Well, you’ll be happy to know that I’m back home and safe and sound (by the way, I went away…). I spent the last 9 days or so riding through the freezing rain of the Loire Valley, which could have been bad, but the trip had a couple of things going for it.

  • It was riding.
  • It was in the Loire Valley.

But it gets better. I got paid and I was surrounded by 10 fun-loving Australians! But maybe it’s wise to backtrack a little to add some context to this article.

I ran across a cycling tour company called Gourmet Cycling Travel a while back and on a whim sent them off an email to see if they might need the services of an amiable Canadian (me, if you were wondering) on one of their tours and, imagine my luck, they did. Jonathan Chiri, co-owner of the company, needed a guide for a custom-made tour up north, and after a genial Skype interview, it was game on.

This is our group at the top of our first hill, in front of the 10th century Chateau de Saumur.

The routes were mainly on traffic-free or lightly traveled local roads, which allowed me to take photos of people behind me without getting killed. First up is my co-pilot, Korrina.

Then April, kindly blocking the wind for Roy and Jett.

Cassandra, who apparently didn’t get the memo that it was 12 degrees.

Ever smiley Christine.

Uncle Roy with Jett in the chariot.

Paul, a closet cyclist (he said he trained for the trip by driving by a bike shop every day, but I’m still not convinced). On top of being a secret roadie, Paul is also a celebrity in Australia. He’s got a popular fishing program on TV down there. Here’s a random YouTube video of one of his more impressive exploits.

Christy, Paul’s wife and managerial maestro.

Amanda, with Jon and the support-mobile pulling up the rear.

And finally Robert, who had his very own rain-soaked rides with me on a couple of occasions. He and the family had been in Europe for 5 weeks and he was aching to get out and get the heart rate up. I hope he succeeded…I know I did!

OK, not finally. Can’t forget Chef Jon, especially since he’s still got a case of wine of mine. I learned a whole heap of good things about this business in those 9 days and most of them came from watching (and drilling him with questions) Jon run the show.

So that’s that. The Sandersons, Pol Bodettos and Worsterlings have gone their separate ways, Jon’s in Paris hanging with his girlfriend, and I’m back in Le Sud drying out my bibs. Thanks for a great trip everyone!

I’ll leave the title of this article cryptic, but if there are any Aussies out there you’re welcome to enlighten your fellow readers in the comment box!

14 thoughts on “Jezza!

  1. Oh oh what a tease you have become …….. and the riding, the history, the riding, the culture, the riding, the food, the riding, the architecture, theriding, the hills the….. we wait for more posts. And for the only Australian phrase I know,good on you!

      • And I can’t wait to hear more about it! Sounds fabulous … before you know it, you’ll need an assstant. Luckily for you, there’s already a line of us applicants at your door.

    • Hmm, it’s as much a mystery as curling, not. Or rodeos, not. Or most things American, and many things British.

      Jezza was a legend and that speccy was a thing of legend.

      “Wrong side”? Pfft, it’s all a matter of perspective. Most of you lot drive on the wrong side of the road (And that’s just for starters).

      • I think I need to be less vague from now on. Seems we are getting confused on the issue of ‘Jezza’. In my case, I was referring to it as an automatic nickname thrown at me by Australians.

  2. Very nice! You didn’t mention what your role was in the interprise. Translation services, or perhaps the company had over-booked its tours and needed a pinch-hitter (to use baseball jargon) for one of them?

    • You’re right, I didn’t! I’m making far too many assumptions, I now realize. I was the hired hand; there to do the riding with the group and assist Jonathan. Very good experience for the future, if I decide to make a move in that direction.

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