Back in my pub days, I fancied a week off and planned to cycle to my father's in Wales, some ninety miles away. I asked my friend Vic, with whom I played in a blues band, if he fancied coming along, (Vic was ten years older than I, and I was then thirty. He was also a very heavy drinker and not known for being a fitness fanatic.) Somewhat to my surprise, he agreed to give it a go.
The first day, we made it to Chester, Vic's home city, some fifty miles away carrying tents, etc., a not inconsiderable amount of weight. We went to visit Vic's old mother, found a B&B and spent the night on the town, Vic showing me his old drinking haunts and introducing me to some of his old friends. I have to say I was quite impressed that he'd held up so well.
Day two was to prove more challenging. My father lived near Denbigh, and to get there from Chester involved either crossing the Clwydian Range, no joke even without a banging hangover, or taking the coast road, a gentler option but about an extra thirty miles. We decided on the second option. About ten miles from my father's place, Vic was beginning to suffer badly and loudly. With much coaxing and wheedling, I managed to get him to within a mile of our destination where he had a massive tantrum and threw his bike into a ditch in a temper! A comforting cup of tea later and we were back in the saddle, Vic bitching like a good'n with every turn of the pedals, and arrived at my father's shortly afterward. Ten minutes later, we were in the back of my Dad's BMW on the way to his favourite pub and Vic was as happy as I'd ever seen him!
We spent the rest of the week touring around Snowdonia, crossing the formidable Horseshoe Pass into Valle Crucis where there is a campsite surrounded by spectacular scenery, and only a few miles from the beautiful town of Llangollen.
At the end of the week we got the train home from Chirk, having visited Chirk Castle, the home of my ancestors.
Poor Vic died of cancer last year but he enjoyed our week away so much that he talked about it until his dying day.