Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Celebrating my Brompton bikeversary

French Village Diaries Brompton bicycles #myBrompton #KTTinyTourer
Riding my Brompton is the best

Today I am celebrating the second anniversary of wheeling #KTTinyTourer out of the cycle shop in London and looking back on two years of fun, fitness and freedom on my brompton.


In our time together Katie the Tiny Tourer and I have cycled almost eight thousand five hundred kilometres, in three different countries, (the UK, France and Spain) and turned heads wherever we’ve been. I’ve earned a lot of respect from the cycling community as an almost fifty-year-old woman, on a Brompton, climbing mountains alongside younger men on high end road bikes, and the incredulous looks on some of their faces will stay with me forever.


Having a bike that is comfortable and fun to ride has given me the confidence to go further and push myself to achieve more, as well as the ability to enjoy long days in the saddle.


French Village Diaries Brompton bicycles #myBrompton #KTTinyTourer
Climbing mountains on my Brompton

Some of our rides have been in full lycra with clipped in cycle shoes, some in dresses and normal shoes, with a picnic in my pannier. We’ve followed off-road cycle paths, quiet back roads, pilgrimage routes, mountain passes and conquered Tour de France epic climbs, including Mont Ventoux, the Col d’Aubisque and the Col du Tourmalet.

French Village Diaries Brompton bicycles #myBrompton #KTTinyTourer
Boulangerie stop on my Brompton


We’ve enjoyed the flexibility of the folding frame and being able to put the bikes in the car for airport runs, so we can set off for morning coffee or a sunset apéro somewhere special before heading home. 


French Village Diaries Brompton bicycles #myBrompton #KTTinyTourer
Cycling the lavender fields of Provence

The bikes have been there for the recycling and the shopping as well as days out, holidays and our legitimate daily exercise during confinement. They have taken us to the Atlantic coast, the Mediterranean and the Pyrenees. We have followed rivers and waterways, including the Thames, the Lot, the Garonne, the gorges de la Nesque and the canal lateral that runs between Bordeaux and Toulouse.


We have taken part in organised events including London Brompton Club social rides, and closed road sportives like Ride London and the col climbing Pyrénées Cycl'n'Trip.


For the last two years I have set myself cycling challenges on my Brompton, smashing my first target of 2019 kms last year so upping it to 2019 miles (3230 kms) and smashing that too. This year I set myself a series of challenges, and despite a difficult year with over one hundred days living in lockdown, I’ve achieved almost all of them. 


5 consecutive days on the bike, cycling a minimum of 50kms each day. Yes, in August.


5 trips to the supermarket using the bike instead of the car. Oh yes.


5 mountain cols or passes climbed by bike. Last count was thirteen.


5 days cycling 100kms in a day, as opposed to once a year for my birthday. Yes.

French Village Diaries Brompton bicycles #myBrompton #KTTinyTourer
The seventeen departments I've cycled in this year


The only one I’ve not quite managed is to cycle in twenty different French departments (counties) this year, but we did manage to tick off seventeen and have cycled over five thousand kilometres in 2020. I’m definitely fitter than I’ve ever been and six kilos lighter than two years ago, in that bike shop, in London.


The uncertainties of living with Covid-19, possible travel restrictions or future lockdowns, aren’t making it easy for me to visualise being able to do a dream cycle tour across France next year, but I can’t let 2021, the year I turn fifty, go by without some form of challenge (or celebration on two wheels). Maybe it will have to be another series of challenges, but that raises my game from those I set this year. When I’ve decided what they will be, I’ll let you know. If you have any ideas, I’d be happy to hear them.



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