It’s time for a grand tour. But not a sport of professional cycling grand tour. They are fun to watch but I suspect it would rapidly become a chore to attempt to ride three and a half thousand kilometres in three weeks, even if it were during my holidays. No, what I need is a grand tour for mortals, people with jobs and, well, people who just want to set their own pace. Luckily, there is one. Cycling journalist Lionel Birnie has put together the People’s Grand Tour. For the people. The idea is just to ride as much as you can over three weeks. The first one was earlier in the year and the second one started today so we’re already one grand tour ahead of the pros. Except for one pro, BMC’s Marco Pinotti, who swindled me out of a podium finish in the first People’s Grand Tour.

Spring is what they call autumn in the northern hemisphere.

Clearly my goal this time around will have to be to ride every day to show pro cyclists that we amateurs don’t need rest days. If you’re interested in joining in, there is a Strava page for people doing the ride (although the Strava page will still exist even if you are not interested). Not only will I attempt to ride every day but I will take on the greater challenge of trying to blog about it every day. The poor old Blogorollo has been neglected lately and there’s never enough cycling in it, is there?

For today’s ride, Kazuko and I met up with Chong and we rode out to the hills to meet Claudia and do a circuit up to Mundaring Weir. Claudia and her husband Guido are from Germany and used to ride with Elite Racing Cycles when they first moved to Perth but then they moved out to the hills and it was a bit far to come but they are pretty keen cyclists and we have been bumping into them a lot at time trials lately. Guido couldn’t make it as he was busy doing 200-odd kilometres or so.

We started out by being half an hour late. I underestimated how long it would take us to ride out and to make things worse, the headwind got stronger as we got closer to the hills. Luckily I was able to call Claudia so she didn’t have to wait around for us in the cold.

Here’s Chong and Kazuko having a quick rest.

Preparing mentally for the first climb of the day.

And once Claudia arrived, we could get under way.

The first climb of the day was also the hardest. Strava tells me that Gooseberry Hill Road is 2km at 8.3%. Usually, this ride is nothing to me. Nothing. A mere bagatelle. However, today the headwind was affecting me quite particularly, so Chong was able to scoot ahead of me quite early on and beat me to the top with ease. He had composed several haiku by the time I got there and Kazuko and Claudia were not far behind me.

It really kicks up for the last bit just before this roundabout.

The hill at least warmed us all up so we could enjoy a pretty pleasant sunny autumn day. A lot of the ride looked like this:

Claudia and Kaz lead the way.

We did a pretty pleasant lap to the weir, which looked like this:

A pleasant hilly lap.

We stopped for coffee and muffins (ham and cheese croissant for me) in Mundaring and then headed back to Rollerson Towers for another coffee (hot chocolate) and lunch at the pub up the road. Alas I won’t be able to watch the sport of professional cycling’s Giro of Italy grand tour tonight as I’ll be needing my beauty sleep for tomorrow’s ride which will be in three parts: to the race, the race and from the race. Cheerio!

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