I don’t ride a road bike. I used to, but no more. I’m not racing, the geometry is aimed at speed at the expense of comfort and you can’t really see anything but the road or the wheel in front of you. 

Ever since my Labrador induced tumble and dislocated collarbone I’ve decided there is a new way to go. Flat bars to make braking easier and help your body position mean you can actually see what is going on around you. No cleats on the shoes so no comedy falls trying to unclip in difficult situations. No pushing for position on Strava segments, but you can still cover a decent amount of distance and climb some decent hills. And let’s be honest; it’s a damn sight more comfortable!

Not every cyclist agrees though. We have hired hybrid bikes here and today’s chat was to do the Medieval villages tour. Yesterday we talked about riding one way to the start rather than taking the train as recommended for hybrid bikes. Today there was horror. You can’t do it. It’s not possible. The hill is 500m climbing. 

Eventually we persuaded her we would give it a go. A 10km hill then 6km descent. She emphasised it would be harder on the return at 6km ascent and 10km descent, so recommended where to get coffee and cake near the train station. 

The hill over was fine. We weren’t setting any speed records, but it’s the kind of hill I can do all day. Not too steep; slow and steady. And a 360 viewpoint at the top. 

The round trip was fabulous once we reached the route proper. Tiny villages with lovely squares and old churches about 5km apart. Perfect spots for lunch and drinks. Quiet country lanes with pomegranates and sunflowers growing at the side. The sunflowers must be being grown for seeds or oil; field after field of black flower heads and dropped leaves aren’t exactly beautiful but must serve an agricultural purpose. 

Then we headed home thinking that this way would be tougher at only 6km for the climb. 

We had only just started and I was struggling. Half thinking of calling it quits and heading for the train. I couldn’t believe how much harder it was in this direction. Until JT pointed out I was still in the big ring… my gear change hadn’t worked. Click down again on the left hand and normal service resumed. 

I’m actually less tired than yesterday. All eminently possible on the hybrid. 63km ride with just over 1000m of climbing. Tomorrow should be easier!