It has been a busy few weeks of cycling with early morning training rides in the French Alps and the eventful Haute Route. It has been easy to get caught up in the excitement and action of the past few weeks. In fact, I nearly forgot to write about a great cycling event in Wales that had us eager to jump on our bicycles to join in!
The Abergavenny festival of cycling was a fun-filled few days that encapsulated bicycles and proudly put them on show. On the evening of our arrival Abergavenny’s small streets had been fenced off for a variety of cycle races for all ages and abilities.
Hundreds of locals turned out to line up behind the barricades to cheer the first of the racers. A handful of young children ( boys and girls) all dressed in their racing lycra with their road bikes determined to win.
A highlight was the popular Traders race – where the local shop keepers cycle in fancy dress to the enjoyment of all the spectators. Bicycles of various types are ridden ranging from homemade wonders to tandems. We found ourselves giggling as an Elvis Presley, a red dragon and a spotty cow went pedalling past us…
Everyone was enjoying themselves and it made you want to get dressed in fancy dress and take part. The locals surrounding us happily shared their memories of past Traders races which has us laughing at what people had done in the past to amuse everyone.
More races include teenage girls and boys cycling against each other. The competition among them is obvious and it creates plenty of excitement for them and for everyone else on the street who are hollering them on.
Finally the last race – the speedster race! This is the cycling event everyone has turned out to watch – this race demands plenty of speed and skill. The young men have their heads and bodies as low as they can go and they pedal like the wind… standing by the barriers you can feel the heat of the cyclists as they whizz by. The come down the slope towards us like flying cannonballs.
You can hear them approaching with the spinning of their chains and the clicks of their gears. Round and round they go through the tight streets of Abergavenny. These young men ride as if they are being chased by some deadly monster – they never look back.
On one turn a cyclists clips a barrier and everyone sees sparks fly as if a welder was hiding in the corner, but it is the collision of bicycle and barrier. All the spectators all ‘ooh’ and ‘arrhh’ in unison. It looks nasty, but the cyclist get up off the ground and dusts himself off. His bicycle isn’t so lucky looking all bent and buckled.
It begins to get dark and the fast pace is maintained… until the end. Our evening ends discussing the cycle races with more friendly locals while eating tasty fish and chips wrapped in paper.
The next day the cycling continues with a couple of long distance cycle rides over the mountains surrounding the town…any cyclist would be happy with a weekend like this in their town. I would like to say a great big thank you to Abergavenny for giving us a real feast of cycling!