My blog about cycling was born whilst driving (cyclists drive cars too). Returning from the French Alps my family were ignoring their driver, transfixed by their iPads. With no conversation and no music permitted (as it distracts from the DVD the kids are also watching – multi-tasking aged just 7 and 4) my eyes roamed freely across the largely uneventful landscape of Central France, that borders the monotonous but largely traffic free AutoRoute.
With the droning soundtrack of tyres on tarmac and the just audible film soundtrack my thoughts naturally drifted away from concentrating on piloting my family safely home to – cycling. More specifically to gravel road cycling and gravel bikes. In my mind, until now gravel bikes were simply a niche too far, another blatant marketing fad – certainly in the UK.
UK roads are bad but rarely are they unsealed gravel. Bridleways, those ancient relic thoroughfares that criss-cross Britain, come close but a Mountain Bike will suit and excite more. Of course I want one but I’m still searching for the justification to find space amongst the other niche but totally justified bikes in my cellar (the Fatty, the Fixie, the Titanium, the Aero Road, the 650B…amongst others).
Until now. Along the length of the AutoRoute between Calais and the Alps, there are miles and miles of gravel road. Many running alongside but much, much more interestingly, many spearing off at right angles from the AutoRoute, cutting across the fields, heading towards undulating farmland, woodland or vineyards. Here was justification enough! I pondered writing a whimsical travel book charting my adventures as I explored France’s gravel roads (on a brand new gravel bike).
Except of course I can’t. My usual excuse for not doing anything, for not follow my dreams reared its ugly and familiar head: Mortgage to pay. Wife & kids to support. My dreams were smashed again. Drive on.
Except they didn’t have to be. Why can’t I fulfil my dream and write about cycling? No reason. From subconscious thinking (whilst driving) my blog on cycling was born. ‘France by Gravel Bike’ may have to wait but there is nothing stopping me exploring my writing style and finding a voice through the subconscious cyclist.