I have written numerous times about riding on cobbles in Belgium, in particular the effect it has on visitors. Most recently I was worried that visiting author Andrew Sykes might suffer wheel damage somewhere between here and the North of Norway after a day or two with me in Belgium. I am mighty relieved that he made it to the North Cape this week and is on his way home without a wheel collapse.
However I have also noticed that some visitors just take the lumps and bumps in their stride, without any obvious reason why. After April’s Tour of Flanders Challenge the English language web sites were full of moaning Brits muttering about the pounding they received, but my brother and I were seemingly not as discomforted as many others.
We put this down to the fact that we have both mountain biked a fair bit so the idea of a bike bouncing around underneath us is really not a novelty.
However today I found that there may be another source …. genetics.
As the days of drizzle and gusty winds finally drew to an end and we have got some proper sunshine I took my mother and stepfather out for a long overdue spin as part of their holiday stay. We had a glorious ride through golden cornfields that are just waiting for the harvest.
To avoid too much traffic and to enjoy the tranquility I took them carefully along some minor tracks and trails that include a few short stretches of the bumpy stuff.
Patrick behaved entirely appropriately for a Brit on the pave, he was really quite discomforted.
However there has rarely been anything that stops my indomitable Mum and some simple Belgian stones were dismissed with disdain as she bowled over them without missing a single revolution.
Extremely impressive, her first exposure to the dreaded stones at the age of 73 and she looked like someone who has been on the cobbles all her life.