Broleur is best described as two brothers – Steve and Andy – blogging about their bike rides. We grew up in Lancaster, but Steve now lives in London and in late 2021, Andy moved to Maryland in the US.
The "true" meaning of Broleur
Rouleur is the term used to describe a road cyclist considered an all-rounder. A grimpeur is the climber who favours the thin air of the mountains, while the puncheur prefers short, sharp climbs. A coureur relishes a race and the baroudeur compensates for average ability with courageous riding.
The broleur is the cyclist who lives for the simple companionship of the road or trail. A rider who relishes the unspoken rivalry that exists between close friends, cherishes the unbreakable bonds forged through shared suffering, and savours the beers and banter that inevitably follow.
Broleurs take their turn on the front, wait patiently at the top, and always cross the finish line together.
The Broleur motto
Our motto, In manibus ignem, roughly translates as "hands in the fire". It was inspired by a great piece on Chris Froome in Esquire, The Hardest Road, written by Richard Moore. In it, Froome talks about the psychological side of cycling, as well as the physical.
“It’s about the body only up to a certain point. There comes a point when you’re both so far into the red and so far over your limit that it turns mental; it’s a mental game. It’s like you both have your hands in the fire and the first to pull out loses.”
It just seemed to perfectly sum up our perennial battles up Anerley Hill, as well as the inner demons we all fight at some point on every ride. Not to mention it sounds a bit like a phrase Maximus might summon to rally his troops before battle in Gladiator.
The Broleur story
It started back in 2011.
I was approaching forty. Too early for a full mid-life crisis. But not too early to believe my athletic peak had passed. I was struggling to scramble back up a greasy downhill slope of fitness.
Any illusions of being 'in shape' had been shattered by unflattering holiday photos and the cruel taunts of children (just my children, thankfully).
Annual mountain biking weekends with old mates had become bi-annual. Dodgy knees ruled out running. I couldn't face the harsh electric lights of a changing room, never mind the gym. The road called.
My wife agreed to buy me a bike for my christmas-cum-40th-birthday present. And even more generously, to let me out on it every Sunday morning - on the condition she never had to see me in full lycra.
I needed someone who would share my new passion.
My younger brother Andy and I were once close, but we'd grown apart. It felt like we were separated by more than the six years and six miles between us. We rarely spoke or saw each other between family gatherings.
Cycling would be the thing that would bring us together.
For a Christmas present, I signed us up to the London Revolution the following May. Four months to train. Two days and 185 miles to bond. At this point, neither of us even had a bike.
Fast forward nine years. We've ridden together pretty much every weekend. We usually start planning our Sunday ride from Tuesday. He ponders which of his many jerseys to wear, I think about coffee and cake. Stats are studied. Many messages are swapped.
What do people who don't cycle think about all day?
The highlights of our cycling years have been the trips abroad for sportives and granfondos. Belgium, France, Wales, Italy, Spain, even Yorkshire. Each presenting an opportunity to kindle our bromance and play at being pro's.
See a complete list of our rides on our Palmarès des Broleur page.
Thanks must go to our wonderfully gracious and tolerant wives. To our fantastic children who so rarely see their Dads on a Sunday morning (if they're out of bed before midday). And to our extended families for their unstinting support from afar. You make us feel like heroes.
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