I've not really had much chance to ride this bike over the past few months. Work, family summer holiday's etc have all conspired to get in the way. Given that it's L'eroica next weekend, I was beginning to get a bit concerned that the bike hadn't been ridden under stress.
Last weekend, I had the good fortune to be out in Champagne, so I took the bike over.
Luckily, the weather was superb. As it happens, it was harvest time. I was staying in Reims, and managed to get lots of miles in exploring the villages between Reims and Epernay.
It turns out that Champagne is a lot hillier than I though, and also they have their own version of the Strada Bianchi:
Here's the bike leaning casually by a flowerpot at the top of the hill leading out of Rilly La Montagne. Out of shot I'm hyperventilating, that hill's a lot steeper than it looks.
Casually propped up against a load of plastic boxes by the side of the road. Those boxes have the words Moet et Chandon stamped on them. They are about to be filled with grapes which will then be transformed in to one of the worlds most covetable wines.
Finally, a quick shot of a wall on the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay:
Champagne is an amazing part of the world, and only about 5 hours drive from London. If you get the chance, go.
In the meantime, I'll be dismantling my bike tomorrow morning ready to take it on an aeroplane to Florence.