I’ve been cycling, well, forever, but today I went on my first ever club ride.
Chris and I both got emails from the indefatiguable Fatima, who keeps Nouzerines going, inviting us to come along for a ride on Sunday morning with ACSNEC. AC-what? The French love their acronyms with a passion, so whereas an expat might settle for Nouzerines Cycling Club, the organisers have come up with ACSNEC – Amicale Cycliste et Sportive Nord Est de la Creuse. We were to meet at 10 in the village square.
So this morning Rors, Chris and I set off. We were a tiny bit late, what with losing an hour and having to feed our three hungry anglers first, but we made it in time. We did our cheek-kissings, which can be a little bit awkward with bikes, but are an indispensable start to the morning ride. And then we were off. I’m not sure if a route was planned in advance. There seemed to be lively debates at each significant junction, but we didn’t mind. We were happy to follow along and enjoy being out on the bikes. Ruadhrì wasn’t at his best to start with, and there was grumbling going on, but he perked up eventually. We might have to look into a road bike for him. We VTT-ers (mountain bikers) were outnumbered. I think there were four of us. I should get Dave on the road again. Dave is my twenty-five year-old, hand-built touring bike. It was made to measure by Dave Yates at Steele’s cycle shop in Tyneside, back in our pre-kid days when we could buy ourselves nice things occasionally! I reluctantly abandoned Dave when we moved to Ireland since we had kids either on bike seats or on the trailer bike, and that extra weight plus Irish roads was too traumatic a combination for a thoroughbred machine like him. A tough mountain bike was the only option. So I got my Diamondback in 1995 and it’s been going strong ever since. But the roads here don’t demand a VTT, and we no longer have Rors attached, plus we don’t do a lot of offroad cycling (we end up with too many punctures from the brambles) so it’s time to go roadster again. It’ll be a culture shock to go back to drop handlebars and a gear changer on the crossbar!
The sun shone, car drivers respected our peloton, and we did about 20 km with plenty of small breaks to allow us to regroup and have a quick chat. It was very sociable and very enjoyable. There were three ladies – Fatima, myself and young Rachelle, and I think eight blokes ranging from 10-year-old Rors, the baby of the group today, to three teenagers, and up to the four seniors with a maximum age of mid 60s. We’d tried to get Caiti to come along too but she had only just surfaced and anyway, claimed she was sore from yesterday’s judo. I shall persuade her to join us in the future since we girls need more representatives in the club.
It was a great way to spend a Sunday morning. The rides take place each week so we’ll go along whenever we can. We usually cycle then anyway, but it was certainly fun to join the gang and it did make us push that bit harder at times. Anglo-Irish pride is at stake!