As you sink comfortably into middle age food becomes ever more important. And wine, decent wine becomes really important too. In fact most of your life – choices, including where to spend your holidays, increasingly revolve around the quality, affordability and availability of good food and wine.
The perfect food / wine based holiday consists of beetling around some wine region in the sunshine wearing comfortable clothing and eating and drinking vast amounts. The problem is that the standard vehicle for said beetling is the automobile.
That’s fine for a couple of hours, but it becomes increasingly dangerous, and illegal, as you progress from a bit merry to frankly drunk and onto completely shitfaced. Going to jail forever for drunkenly mowing down a pack of French school-children is nowhere on the list of jolly things I like to do with my holidays.
And there’s another problem. Try consuming 3000 calories in the form of a fantastic 4 course lunch in some fantastic French country restaurant. Wash it down with a bottle per head of something cold, dry and white. Now get in your car and drive around unsteadily until supper-time, stopping off now and then to sample some of the local produce. Then see if you can enjoy a fantastic 4 course dinner in some fantastic French country restaurant, washed down with a bottle per head of something smooth, sophisticated and red. Round the day off nicely with a few small glasses of something tasty and highly alcoholic.
You might just manage that on day 1, but by day 2 your pancreas will be bleeding and you’ll be going blind from all the white blood cells coagulating around your superior colliculus. It’s gross.
Luckily there’s a solution: ditch the car and go by bicycle. That 3000 calorie lunch? Three hours in the saddle will deal with that. Concerned about invalidating your insurance by taking the wheel 4 times over the legal limit? Cycle instead! Sure, it’s technically illegal in some countries, but no self-respecting cop will even look at someone on a bike, let alone make them blow into a little plastic thing. Plus it’s totally safe, and I speak from experience, having happily cycled many hundreds of kilometres totally pissed without so much as a scratch*.
And there’s more: If you’re middle aged like me then eating too much makes you fat and unattractive to 23 year old babes, but if you cycle you’ll probably lose weight. Imagine that! You can stuff your face twice a day or more and end your holiday slimmer and fitter. You still won’t be attractive to 23 year old babes, but it’s about time you gave up that particular fantasy.
So that’s what this blog is about: happy days cycling around the lovelier bits of Europe filling your face with the finest food and boozing more or less constantly.
* However for legal reasons I should state that cycling drunk is a dangerous, stupid, illegal activity. If you attempt it you will definitely end up dead.