Late this summer a friend of mine returned from a year spent in South America making websites, and I met up with him for a drink. We inevitably got talking about what we’d been up to in the last 12 months, and conversation eventually stumbled upon a ride I’d done from London to Cambridge.
Somehow, we decided that we’d try a longer trip together – from Biarritz to Barcelona, perhaps. What would normally have remained a pub conversation turned to reality when I got an email from Dave later that week containing details of the flights he’d just booked.
This is a very long description of that very long holiday.
Biarritz to Barcelona
Having arrived at the airport with plenty of time, we discovered five minutes before boarding that we were at the wrong gate. Sprinting the length of an airport is always a great way to start a holiday, I’ve found, especially one that will involve cycling up several large mountains.
Once we landed we found ourselves in a nondescript car park in France, with two cardboard boxes full of bits that needed to become bikes again before we could get started.
Cue an hour of swearing, tightening nuts and bolts and wondering what the bits left over were, and we were set. We confidently struck out North towards the coast, before turning South for Barcelona, so that we could say this journey was properly coast-to-coast. Only a few miles later and we arrived at the sea, Dave fell off his bike, cutting his knee and we temporarily lost each other. Spirits were boosted by a large steak, and we begun towards Barcelona.
It wasn’t long before we arrived at a small town and I impatiently jumped a red light, unluckily within sight of the most eagle-eyed policeman in all of France. He caught up with me on his enormous motorbike and handed me an equally enormous fine.
Later on, the French police righted this wrong by giving us a generous escort to the main road when our map-reading skills were found wanting. Every time we managed to catch up with them, they took it as a sign to speed up, and we ended up putting in a performance that would make Lance Armstrong proud, before waiting for them to say goodbye and collapsing in a heap.
The terrain begun to get hilly almost immediately as we left the coast, and we finished the day by finding an abandoned and overgrown road where we wearily set up camp.