Ragtime cyclist column

Ragtime Cyclist column
Ragtime Cyclist column

As anyone who has ever ridden a bike with me (or has been reading this fledgling column) will know, I am a man who appreciates a good mid-ride café stop.

Here in Lancaster, it just so happens that we are blessed with any number of top-notch establishments dishing out coffee, cake, flap-jack and the rest; all good fuel for the ride.

Being something of an expert in this area, I’ve noticed that most café stops have two things in common.

Firstly, no matter how much you needed the calories and the refreshment when you stopped, when you climb back on the bike after half an hour in some cosy corner you will fall victim to the dreaded ‘café legs’, and find yourself weak ~
as a kitten and stiff as a board.

Secondly, there appears to be some ancient law in place which stipulates that any café likely to be frequented by the humble cyclist should be located at the bottom of a hill; the steeper and more torturous the better.

And so, having indulged yourself, you are hit with the double whammy of café legs and an immediate need for strenuous effort to drag yourself back up the hill, causing you to briefly regret stopping in the first place - if you’d given it a miss and just kept pedalling, you’d be half way home by now. This peculiar geographical law does have its benefits though.

Should you ever find yourself on unfamiliar roads, where you know there is a café somewhere nearby but you don’t know exactly where, simply find the nearest hill, ride down it, and voila, that’s where the café will be.

In fact, any of you budding entrepreneurs out there who are thinking of setting up the ultimate cyclist’s café, there’s the perfect name for your establishment: ‘the café at the bottom of the hill’.

Of course there are exceptions to this café-at-the-bottom-of-the-hill theory, but they just prove the rule.

If you discover one of these exceptions by riding down a hill to find there is no café, I can only apologise.

You are now at the bottom of a hill, and you are still hungry and thirsty.

But at least you haven’t got café legs.