Touring was the base of British cycling

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - British touring cyclists from Skipton resting with his Dawes in Brussels, Belgium.

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – There are a dozen clues to the riding style and the post of origin of this touring cyclist.

“Four of us came from Hull to Zebrugge, then two and half weeks cycling around Belgium and then we get the train to Luxembourg, investigate the Ardennes and then make our way back to Zebrugge via a few interesting points in Belgium. Home is in Skipton, 25 miles from Leeds. The four of us have been touring for the past six years now. We just love touring. Camping generally. And we just get along well together.

“I plan all the routes, which I enjoy, as I am retired. It is not like I am short of anything to do, but it is good. We have been on big trips in France. South to North in France. And last year we did the Alps to the Pyrenees. Across southern France. We are all prepared to give it a go. We carry a lot. Four heavy panniers. but it is amazing what you can carry on a  bike. It is just incredible.

“We have the camping down to as fine an art as we can, without too much discomfort. We have a chair and stove, but you never know the weather. That is the killer. If we had constant rain, it would be very hard work. But last year, it was 40 degrees in the south of France on Mont Ventoux.”
Notes: This is old-fashioned British cycling, the touring pioneers who set the direction for a generation. Europe turned to racing, the UK went to long slow rides with tents and stoves. And the extended holidays on bicycles, rides covering regions and countries. It is a cooperative, friendly style of riding, far removed from the speed obsessed racing world.

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