No more excuses... no more regrets!

Yvette Yeates - Grand Tours Project Team

May / 20 / 2021

The kids are big now. I have a husband who works from home. I have a job that I can carry around with me on my laptop. I have a very nice bike thank you. I live in the mountains, with loads of ‘flat bits’ around the lakes too. I have no excuses...and yet I have a million excuses.

I am not fit enough.
I need to threaten the kids to tidy their rooms, and yell at them to get outside and get off the screens.
I need to feed the family.
I have a garden that needs endless mowing and a garden where weeds thrive.
I must learn French.
Someone has to walk and feed the dog.

Above: Feeding the family

See...heaps of excuses but are they life threatening? Will the kids become hopeless screen addicts over summer? Will my husband be able to keep starvation at bay and keep the house clean? Who will keep the dog company and remember to feed her? Will the vege garden turn into a jungle? And will my husband destroy more lawn mowers? These are all important questions and I have finally realised - (insert expletive) - they will all survive without me!

Above: I do get days off when it's a powder day!!

Last autumn, my neighbour and friend, Eileen, convinced me she needed me because I am slow and steady, some may say like a snail, and she is a speedy gonzales and I would slow her down. I opted to take that as a compliment. So as the cold weather arrived, we started riding on ‘flat’ routes around lakes. Flat is a very subjective word in Switzerland but we discovered some of the most beautiful routes, sampled the best hotels and restaurants and have vowed to return with our friends...even create GTP tours.

Above: Pacing Eileen AND photographing - multi talented!

Now, winter has nearly disappeared, the mountain passes will be opening soon and we have made plans. We have decided to just get out there and ride ridiculously idiotic mountain passes because...well because why not? The men do it and I am sure that we, a couple of women, can do it too.

We’ve done a couple of localised rides and are ready for the challenges (not!). First up, a leisurely weekend ride, around Lago Lugano and then a lung clearing climb up Valle Maggia.

Above: Gotthard Tremola - bucket list climb

Two weeks later, we’ll do the classic figure of eight and check off several Swiss iconic passes - Furka, Nufenen, Gotthard Tremola and then the Furka, Grimsel and Susten. All in one day!! Just kidding...2 days. Are we fit enough? Probably not, but we have all day and this is Switzerland where there is always a Swiss Post bus or rail service to save you.

Above: Unfit me...but getting out there to make my friends and family laugh!

And our grand finale. We are super excited about this one. It will be like an epic cycle tour that Keith Tuffley would do...except it's us and would be too easy for him! But I am not going to reveal too much of our adventure yet. In summary - we will be riding epically long days in eastern Switzerland come rain, hail, snow and sunshine; then a 2 day circuit from Italy into Austria and back; and finally onto the Maratona dles Dolomites with the aim of completing the 138km course. We are calling it YEBBA, Yvette and Eileen’s Big Bike Adventure! I will be instagramming it, warts and glory, so stay tuned.

Will we succeed? Who knows, but we are going to aim high, have fun, cry and have the best memories. And we hope to inspire more women (and men too!) to just get out there, live your own big adventure and with no regrets.

Above: Drop dead gorgeous Maratona dls Dolomites