It's 2012, a brand new year, and one in which we're all supposedly going to die - yeaaah! - on the 21st December to be precise. I might leave the Christmas shopping until late this year, y'know, just in case.
Welcome back to the UniCycle50 blog, you lovely people! I've been hibernating since the middle of last September, doing things that hibernating creatures do, like writing astronomy reports, taking maths exams and knocking out 20,000 word philosophy dissertations. Hey, I know how to live.
But now I've awoken from my winter slumber and I'm preparing for a brand new year, packed to the brim with 12,000 kilometres of glorious cycling, through nineteen countries to stick my flag into another eighteen captivating capital cities. And I get to embarrass myself in another eight or nine languages, like some sort of international gibbering tit.
Physically, 2012 will be the toughest year of this massive ride. All the countries are in the south of Europe - I'm particularly looking forward to cycling across Turkey in July - and they are all mountainous. There'll be no cool air, sissy-boy pootlings across the pancakelands of the Netherlands and northern Germany this year. No, it's going to be hot 'n' hilly, just like Katie Price but, y'know, hot. Yes, this year is going to be so macho I'll probably grow an extra testicle. It would be nice to finally have two.
And speaking of testicles, this year's menu of international culinary delights looks as appetizing as 2011's. We have grilled intestines in Turkey, sea urchins in Italy and a stewed dormouse in Slovenia. But first I'm kicking off with my Spanish meal. I didn't have it last year. I was going to go for tinned partridge - I've never eaten a partridge before, tinned or otherwise - but then I had a better idea. When I lived in Spain, I seem to remember the supermarket Eroski in Velez Malaga selling bulls' bollocks. They sound yummy, don't they? Does anyone have any recipes? I'm not sure how I want to prepare them yet, but for some reason I think I'll be avoiding creamy sauces. My Dad claims that sweetbreads are delicious. I'm not sure how he's such an expert on the taste of male genitalia. That said, he was in the Navy.
So in this run-up to my start date - towards the end of March - I thought I would write about the quirks and oddities of some of the countries I'll be seeing this year, and you'll be seeing too if you 'like' the UniCycle50 page on Facebook. Once through Spain and the south of France, 2012 will get me to Monaco, Italy, San Marino, the Vatican, Malta, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia. There must be something worth writing about from that lot but, since this is me we're talking about, don't get your hopes up.
But for now I'll leave you in peace - unless of course you're reading this in Afghanistan - and wish you a joyous 2012. Now that it's nearly the end of January and all those resolutions have finally been ditched, have a large drink on me. And to maintain the theme of this message, in 2012 I hope you all have a ball!