|Wallie and his odd socks somewhere in the Cotswolds|
Maybe it’s the effect of Wallie wearing odd socks. Perhaps it was the unusual sight of the sun going to our heads or Wallie’s complete aversion to riding along any kind of A road, especially the A40 as it runs through the Cotswolds. We took a few wrong turns which, considering the Cotswolds are a fairly compact area and where we have cycled many times before, is a bit of a mystery. We nevertheless found ourselves looking at the map quite a few times.
Normally I like to cycle and run on my own. I do this for all kinds of reasons but the most important is having some space and time to myself and being able to think a few things through, to work through problems and other things bugging me. However, going for a bike ride with an old friend like Wallie is different. We’ve known each other since the early 1980s and enjoyed many things in common: cycling being the one that has stood the test of time most of all.
There’s something nice about meeting up with a friend and ambling around country lanes, not racing each other or trying to out-do each other. No, just enjoying each other’s company. Naturally we do our Victor Meldrew impressions but of course we’re far too young to be grumpy old men.
This is something we do once or twice a year. Each of us taking a day from our respective work and driving from opposite directions to meet in Burford. Burford, by the way, is an absolutely ideal base for a day’s ride around.
Those miles just drifted by as we talked, chatted or just listened to the sound of our bikes whirring away as we ambled our way along. Not that we were alone as the only cyclists about. Each time we do this we seem to spot more and more which, for me, is a real encouragement. This is such a great way of getting some exercise because it doesn’t feel like it at all: there must always be a place for a gentle amble in any training or exercise regime, surely.
A new tradition is also developing as we do this. Once we’ve finished our ride we treat ourselves to afternoon tea in a Burford cafe. All very nice but to be honest, a bit of a rip off. Next time we’ll do something different but still frightfully nice, what o?