Alert readers may have noticed that I have not so far held my Anniversaire this year. This was not because I had given up in the face of the ever-increasing distance, but because this year I decided to join forces with my cycling partner in crime, and as both she and I are busy women, it took us a little time to actually schedule a date that we could both make. This weekend was that date – and fortunately St Swithin relented (almost) long enough for a few days of determinedly non-epic cycling, epic amounts of cake, and what must be the least epic camping possible.
Never ones to do things by halves, Suzanne and Lizzie arrived on the Friday evening by train, cycled with me to the house, and pitched their tents on our front lawn.* On Saturday, we cycled back down to Bigtown to pick up three more nutters who think that riding 48 miles for no reason other than to celebrate it not being my birthday was a good way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
In order to fulfil my own daft microadventure rules, we also had to ride a new-to-me route – starting out along the route of my last adventure, but then turning left. Fortunately, the weather was much improved – I’m not sure I could have handled another day in the pouring rain, however good the company. Other than a new route the rest of it followed established protocol:
A stop at a cafe to refuel
Enjoying the incredibly empty and picturesque backroads of Bigtownshire, something I never tire of sharing with people who haven’t cycled them yet
Riding at the speed of chat (you know that the pace has gone awry when you can’t hear everyone yacking away as we pedal along), with plenty of stops along the way to admire the view, take off or put on layers as the sun went in and out, and check the map.
And most importantly, stuffing ourselves with tea and cake once we got home, before a final loop to mop up the crucial last mile.**
Apart from one short stretch of road, it was extremely pleasant all round – including an amazing 3-mile descent with just the right combination of steepness, bendiness, and lack-of-carness to make it a pure joy. It was perhaps a little bit too up-and-down to be completely chilled, and my legs are making sure to tell me all about it today whenever I need to go upstairs (or indeed get off the sofa), but I still feel that this is by far the most civilised way to mark the passing of the years, and I hope one that I will continue for as long as the years mount up.
Thank you to those who came and all who continue to indulge me in this endeavour …
* they were offered actual beds inside the actual house, but apparently they preferred sleeping outside in all their clothes to ward of hypothermia, because – okay, I never quite fathomed that part, but hey ho, takes all sorts and all that
** I had slightly miscalculated the distance, so we ended up with a final bit of off-road madness up the track behind our house to get the last 0.67 miles in. If I’d realised earlier, we could have made a slight detour to visit the ford. Maybe next year …