In our house we have been watching the Tour de France. Thanks to a friend’s brilliant description of cycling round Regents’ Park I now know how the peloton works. The peloton is a huge clump of cyclists. Like a swarm of bees, the peloton shifts and groups and regroups and stretches and compresses depending on conditions, which moves by one rider moving up the front by overtaking others and then others dropping back. They are different from the tete de la course who are breakaway riders. But for these riders it’s so tough all by yourself alone out there that the peloton can come and swallow you up.
Then there’s a sprinter like the Manx himself who is the one who always breaks free in the last few minutes to win the stage because no one else can jump on a bike like he can. Even though he wins the stage he didn’t get the green jersey and he’s 154. And now we have to get onto what the jerseys mean. There’s yellow one and a green one and one for the king of the mountains.
And then you need to know about the mountains. That’s the romantic part. How did it go on the Col du Tourmalet? Could that be a good summer holiday destination for me? The cyclists surrounded by thundering into the unknown through mist and sheep. And we are told horrendous pain. We are told again and again about the terrible pain suffered by the tour but here we are sitting on our sofas. This is the best part, anytime I could leap up from my sofa and go for a bike ride myself, up the col du Manor House.
You see how someone needs to write a book to explain – no not explain that would be too boring – illustrate for ones like me who have to partake of all this stuff. If I didn’t I’d be all on my own of a Sunday tea time and unable to keep up with dinner table conversation. My next topic will be formula one, which really is as deadly as dry. Other topics include golf, snooker, darts, skiing : could be anything when there’s no football.