About 8 weeks ago I managed to stumble upon a recon fixed suspension mountain bike from the excellent Hub & Spoke in Harlow. It was £50 & an ideal replacement for the mountain bike of 11 years whose pedal axle was beyond affordable repair. It was also timely as I was getting tired of travelling on the interim solution of the Mrs’ 14inch frame MTB. I had given up on waiting for work to get their A into G in signing up to a cycle to work scheme. It turned out to be a lucky escape-figured out that the salary sacrifice is a good wheeze for the employer to reduce their (& therefore my) pension contributions & they kept silent about exactly whose bike that it was going to be after the 12 month “loan” scheme ends.
Fast forward 8 weeks. Yesterday was a rest day in the Tour de France. It also marked the anniversary of the French govt backed terrorist plot to blow up the Rainbow Warrior in 1985. If it were to happen now, one can only imagine the furore & the frenzy whipped up by the 24/7 media, social networking & the like. Back then, I was furious. Furious at the arrogance & disregard for life from a country who took aggressive exception to those protesting against an equally aggressive & unnecessary nuclear tesing programme.
I will always remember this intrusion into a sovereign nation, MY nation. I did not mourn Mitterand’s death as the great European statesman but that of a slimy lizard who avoided with considerable ease the accountability that today he would struggle to hide from. But has it been time that has softened my stance toward the French? Or the fact that any justice will not change what happened or a resentful acceptance that polititians are the same the world over, whatever the times?
Whatever it is, I got hooked into Le Tour half way through last years event by chance through my rediscovered use of pedal power. Although I understand the road race a whole lot more, I am no expert but do love learning a new sport. I’m inspired by the endurance, the speeds, the climbs & love the crazy spectators cheering “allez allez!” who risk injury by getting so near these super athletes on their bikes. When it all ends, there is the road race and so much more at the Olympics.