope, I only had David singing and dancing… not quite the same!

Rule 10 It never gets easier, you just go faster. As this famous quote by Greg LeMantells us, training, climbing, and racing is hard. It stays hard. To put it another way, per Greg Henderson: “Training is like fighting with a gorilla. You don’t stop when you’re tired. You stop when the gorilla is tired.” 

Or in my case, when my gorilla (aka David) says I can! And I can probably echo that sentiment – it certainly hasn’t got easier, but I have improved my stamina and distance.

Rule 42  A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run. If it’s preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run, it is not called a bike race, it is called duathlon or a triathlon. Neither of which is a bike race. 

Phew, that’s a relief, just the thought of doing that is tiring. Ticked that box then. Anyway, my only available ‘pool’ was the water feature in the garden and ‘stay home, stay safe’ didn’t allow me a run.

Rule 62 You shall not ride with earphones. Cycling is about getting outside and into the elements and you don’t need to be listening to Queen or Slayer in order to experience that. Immerse yourself in the rhythm and pain, not in whatever 80’s hair band you call “music”.   

Sorry, really had to break that rule, didn’t I?  

Rule 68 Rides are to be measured by quality, not quantity.  Rides are to be measured by the quality of their distance and never by distance alone. For climbing rides, distances should be referred to by the amount of vertical covered; flat and rolling rides should be referred to by their distance and average speed. 

I think I ticked that box as there were plenty of measurements going on!

Rule 95 Never lift your bike over your head. Under no circumstances is it acceptable to raise one’s machine above your head. The only exception is when placing it onto a car’s roof-rack.

A little reminder of my ‘bike’ – and me just after I’ve finished a ride…..  didn’t break that one then!

I may never be the sort of cyclist who follows ‘the rules’ to the letter. However, we have been so inspired by the discoveries made along the way – and my fitness level has definitely improved – that I have to say it is tempting to consider doing this challenge for real. 

Whichever direction you choose to ride and whichever route you take, it is a fascinating journey with so much variety to see along the way. To round up our diary, we will have a look at some of the facts and stories surrounding previous epic rides.

And finally, the only ‘rule’ we have learnt is this one –