Think Tour de France but more food than cycling – Rick Jackson

Rick is enjoying his leisurely ride across Northern France. Picture: Shutterstock.
Rick is enjoying his leisurely ride across Northern France. Picture: Shutterstock.
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After a thrilling Tour de France, where a 22-year-old Colombian became the youngest winner in more than 100 years, on Monday I set off on my own tour.

My best mate and I have talked about doing a cycling holiday in France for years and now, finally, we have got round to doing it.

Maybe the fear of what life may be like after October 31 encouraged us to do it now before it becomes much more difficult to cross the Channel. 

Before you think of two overweight middle aged men in lycra on race bikes speeding through the streets of Northern France in our own peloton, think again.

I will be taking no lycra, no energy gels, no cleats for pedals and no device measuring speed, heart rate and power watts on the bike.

I’m taking a good old fashioned road bike, with mud guards, pannier bags and a very sensible saddle. 

In fact this trip is less about cycling, but more about soaking up some fine French cuisine, wines and bakeries.

We kick the trip off with the overnight sailing to St Malo on the Brittany Ferries ship Bretagne, famed for her à la carte restaurant and show bar.

These facilities will be well and truly patronised before our arrival in France. 

Then off to Avranches, our first port of call, taking in Mont Saint Michel on the way.

Then we head inland, carefully choosing a route with as little hills as possible before we reach the Normandy coast.

The final day will see us cycle towards the port of Ouistreham, where the ferry back to Portsmouth sails.

We are allowing extra time to explore the Normandy beaches and Pegasus Bridge before we join the overnight ferry back to Blighty.

As you can see, less Tour de France and more Keith Floyd.

I plan to be half cut during the afternoon cycle after enjoying a fabulous lunch in some fine French restaurant.

So there we are. Two men cycling 50 miles a day through Northern France, enjoying the finest culinary delights the country has to offer – what could possibly go wrong?

I’m not being dramatic – my mouth ulcer is ruining my life

How can something so small be so painful and debilitating? Well, maybe I am being a little dramatic, but I currently have the mouth ulcer of justice on the side of my tongue and it’s very annoying.

When I talk, I sound like I’ve just come out of the dentist after a filling and if I talk properly it’s too painful.

This is affecting my ability to work as a radio presenter. I’m now blitzing it with salt, Bonjela and Anbesol.

The latter leaves the ulcer numb. But I’m actually pouring the opened bottle over the ulcer and, upon removal, half of my mouth becomes numb as it leaks everywhere.

I’m dribbling when I eat and every mouth action is painful. Ulcers equal misery!

It took me hours to wash my dusty car – and then it rained

I’ve owned my Ford S-Max for more than five years now and after our staycation it was covered in dust from car parks at Studland and Lulworth Cove.

I realised that in the whole time I have owned it, I’ve never washed the car myself.

Gosport is full of handwash places so it’s just easier to drive in and get them to do it. Plus, being a taller car, they have the proper equipment to clean the roof, I tell myself. I even get them to do the insides when the kids make a really good job of messing it up.

But this time, I decided to clean it myself.

It took four hours, 20 different items of cleaning gear, a pressure washer and three chamois. Then it rained. Never again.