posts » Push bikes! Forever...

Push bikes are great. In all senses: I've been cycling around London since I was a kid - I remember winning a race from Westminster to Islington on a push bike in 1992 following my brother's parents' evening at school: he was on the tube, my parents in a car and me, me and my bicycle. Need I say more?

But this post isn't really about that. My local bike shop (LBS) for the last however many years has been Push Cycles, and over the years, we've become friends.

A few years back, I had the opportunity to buy a bike on the work cyclescheme. It meant I was able to get 40% off £1000, and spend more if I wished. I did! I bought a Salsa Vaya, an amazing touring bike.

But then I spent the next couple of years cycling around London. It didn't really seem to do the bike justice. And then, in March 2016, after a super-long night shift where we ended up going to the south coast and eating breakfast in Brighton, returning to base (obviously, I was working on transport at the time) around lunchtime, I had a major head-on collision with a medical student who was cycling on the wrong side of the road, and my bike was totalled.

Turned out that at this stage, there were no more of my original frames left, and Salsa had just up-ed their UK prices by about 50% (and this was pre-Brexit!). Kate Nicholls (the medical student) wasn't going to pay: she said she was away for a couple of months in Africa - understandable, as this was the time that medical students do their electives.

But that didn't help me. Luckily, Push had another suggestion: there was a very similar Specialised frame designed by someone they knew that could perhaps do the job. When they'd finally sorted it out (complete with my Salsa logo glued on the front of the frame!), it felt amazing.

Roll on a couple of months, work wasn't going so well and nor was I being supported in my development. Instead, it seemed prudent to use my time to have an experience I'd been a long time planning: cycling to the south of France. I managed - somehow - to convince a friend of mine, and within a month, we were off!

Dieppe, Rouen¸ Évreux, Dreux, Chartres, Tours, Angers, Nantes, La-Roche-sur-Yon, La Rochelle, Rochefort, Cognac, Angoulême, Nontron, La Coquille, Perigreaux, Moissac, Toulouse, Castelnaudry, Carcasonne, Uzès, La Grande Motte, Frontignan, Sète, Béziers, Narbonne, Perpignan, Villenueve-de-la-Raho, Bages and then onto Céret. There, we rested a while, C left after a couple of days and my folks arrived - including my aunt who was departing from Barcelpona. And so I completed the journey: up the valley past Arles-sur-Tech, then left and up, into the mountains, Saint-Laurent-de-Cerdans. On through northern Catalonia, stopping for sushi with the family in Llafranc near Palafrugell, then one more night and lost in Barcelona...

I'd made it.

And, of course, there's plenty more detail, but that will no doubt come out some time. Hope you enjoy for now, thank you Push, it was an amazing voyage and wouldn't have been possible without you!