Walking and Talking

Walking in the park this morning with the dog, I started speaking to a lady I’d never met before. We exchanged pleasantries about the beautiful sunshine and how nice it was to be out.

From our two metre social distance, it took me a while to realise this lady was close to tears. She was finding it difficult to find anything to smile about. She talked of a friend with terminal cancer who she couldn’t support in the way she wanted to. We talked compassionately about those people around the world who are experiencing terrible consequences of the Coronavirus and the resultant lockdown.

As we chatted for a while longer, we shared snippets of our lives and we talked about the things we were grateful for. It’s the kind of conversation I have had with strangers many times. However, this time when I returned home, I received the following lovely message.

‘Dear Alison, How very lovely to see you and chat in the park! It has hugely lifted my spirits to share with you-thank you so much! Wishing you a happy day. x’

It made me think about the power we all have to make a difference to someone’s day and how important it is in the current climate of isolation and social distancing that we take the time to reach out (metaphorically) to others.

With a Little Help From My Friends

Cycling with friends is so much more fun than cycling alone and There are many wonderful people I cycle with regularly.

This post is a shout out and huge ‘thank you’ to the other lovely people who have joined me for the occasional cycle ride over the last couple of years.

To Alison, Michael and Robbie Plunkett who enthusiastically (Robbie does everything enthusiastically!) cycled around Cheltenham with me one sunny Sunday morning.

To John, Callum, Rory and Kieran Anderson along with Neeraj, Vilas and Seki Prasad. Wonderful to cycle with such old friends.

To Paul Jones for a fabulous day’s cycling around Kyoto. I wouldn’t have attempted it on my own and it was such an adventure.

To Marie & Sally, thank you for indulging me and embracing a cycle around Central Park, despite it not being in either of your ‘top ten things to do in New York’ list

to John, Callum, Rory and Kieran on a Family Holiday in Germany.. Thank you all for indulging me yet again!

To Alison Ferris – I loved your company. Just as well as we did 20 miles more and took two hours longer than planned. Must brush up on my map reading skills! But we did find a pub for lunch that provided sun hats though!

to My lovely little sister who nervously embraced the challenge of reacquainting herself with the joys of cycling and then came back and did it all over again the following year.

To Jim Pascoe Watson for bringing a sense of joy to everyone who has ever cycled with him. For joining us during LEJOG from Weston to Cheltenham with so much enthusiasm and fun despite the saddle sores!

To Claire Lehman for joining us in Devon and leading the team home on the last few hills at the end of a very long day. Chapeau!

To Jackie and CAroline for a birthday cycle and many an enjoyable Sunday cycle.

To Ali, Sally and Marie for embracing a sunny cycle in Seville

To Jane and chris who introduced us to our first real cycle challenge many years ago with the Coast 2 Coast. It took us nearly a decade to sign up to another one! Loved cycling with you again.

To Julie Baillie, my oldest friend who after five years without being on a bike, embraced a 45 mile ride with her usual smile, enthusiasm, sense of fun and energy.

TO THE SUNDAY CYCLING TEAM (AL, CAROLINE, JACKIE, NIGEL AND RIC) WHO WELCOMED US WITH OPEN ARMS, LOTS OF HUMOUR, FABULOUSLY PLANNED ROUTES AND THE BEST CAKE AND COFFEE STOPS IN THE SOUTH WEST!

To the Lanzarote training team for a great few days training for The Raid Alpine.

To everyone who joined us for parts of LEJOG, our Devon and Brecon Beacons cycling weekends, sportives and ad hoc training rides. Too many to name you all (and I’m afraid of missing someone out if I try) but you know who you are…….

Thank You All!

Cycling ‘Together’

Anyone who cycles with us knows that when we cycle in a group, John and I rarely see each other. My average speed is half John’s average speed. He is fiercely competitive and thrives on the challenge of being the fastest, going the furthest and climbing more hills than anyone else. Usually all three together! A 40km cycle inevitably turns into 65km and a 65km route easily becomes 100km as he pushes himself further. I simply cannot keep up and it’s no fun trying and continually failing!

Currently, we can either exercise outdoors alone or with people we live with, so our choices are limited. We can either cycle alone or ‘together’. Worried that cycling ‘together’ would actually mean cycling ‘alone’, I ventured out with John yesterday.

He valiantly stayed in front, keeping the worst of the wind off me while I practised drafted behind. He waited at junctions while I caught up and for most of the journey we were within a few metres of each other. Usually with me trying hard to keep up and John trying hard to resist the temptation to disappear off into the distance. Until that was, the last few miles of our planned route when the lure of home tempted me one direction and few more hills tempted John the other direction!

A beautiful day for a cycle, a lovely route and good company for the parts of the ride we did ‘together’!