July bike blog: The Ride, The Tour De France, and cycling festivals

July 2, 2012 No Comments »

Cardiff cycling blogger Simon Nurse cycle commutes daily, races cyclo-cross for Cardiff JIF, and edits the Odoni cycle blog atcyclestuff.wordpress.com.

He is also yourCardiff’s guest blogger on all things bike in Cardiff, writing a monthly round-up of cycling news, events, and the best rides in the city. You can contact Simon on Twitter @cyclestuffblog.

When the cycling mileage gets into four figures (not including decimal places) that’s pretty heroic, right? And with July already under way and the end of the grand tour season foisted upon us, we’re about to witness the most heroic of all the cycling endeavours, the Tour De France. Right?

Whilst the TDF is undeniably heroic and July is most definitely upon us, I’d argue the most heroic thing on two wheels is not taking place on the flatlands of Northern France and the high passes of the French Alps, but passing through Cardiff after winging its way through Edinburgh, Belfast and Dublin, en- route to London – it goes by the name of ‘The Ride’.

Réka Petaky is a young mum of three who hails from Hull. Last year she took up cycling with very little training or experience and cycled from the Isle of Mull in the Inner Hebrides to Hull on the banks of the Humber. A distance of 500ish miles.

The remarkable thing about this journey – aside from its very respectable distance – is that Réka was in the middle of ongoing cancer treatment (which she still regularly receives). Keen to prove that living with an acute condition should be no barrier to enjoying life to the full, this year she’ll be doing it all over again on an even grander scale, linking the capital cities from the constituent parts of the UK and Ireland.

Réka’s message is simple. Cancer should not stop you from living. She’ll be accompanied by friends, family, supporters and other riders also living with cancer and willing to prove Reka’s point. It’s hard to emphasise what a huge undertaking this is.

The ride will be arriving in Cardiff on Wednesday July 25. Of the capital cities previously mentioned, Cardiff is clearly the stand out. Warmer, friendlier and infinitely prettier than the others (no doubt they have their plus points*). Let’s get out and support the Ride as it passes through our fair city. I can’t believe for one minute that the other capitals could possibly provide a warmer welcome. Assistance, extra riders and sponsorship are all welcomed and you can find details on The Ride website.

In the meantime however, that’s lots of other fun to be had on bikes at the moment, even if the sun is playing hide and seek with us.

The Cardiff Cycle Festival ramped up to its conclusion on June 30 with a plethora of events organised in and around the civic centre. But if you’ve missed out on the festival’s events, not to worry, because if you combine my two favourite forms of transport (bikes and trains) a short hop to Bristol during July should mean that you can catch up with some of the events that have influenced our own, at Bristol Cycle Festival. From bike movies to bike tours, and from Banksy to speed dating by bike(!) there’s a lot to entertain the South Walean day tripper.

In between that little lot there’s the small matter of 2000+ miles of racing that I mentioned in the introduction; this time with the possibility of a British winner in Bradley Wiggins. The Tour De France starts in Liege on June 30 and concludes on the Champs-Élysées. Do I think he’ll do it? Who knows? I wouldn’t bet against him. He’s in outstanding nick and the Manx missle (Mark Cavendish) will be taking a back seat this year to let him have a crack at the overall title, so it’s certainly possible.

From a Welsh perspective, it’s a shame that our own Geraint Thomas (a Cardiff lad and former Maindy Flyer/Cardiff JIF member) won’t be on show, but who can blame him with the Olympics on home soil? With a bit of luck this summer we’ll get to toast two terrific British wins. Wouldn’t that be nice?

*Just kidding they’re all lovely.

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