Escape To The Chateau (or Cafe) on Yer Bike!

As winter nights draw in, maybe you would enjoy reading about women like you going off to find new places on their bicycles? If this appeals, “In Search of Adventure” could be the book for you… even if you haven’t got on a bike yet and you’re just dreaming about it!

Written in lockdown, the book offers a collection of stories about real women who ride with “Breeze”. Some of them are bonkers, they’re all tough and they’ve learned a lot on the way on their journeys… to wherever they are!

Please click the link below to pre-order. If you live outside the UK, please contact me by leaving your email address and order on goodapplecopy.com

Ruth’s story (Extract from “In Search of Adventure”)

It was hard to get started at times but as soon as I got on the bicycle, I was drifting away along the country lanes.  Cycling was a great escape.  At work my teaching methods were being questioned and my work-load was being increased.  In truth, we were all being squeezed but it felt very stressful because I was already working at full-tilt.  At the same time, my marriage was ending, after nearly twenty years of us being together so my home life and work life were both in tatters.

Throughout this difficult period, my family and cycling kept me going.  Then, one day, whilst scrolling through Facebook, an image of sunflowers burst in to my brain and lifted my heart.  It was an advert aimed at the Breeze community for a women-only week-long bicycle tour along Le Canal du Midi in France in the summer holidays.  “That’s it! I’m going! Woohoo!  Troubles be gone!”

Fields of sunflowers and smiling faces lifted my spirits on my French adventure!

I found myself being able to laugh again!  The whole experience gave me the strength I needed to manage and take control of my life.  Crucially, I reverted back to my maiden name, regained my identity and found a positive outlet for my energy.

The other thing I fell in love with, and this surprised me a little, was France.  I had always wanted to speak another language fluently and struggled like mad with languages when I was younger.  That year in France, I was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the French people I met along the Canal du Midi. I even managed to understand what was being said and speak a word or two of French myself.

With time to notice things around me, all my senses were heightened to absorb the sounds, colours, tastes and reflections. There was an immense beauty in the scale of the landscape, tall sunflowers as big as my head, big skies, long baguettes.  It put my problems into perspective.  The days were long but I always made it with time to rebuild my house, also known as “the tent” and I slept well.

I got lost just once, where the canal split in two and I had to choose which prong of the fork pointed the way.  It was the longest day, three days in to the trip and I was stretched to my limit.  I had decided to travel totally alone that day so I was forced into having my wits about me and observing markers in the landscape.

Luckily, I got a really strange feeling…  A hundred metres down the track, all my senses were on full alert. It felt wrong: the bustling path that I had been following seemed quiet and under-used.  Out of nowhere, a French farmer appeared carrying a shotgun and surrounded by barking dogs. “Turn back! Turn back!” I spoke aloud to myself and turned around whilst thinking, “Thank God I was mindful enough to notice those signs!”

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