Monday, 27 August 2012


Someone asked me to do a painting of a field of poppies last week. OK, it's not really a bike painting, but it's a village I go through almost every time I go for a ride because it's only four kilometres away.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Old Peugeot

Had lunch round at a friend's house last week. It's an interesting place to take a camera as he's got alot of ground, with loads of interesting old junk like tractors and bulldozers and a collection of vintage rowing skiffs made from acajou and the like. He's also got some old bikes, including his grandfather's old ride with wooden rims, but my favourite is this old Peugeot that I wheeled out of the garage and stuck next to an olive tree to have it's photo taken.

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Monday, 14 May 2012

The Heap

The Heap is the affectionate name for my 20 year old mountain bike that these days serves as general hack for nipping around local villages or shopping trips into Sète, which is about 12ks away. Anyway, one morning last week I popped over to the next village - Montbazin - to buy bread, and was impressed by the amount of poppies everywhere. There seem to be more than usual this year. I happened to have my camera in my rucksack so snapped a pic which I thought turned out really well, and honouring The Heap with a nice photo is the least I can do considering the service he's given over the years.

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Tuesday, 1 May 2012

VTT ride

I prefer road bikes to off-road, but I do have a hardtail mountain bike that I enjoy riding occasionally. Someone bought me a small guide to MTB rides in l'Herault for christmas and I completed the first one last week. The "maps" in the guide leave alot to be desired and I got lost twice, so although the distance was supposed to be 25ks, I ended up doing more like 30! Typical "April shower" weather meant it was gloriously sunny one moment and raining the next. Actually got wet at one point but soon dried out in the strong wind and had an enjoyable afternoon.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Rusty Bikes

I've started a series of old, beat up bikes. There's something sad and poetic about a bike, or any machine come to that, which has outlived it's usefulness and has been abandoned by it's owner in a shed or a corner of a garden. I love painting rust and heaps of rubbish so this is going to be an interesting project for me. The second one, "Chinese Bike" was adapted with kind permission from a photo by a young Frenchman living in Japan. Some great photography on his blog.

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Abbaye de Valmagne

Crikey, I'm a bit behind with this! Just a quicky to mention one of my favourite places on this earth, the Abbaye de Valmagne, situated about ten kilomètres from where I live. It's rather beautiful and very peaceful. It's one of those places that seems to give off good vibes and makes me feel good. I often ride by when I'm out on the bike, and a few weeks ago I happened to have my camera with me when it was fairly early in the morning and everything was covered with a soft pinkish light, which gave the buildings an even warmer, friendlier aspect than usual.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Pic St Loup

Finally got round to riding up around the Pic St Loup last week, and returned yesterday to do the same loop of 68 kilometres but in the other direction. The Pic St Loup is a mountain, 658 metres high, poking up out of the plain about 25 kilometres north of Montpellier. There's no road to the top, but you can walk up it, and I have many times in the past, but the rather beautiful and desolate country to the north of the Pic makes great cycling terrain. I took the bike in the car and parked at Les Matelles and began my ride from there. The interesting stuff starts at the next village, St Mathieu, where the road starts to climb up between the Pic and it's sister, the Mont Hortus and at the top of the climb there's a spectacular view looking back towards St Mathieu. A fast descent then, and turn off the main St Martin de Londres road and head north to the very pretty village of Notre Dame de Londres. These back roads are very quiet and lonely. You can easily ride for ten or twenty kilometres without seeing another vehicle and could easily be abducted by aliens without anyone ever knowing! No flat roads here but constant short sharp climbs and descents. Pass through Ferrieres and Pompignan where there's a good sharp climb through a series of hairpin bends and you arrive on top of a desolate plateau that's not far off the height of the Pic which can be clearly seen on the horizon almost as if you could touch it. After the straight road which crosses the plateau, there's a long zig-zag descent down to Valflaunès and civilisation, then it's easy roads back to Les Matelles and my car. Once again I realise how lucky I am to live in such a great place with such superb bike riding available.