The Tour de France and other biking matters

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Wednesday 11th July 2012

School’s out for my teenage son, who’s finished his scary exams and plans to spend the next six weeks on his bike. His new obsession has coincided neatly with the Tour de France so when he’s not on the road, he’s glued to Bradley Wiggins on the TV.

Every morning he appears in the kitchen, clad in his Lycra cycling gear. He fills a couple of water bottles, stuffs some flapjacks in his pockets, grabs his helmet and cycling shoes and then he’s off. If I’m lucky he’ll give me a vague idea of where he’s going and how many miles he’s planning but that’s about it.

The truth is that I’m a bit torn about his new hobby. It’s fantastic that he’s out in the fresh air every day getting tons of exercise. But he got cut up by a car in Oxford the other day (he clocked the driver’s idiocy so managed to duck out of her way at the last minute) and being a natural born worrier, I can’t help fretting.

Mind you, another plus is that he’s getting to know the countryside like the back of his hand. He hasn’t got a swanky GPS or data roaming on his phone so he tries to memorise his routes before he sets off. But his memory occasionally lets him down. Cue a phone call on Sunday afternoon saying “can you look at the map for me? I think I’ve gone the wrong way. I’m just the other side of High Wycombe.”

PS. When you’re taking the scenic route rather than the motorway, High Wycombe is a good 35 miles from Oxford…

6 comments so far

  • I’m beginning to rather like adventure boy. The daughter’s the same, but with her it’s getting on trains and running off to see obscure dance shows and theatrical performances, armed with little more than a mobile phone and a credit card. Of course we worry, but don’t we also admire their get-up-and-go?

  • Your son is having a summer he will never forget, Emma! Good on you for giving him the space to make memories. And thanks for a post that even had my husband reading!

  • Julia – that’s made my day. He’s just back from a 40-mile ride – a short one, he calls it. But he’s absolutely loving it, so if he’s happy, then I’m happy!

  • Do you have any really good category 1 climbs round Oxford? They’d tire him out quickly! Tour de France season at our house too. My parents were keen cyclists and at 92 my Dad still watches every bit of the Tour (and Tour of Britain, Giro d’Italia etc etc) Hubby caught the bug off of them and Teen is watching as well. Suspect there’s a bit of ‘men in lycra’ syndrome there though.

  • Thanks so much, Mary. I’ll do some research on category 1 climbs! It’s great to hear that you’re all TdF fans as well. It’s on every day in our house!

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