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Winter Sun Cycling In The Lake District?

Yes, I have been to find the winter sun in Morocco with Margaret , my wife. I packed our bikes and headed South in February flying with Thompson the bikes only cost £30 return.

We were on an organised tour of the Atlas mountains, with a dozen other cyclists.Up at dawn and to bed after dusk setting off on crisp icy mornings in the mountains and coping with temperatures up to 90F in the coastal foot hills. Up to 60 odd miles some days with a days rest in the middle to see some rocks painted blue by an international conceptual artist[the site ruined by other attempts to emulate painted rocks and hence destroying the sense of place!]

I lost count of the number of mountain passes we climbed, in the three different ranges of Atlas Mountains up to an altitude of 2,200mts, and the descents on the Moroccan roads needed 110 % concentration to avoid the numerous pot holes, donkeys and pedestrians calling out “Bonjour”. Never have I spoken so much French.

Just like the Lake District passes? Not likely most were more alpine in nature,possibly due to the French colonisation in the 20thC. But my faulty Garmin Edge 800 did record a climb of 12% one very hot day. [the Garmin seemed to have a mind of its own accurately recording my slow mountain climbs but as soon as I got up speed on the downhills, the screen went blank!]

Yet, on one  very long descent on a perfect road, I did manage to head the group with a freewheeling speed of 40mph but got caught on the next accent of  another pass. But the beauty of this group was It did not matter if you were leading or at the back as everyone was going at their own pace and having fun.

Morocco can be recommended for winter cycling,we had cloudless blue skies,roads which were fine for road bikes, great company, excellent chicken tagines, friendly smiling locals, and a fantastic back up crew lead by “the boss” Saaid, and the Berber omelette. Oops we must not forget the mint tea served at every rest stop and Im sure laced with some local herbs to help us on our way?

I’m a mint tea convert and have been drinking the brew bought in the markets of Morocco.

Meanwhile Cumbria was covered in another dump of snow,but on our return we were greeted by a beautiful spring, sunny, warm February day,so after rebuilding and cleaning the bikes I went off for a quick spin round Coniston Water back to cycling in the Lake District.

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