Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - NEWS -

Ap­par­ently rid­ing a bike is some­thing that once learned is never for­got­ten. Who­ever came up with this ge­nius no­tion clearly didn’t count on me. I rode a bike (al­beit my brother’s BMX and not very often) into my early teens be­fore aban­don­ing it for the bus or the safer op­tion of walk­ing.

Dur­ing the early nineties on a back­pack­ing stint in Europe, I hopped back on for a tour of the Loire Val­ley and to dis­cover the out­skirts of Am­s­ter­dam. The lat­ter ended in a col­li­sion with my cy­cling buddy that saw me fly­ing through the air and into a bed of tulips. It was a sign to go back to walk­ing or bussing it and one that I would hold my­self to un­til a trip to France on a Scenic river cruise.

The river ships are stocked with bikes which are used for or­gan­ised tours or for any­one want­ing to ex­plore the var­i­ous towns along the Garonne.

I adopted the “get right back on the horse” men­tal­ity well over 20 years af­ter my last ride.

The ini­tial, cau­tious kilo­me­tres threatened to repli­cate The Great Tulip Flat­ten­ing of 1992.

The guide kept im­plor­ing, “Can you go faster?”

“Yes,” I would an­swer, “but I don’t want to!”

Then, wouldn’t you know it, af­ter a while I got the hang of it again. I’m not say­ing the yel­low jersey was ever in my sight, but with a bit of prac­tice I soon dis­cov­ered my bike could take me all over the won­der­ful town of Bordeaux in a faster, more ef­fi­cient way than my legs ever could. JANA FRAW­LEY NA­TIONAL TRAVEL EDI­TOR

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