grey mountain bike leaning on brown wall brick in garden
Photo by Yihua Chen on


So, the maps are prepared, the route is not quite set in stone but a phrase book and an O level in French will hopefully be enough to get me from Roscoff in the north of France to Moliets et Maa in the south. If I end up in the Alps, you’ll know that I’ve got my droit and gauche mixed up somewhere along the line. Easy mistake I’m sure.

My camping gear is ready and I practised again today putting up my tiny one-man tent. All fairly straightforward except that now that the ground is as dry and hard as concrete, so a small mallet will be added to my panniers.

I have a few clothes ready, including some extraordinarily unattractive padded cycling knickers. I was told very clearly that purchasing these would be a life-saver for me, or certainly for my bottom. Although frankly they’re so big you could potentially use them as a buoyancy aid. It was clearly not a woman who designed them. I have never seen such an ugly foam-lined piece of Lycra in my life. However, if they prevent a sore bottom, then my vanity will have to be pushed aside for a while. I remember at prep school we had to wear two pairs of revolting grey enormous knickers. Underpants and over-pants. Even in summer – grim. Now there’s a yeast infection waiting to happen. These are not dissimilar except rather stretchy and the padding makes me walk as though I have a rather bad case of haemorrhoids. Enough said.

Claude (the bicycle) is going in for a bit of a service next week, to my lovely new chum with the red hair at the bicycle shop to make sure that he’s all tickedy boo, fit, healthy and raring to go (Claude, not the red-haired bicycle doctor). The left brake needs a bit of tlc I discovered last week … ok, it chose to fail at a rather crucial moment. Don’t worry, the lady and the dogs were perfectly fine afterwards.

And as for me, well, I have three weeks and five days to go, so of course am planning the important things like working out how I’m going to fit the entire bathroom cabinet into my panniers when they’re already filled with dull things like bicycle oil and spare inner tubes … The Colonel and I clearly have different priorities.

The ferry is booked, the cooking kit and first aid packed up (although I am a complete girl’s blouse and frankly if I’m needing first aid, I shall be found in the nearest hospital with Claude and my French phrase book trying to get sympathy … I wonder if the French are as tough as the Scots? In which case I’m doomed. They only hand out drugs if you use a combination of tears and begging in roughly equal quantities.) I think I’ll keep the first aid kit in just in case, we’ve got some Thomas the Tank Engine plasters and some Dettol, plus various different gauze’s etc etc. Perfect.

I think I’m relatively fit, so I just need to keep up with the exercise and then …. boom! I shall be off. Setting off on my way to Clapham Junction railway station, packed up, raring to get onto the train to begin my adventure. But the funny thing is, that I’m also enjoying the preparation of it too. It’s not just about arriving at Moliets et Maa, it’s about the entire journey, both physical and of course, mental. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like this. This extraordinary feeling, not of anxiety, but of excitement, pure unadulterated excitement.

To be continued ….

Katie xx

Ps What makes you excited? Nothing smutty allowed … Ok, so when was the last time you were really excited? Nothing smutty here either …

26 thoughts on “PLANNING!”

  1. My one tip to you is to make sure you have plenty of ibuprofen to hand. I take two BEFORE I run or cycle and it really helps ward off the onset of aches when one finishes. Apart from that know that Pharmacists in France are revered and are not at all ogre-ish but generally really happy to help, that fortunately suppositories are not their go-too any more and that they are generally well-versed in alternative remedies and very happy to recommend homeopathic cures as well as pharma fixes. You are going to be a racing snake with buns of steel by the time you reach your destination and I am really really proud to know such a plucky gal even if only virtually! All hail Katie à vélo 🚲 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! And this is good to know. Yes, I’m certainly hoping to get fitter with quite a lot of hours in the saddle each day, although thank goodness the route isn’t too hilly in which case I’d be needing more than just ibuprofen! 🚴‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, for heavens sakes don’t turn left and find yourself in the Massif Central heading for the Alps!!! Seriously, it does work – it was my Boffin husband who introduced me to the idea and I so wish I had thought of it when I was in my rowing heyday …. 🚣

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is amazing !! And you sound excited too 😊. I did au pairing in France , travelled about a bit, drank a lot 😂. Looking forward to you keeping us up to date with blogs and pics !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much and yes, seriously excited which I haven’t felt in years which is slightly odd (and a bit sad too). Good for you doing au pairing in France … I tried but only lasted four days until I discovered that I didn’t much like children … I’ve changed a bit now though I’m pleased to say! Thanks for reading .. Katie x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh god or should I say Mon Dieu 😂😂. The mother was a just divorced alcoholic, the house was filthy and I lasted 4 months but I really really enjoyed Paris and made the most of my weekends that’s for sure 😊😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The women are so bloomin chic it`s not funny. I always felt a bit of a scruff! I would make an expresso last hours whilst I wrote postcards and watched the world go by. Carefree days !

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: