LOCKDOWN is a memory that fades in our home, I’m happy to report.
It was fun at first, but I’m the only man in the house with my wife and four daughters, and I’m used to traveling a lot for work.
There were times when I really thought I was going crazy.
Two of the best ways to fight madness were to cook and ride a bike.
I have been cooking for years. Nothing great, just traditional stuff that fills my family.
It also means I can have a glass of wine in the kitchen on my own while the girls watch Made In Towie, or whatever.
Last week, Michelin invited me to take part in a triple tire test in Spain, which ticked all the boxes for me. Cars. Bicycles. Bicycles. And good food.
What you are looking at is the results.
It’s easy to discard tires like just black, round pieces that cost you too much money every now and then.
But Michelin knows it better, and so should we.
He has been in business for over 130 years, perfecting the art of connecting motorcyclists and drivers with the road, all over the world.
Of course, you can buy cheaper tires. But when you think about the role they play, it’s hard to argue that a better touch patch isn’t worth the money.
I use cycling to keep fit, but usually with a stationary bike in the front room.
I was silent for a while while a nice man named Zippy made me a size for a road bike and explained to me how Girona was the mecca for cyclists in Europe.
It was so much more fun than the spin bike in my living room and it was worth having a picture of me carrying whole Lycra in a national newspaper.
Fast forward 12 hours and I’m behind the wheel of a 252 hp Alpine A110.
The sun is shining and I have just been told that the road I am about to drive was once a paved stage of the World Rally Championship.
I know a lot about motorcycle tires, but not much about car tires.
One thing I definitely knew at the time, though, was that the Pilot Road 5 tire on my little French sports car was about to stick.
I drove as if I had accidentally left the license plate at home, but the tires and the car were amazing.
VAL LA VERGONYA
That evening I was offered the opportunity to cook with Michelin-starred chefs in Barcelona and I chose the Triumph Trident as my last means of transportation.
I know the bike very well, but I still had to test the Michelin Road 6 tire I had installed on it.
Did it transform the handling of the bicycle? Absolutely not.
Much of what works for me with a tire is not so much how it is done, but the confidence it makes me feel.
I’ve been a Michelin fan since Pilot Road 3 in 2011 and that hasn’t changed.
After a few miles of warming up these Road 6s, I was getting stuck on unfamiliar roads with the knowledge that I could bring the brake and tilt angle together without any problem with the tire.
When I needed to recover for a while, I hit the freeway and got to my cooking lesson with a few minutes left over.
Sergio and Javier Torres are twin brothers who run a restaurant called Cocina in Barcelona.
It has two Michelin stars, which means that the food, service and overall atmosphere are outrageously good.
Neither brother can speak a word of English, but they are famous in Spain, with their own television program.
With almost no conversation, they make me cook some crunchy little pancakes that we dress with bacon, black truffle and grated almonds.
The trip in the morning was amazing, as was the trip in the afternoon.
Being in a kitchen like this, after a day like that, was living my best life.
I didn’t tell my new Spanish cooks that I was allergic to almonds and that I ate like I had never been fed.
Some things are worth the risk and these are worth it.
Whether it’s food, bike tires, driving guides for foreign countries, or rubber for your commute, Michelin does so much better than you think.