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13 June. Testing, testing, testing… 21 miles.

Maurice, Charles (never underestimate him, as he warns on his shirt), Rod, Alan, Simon and Martin all set off from The Red Cow in Chrishall on this fine summer’s afternoon knowing that it would be a test for Maurice, whose left knee has been giving him issues recently, but not expecting Alan, Rod and Simon to be in testing mode too of a different sort.

In preparation for his forthcoming French ride with Simon, Lawrence and Martin, Alan came with his Giant touring bike to test it out on the hills. It has a monstrously low bottom gear which should see him climb all those French hills in the Somme and Normandy with ease, and with tyres which will soak up the bumps on river and canal bike paths.

Alan shows off his touring bike for use in France. Look at the size of that cassette! And there’s a small third ring on the front too.

So off we went on a circuit devised by Maurice taking in local lanes to Brent Pelham and back including, once again, our favourite bridleway from Builden End over the watershed to Lower Langley.

Rod looked at one stage as if he was planning a bank robbery with a fast escape on his e-bike but he was actually testing out an anti-fly swallowing device, namely a mask to keep ’em out.

Rod making a fast get away from robbing a bank? No, just an anti-fly swallowing device.

And then there was Simon, testing out a smart looking shirt and clearly determined to take on the French at their own game:

Simon modelling his smart outfit, ready to show the French that British cycling fashion is ahead of the game

The school run was over, the lanes were quiet and we enjoyed a very pleasant cruise. Thankfully, Maurice’s knee held out.

This is where we went:

Up down, up down, up down, up down, up down, up down for 21 miles – good practice for France

Thanks to Maurice for planning and organising the route. We hope his knee gets sorted soon. And thanks to Grandpa Charles for most of the photos.

Grandpa Martin

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