I bought another bicycle (subtitle: I’m never camping again)

We woke up this morning on another cloudy, cool Summer day for day two of l’eroica britannia. At some point during the early part of the night I remembered why I have only camped twice in my adult life; the pointlessness of slumming it in a field so close to millions of insects and slightly fewer but equally annoying human beings.

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The irritating chatter of people and excited squeals of children continued until way after 11 when I fortunately lost consciousness and was spared any further disruption to my sleep. The rest of the night was spent turning in a circle in my tiny sleeping bag trying to get comfortable on our very thin mattresses which allowed us to commune with the ground beneath us. The morning brought faff. My initial joy at surviving the night literally had cold water poured on it in the form of a shower that was so cold that when I washed my hair, I got one of those ice cream headaches that feels like a point of pain in your forehead, but this time in my whole head!

Fortunately we had a nice breakfast and then returned to the main Eroica site and resumed our trip around the stalls. We spent ages looking at bicycles again, watching the judging of the handsomest bicycle competition and trying to resist buying more cycle clothes. We’ve a picture of the judging of a pre-war French mixtie. Lunch was lovely, I had a haloumi wrap and Erik got a pizza. We ate while watching Chris Boardman and some bloke judge a fancy dress contest. We were amused that the bloke named Patrick seemed much more in demand than Chris Boardman for photos. It turned out he’s on some sewing programme on BBC.

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We went for a nice ride in the afternoon on the Monsal Trail, a disused railway line that provides a lovely cycling experience – the British strade bianche! The Eroica experience is imported from Italy, where was part of an effort to preserve gravel-paved roads-the white roads. In Britain, it’s a celebration of classic bikes (as in Italy, the bikes of the “heroic” age, with down tube shifters). In Britain, we start from Bakewell, the starting point for the Peak District, climbing territory!

After our ride we returned to the mucky show grounds, where I bought another bicycle. I’ve done well recently selling two of my cycles and putting a third on eBay in an effort to reduce how many we have stacked up in our dining room. Buoyed by that success I gave into temptation and we bought a pre-war Coventry Eagle women’s bicycle. It was cheap and is in pretty good condition. It was made in Coventry not far from our house, so that’s really cool:) The picture shows me looking slightly sheepish with my new purchase!

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