I was prompted the other day to choose a photo and use it to revisit the event shown. In cycling terms the choice was a pretty easy one to make.
This shows myself and my wife, Jacqui, arriving at my sister’s home in Algoz, on Portugal’s Algarve. Were we just back from a day’s run to the coast? Albufeira perhaps? No, were arriving hot-foot from Paris.
The photo was taken in October 2012. We had been cycling for 29 days with 3 rest days since arriving in Paris by Eurostar on September 24. In our early sixties, it was the first time we had cycled for more than a two-week tour and we had covered a total of 2246 kilometres.
Did we feel elated? Perhaps a little, but mostly we felt different: we knew the journey had changed something in us. Physically, we were fitter and lighter than we had been for many years. Emotionally, we were closer, having matched each other, pedal stroke for pedal stroke over many days as we marvelled quietly together about what we were doing. But it was spiritually that we were most changed: somehow we knew we had shared an adventure that would stay with us and be revisited for years into our future together – and so it has proved to be.
Thanks to writing101 for the prompt to revisit this happy memory.
Posted in Trips
I saw this on the CTC CycleClips magazine and it took my fancy. I bought it on impulse, despite having no plans to cycle in France again any time soon. However, that is up for grabs as I have really taken to this guide to the St. Malo-Nice route by John Walsh and Hannah Reynolds. The French Tourist Board ought to be employing these two: perhaps they are!
I found so much to like:
- The size of the book is about the most you would want for touring and it comes with a nice, practical cover flap to keep your place.
- The format and style look like an attractive magazine, with masses of illustrations, colours and maps.
- The maps are specially drawn and very stylised to provide not only the simplicity to make them easy to follow, but also the detail you need to keep on track.
- The text is lively and makes for an enjoyable read.
- Inserts of cultural and historical interest are colour coded, meaning you can read or ignore them as you choose.
- All the practical stuff about eating places, hotels etc. is nicely covered and an attempt is made to cater for all budgets.
- The text is pretty convincing and clearly written by cyclists, for cyclists.
- Best of all is the overview of the guides set out to support six different approaches/timescales to the journey. This is a brilliant idea that introduces lots of flexibility and will make sure the book satisfies all sorts of cyclists.
I could really fancy trying this out for a month!
I bought my copy via the CTC on the Publisher’s Website and snagged a 20% discount, but it is also available through this page on Amazon.
Three cycle safety stories caught my eye this last week and they did not make for comfortable reading. It seems that the route to more popular and safe cycling may be more long and winding than we thought.
Firstly, in The Herald came the story that the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in Scotland is now running at its highest level for over five years: Provisional stats for 1012 suggest that cyclists make up 1 in every 14 seriously hurt or killed on our roads. Almost 900 cyclists were involved in serious incidents across the year.
English: Beware pedestrians Cyclists be warned! I wonder why there is no safety barrier? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Secondly, it appears that we cyclists are a growing risk to another vulnerable road user group – pedestrians. According to a piece in, “The Conversation” British government data over a period of 9 years to 2012 show cyclists killed 23 pedestrians and seriously injured a further 585.
I find this latter figure extraordinary, but both cycle and pedestrian casualties point to the same problem. In Britain, in contrast to, say The Netherlands, pedestrians, cyclists, cars and heavy vehicles have to use the same congested and contested routes. Too often this contest and congestion pits them against each other.
However, a third story suggests separation itself may be a mixed blessing. An evaluation of the proposed London SkyCycle Route begs the question: will separate but not equal prove again to be a mask for apartheid, segregation and institutional disadvantage for cyclists? Is the point to put us out of harm’s way, or out of the car drivers’ way?
I suggest that against the car, we cyclists and pedestrians ought to make common cause.
Posted in Opinion
We were away mid-week visiting Edinburgh, combining work with pleasure. It’s a great city at any time of year. We came back to find this letter waiting for us: it put a big smile on my face:
An inspirational journey
Michelle is a young American I got to hear of via WordPress. As a supporter of the Bike and Build Charity she will be riding across the United States to help create social housing in the states she passes through. I had not heard of Bike and Build and I think it is just the greatest of causes – truly inspiring on many levels. You can visit Michelle’s blog and read more of her story in her own words. I am sure you will leave impressed – as did I. You might even consider leaving a wee donation to help her in her fund-raising. We oldies need to cherish the enthusiasms and idealism of the young: sooner or later the world is going to need them.
Following my last post this came my way. I am tempted to say (i) from the sublime to the …; and (ii) I really do have to get out more… It is a little catchy, however, and sounds like a lot of fun.
Posted in Smiles!
Tagged Smiles!, videos
I warn you – let this into your head and you may never get it out! My thanks to Oregon Expat for putting me onto this via his excellent WordPress blog. It brightened up an otherwise wet and windy day here in Northern Scotland.
Pick up your own copy from iTunes. Enjoy?