Into Spain

After several days with my cousin Ruth we drove all the way on to visit our daughter in Spain in one day – quite a long drive, we arrived after dark to a lovely barbeque meal.

We had chosen this time to visit as we were once again going to participate in the Pedals de Clip classic cycling event that we have done several times before and, as well as the tandem we had taken classic solo bikes with us for this. The event usually takes place in the spring but due to COIVD it was cancelled last year and postponed until late October this year. The event, held over a weekend, starts and finishes in the small town of Sant Marti Sarroca in the Penedes area of Catalunya sort of a bit south west of Barcelona. Last time the event ran, in 2019, a time trial was introduced on the Saturday. The Sunday ride out traditionally finishes at a castle at the top of a steep climb up of one kilometre so the Saturday time trial started in the town for 1km and then up the hill to the castle – 2km in total. Our daughter had entered in 2019 but was unable to do it due to racing commitments but she entered again this year and won the ladies event. We took advantage of the podium for a family photo!

Family Podium!

The region is mountainous (by UK standards anyway!) and the route for the Sunday ride contains a number of hills, some of them quite steep and tough. I little helping hand is a blessing – its surprising how much difference it makes when someone rides alongside with their hand on the small of your back. Here Becky was in turn assisted by another participant! You can tell how cool the day was as we were all wearing arm warmers – mine quite snazzy!

That’s the way to get up a hill!

By the time we got the the castle at the finish of the event it was really quite hot although it soon started to cool down again. Sadly one participant was taken ill on the finish line which rather held up proceedings. He was eventually taken off to hospital by air ambulance and we heard a few days later that he was making a good recovery.

The boss and me with finishers medals and free beers!

After the event we stayed on in the area for a few days to sampler more of the countryside on the tandem before eventually going, via our daughter’s again, a bit further south to Peniscola – a lovely place that we have also visited before. While we were there the weather began to turn cold and windy but we managed a few tandem rides before returning again to Becky’s for a final few days before heading back home through France – a journey completed fairly quickly this time as the days were getting colder.

The Pedals de Clip is a thoroughly enjoyable event which I happily recommend to anyone to likes riding classic bikes, but it does seem to get a bit harder every time we do it! Next year it is returning to its usual spot in May so we have even less time to prepare. However COVID permitting it is quite likely we will return.

Home

Home again after best part of a week in the heart of the New Forest. I now have a deal of catching up to do. I have been trying to write something poetic about our time away but the muse has not so far returned with me.

However we did take part in the Tandem Tarts Ten Time Trial and came a magnificent 15th (which I guess was probably last) in a time of 38 minutes, which my son informs we was about 16 mph – not bad for a couple of oldies over the ten mile course, we usually cruise at around 10-12 mph. As I had expected, most of the others took it all rather seriously, with several in full time-trial mode with pointy backed helmets etc. Unfortunately it was a wet day and we did get rather soggy. Photos not yet available but if and when any turn up I will try to post here, maybe with some witty verse attached!

We did have a wonderful break away. The New Forest is amazing; ponies, cattle and deer freely roaming. There are masses of trails and tracks, some obviously caused by the livestock activity, and we had a great time riding some of these on the solo bikes we took along with us as well as the tandem.

Camping in the forest, among all those trees, was amazingly refreshing. I could happily have stayed much longer but sadly other commitments called.

Away Again

Just dropped by to let you know I will be off-line for a week from today. I should be back here next Wednesday. We are off with our motorhome and a load of bicycles down to the New Forest where Saturday sees us take part in the ‘Tandem Tarts Ten Time Trial’. Yes, it’s a race, on the tandem! We are taking our most recently renovated one, a Peugeot, as the electric assist on our main one will be unlikely to be permitted and it is also a much heavier tandem than the Peugeot.

We have never time-trialed before, certainly not on the tandem, and we don’t expect to set any records over the 10 mile course. The event is only semi-serious, although I imagine some ‘competitors’ will take it more seriously than others. It is a bit of a fun event being run alongside a ‘proper’ time-trial, in aid of charity and judging by a few photos we have seen of previous events some of the teams dress up as ‘tarts’. We will hint in that direction but not be going overboard!

As well as the tandem we are taking a couple of solo bikes and will hopefully get out and about along some of the tracks and trails in the area – a part of the country I haven’t visited since I was a teenager camping with the Girl Guides.

The campsite we are staying at is very quiet and secluded, with no facilities and no electricity or WIFI connection so I am not taking my laptop and I don’t do the Internet on my phone (can’t cope with the small screen), hence why I will be off-line. Just keep your fingers crossed for us that we may get some good weather! See you soon.

Site content copyright of Elizabeth Leaper (Libby).

Supporting the Printed Word

Read the Printed Word!