We did the Première Manche - the first round - of A Travers riding across France from Dieppe to Marseille in the summer of 2009, and it was the original inspiration for this blog. The plan to put the 'band back together again' for another go in 2013 for the second installment fell on stoney ground, with life just getting in the way for too many of us, much to our disappointment. However, our enthusiasm for the bike remains undimmed, and so I'll keep posting my thoughts on the diverse and beautiful facets of the sport regardless. But there's bound to be another big 'adventure ride' coming soon - quite possibly in Italy - so potentially a name change too: Attraverso l'Italia in Bicicletta anyone?



Monday, 9 February 2009

Twenty Years Ago


Well, here we are: Mike James (on the left) and Mike Curtis (right), in front on the Stèle Simpson at the top of the Ventoux, in July 1989. We'd stayed in Carpentras and decided to ride up together in the late afternoon, although predicatably this meant we were half-wheeling each other all the way up.

Jamesy wore his La Vie Claire jersey, hoping it would give him Jean-Francois Bernard-shaped wings, whereas I'm wearing my ASPTT Aix-en-Provence jersey from my stint riding with them in 1987-88 during my academic year at the Faculté de Lettres in Aix.

I was hampered by my aching back all the way up, and shortly after this photo was taken Jamesy went a bit doolaley himself (heat, bonk, altitude, fear of losing). So I eased off, waited, offering little pushes up this last kilometre. What a berk: when we got to the steep final right-hander he miraculously found his legs again, sprinting away to reach the top with arms raised proclaiming 'Yes, yes!', as if he'd been dreaming of this moment for years. I'm sure he had.