Arrival of Mel’s new bike
If you are restless enough to be wandering the hills of Kinsale at 5.30 am one of these mornings, you might see Mel emerge from the early morning mist on his new bike. A handsome touring model custom built by bike builder-cum-philosopher Richard Dalacour of Oxford Bikes. Nothing ostentatious about it. No fancy bells and whistles. Just good old vintage reliability.
‘The most important aspect of cycle touring is the experience,’ says Richard. ‘You need a bike that, once you’re on it, does exactly what you expect of it, reliably and without drama, leaving your mind free to enjoy the experience.’
‘And if you are going to cycle nearly 12,000 km, you need the right padding for your bum’, says the ever practical Jane, who is on hand with a stifled yawn and a cup of tea before Mel’s daily departure.
All this strenuous preparatory work, with months to go before the marathon journey even begins, would weaken the resolve of most people. The stress of it!
Not Mel. ‘So what in fact has been the hardest part so far?’
‘No question – the motorway drive to Oxford to collect the bike! Give me the African bush any day.’
Jane is in full agreement. ‘I’d rather deal with a charging elephant!’
(Hmm….Maybe not so practical after all?!)