Last weekend the Mechanic and I were driving from London to Monmouth. As we drove the last stretch of the journey from Chepstow following the River Wye, through the Wye Valley, Mr M. reminded me of a time, perhaps 15 years ago, when we had cycled the same route.
It’s a pretty ride, that takes you pass the Chepstow racecourse and the famous medieval Abbey at Tintern, through Redbrook and on to Monmouth. However it was not the beautiful forest roads that Mr M. was reminiscing about, or the history in the area that inspired poets and painters such as Wordsworth and Turner. Mr M. recalled how on that cycle ride many years earlier he had asked if I could cycle a little faster because, he said ’ I’m going to fall off if we go any slower’.
The Mechanic’s coaching style is unconventional, ‘I’m going to fall off’, not exactly encouraging! In reflection it makes me giggle, but at the time, I wanted to punch him on the nose, and then distracted myself from the hilly terrain by planning revenge, such as fixing spokey-dokeys to his fancy wheels, while he slept.
The Mechanic does not ask me to cycle faster quite so often now, but he does like to remind me to ‘keep pedalling’ when going downhill. At the top of a challenging ascent, it seems natural to catch one’s breath, and enjoy the reward of free-wheeling down the other-side, however the Mechanic/Coach always calls from behind ‘keep pedalling’ as he then flies past me.
It’s a subtle thing, but I’ve learnt it’s important when cycling with others. Size and weight play a part, so the smaller you are the more you have to pedal to keep up with the momentum of a heavier cyclist, and to avoid creating a pile-up behind. I admit that sometimes if the Mechanic is behind me I pretend to pedal and enjoy the free ride. Although I’ve also learnt how thrilling it is, when you find that perfect gradient that allows you to pedal as fast as you can with ease, reaching exhilarating speeds that would be too frightening on a steep descent.
So I guess I can cycle a little faster, but preferably downhill.