Category Archives: People

Andrew Sykes – Chapeau!

2014-12-14 at 12.29I must have been following Andrew Sykes’ cycling adventures for about 5 years now I guess. I have always found much to admire, but his new plans and schemes deserve a special mention.

I first became aware of Andrew through his excellent Cycling Europe website. This was always an entertaining site, but it has been very special to see it grow into such a successful, useful and much visited touring resource.

Next came his first book, Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie. This was both a great read and a super example of making a self-publishing success through the use of social media. I enjoyed seeing both achieve success.

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His second book followed, Along the Med on a Bike Called Reggie and with the two titles came a growing reputation for other media work and personal appearances. You could see Andrew developing another persona and presence in the world of cycle touring and this too seemed a well deserved success.

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So perhaps it was not altogether surprising when he announced a change of life-direction and his decision to leave his job as a language teacher and set about widening his horizons. He is now 5 working days away from this life-changer. New studies and more ambitious cycle trips lie ahead – and no doubt new publications.

I don’t know Andrew personally, but it has been a pleasure and a privilege to follow his personal and cycling adventures over the last few years, and I did not want to leave his new starts unremarked. All the best Andrew and good luck for the future.  You have been an inspiration on many fronts and deserve all your successes. Chapeau!

4000 miles takes more than inspiration…

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

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.

The bicycle as never heard before… Bespoken by Johnny Random

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?

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New cycling book does battle for the climate…

Cycling books seem to come thicker and faster with each passing year. I imagine e-publishing has made self-publishing so much simpler: but e-books are a mixed bag in my experience. So, I was very pleased to come across, “The Bicycle Diaries: my 21000 mile ride for the climate by David Kroodsma – it sounds very promising.

David is an environmental activist, climate scientist, journalist and cycle enthusiast. His book tells the tale of a bike ride he made from California to the southern-most tip of South America.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Latin America and the Caribbean (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not only does the book promise to detail his route, adventures, challenges and engagement with the people he meets (David speaks Spanish and I am sure this added much to the richness of these meetings), but also he uses the cycling adventure to explore and illustrate people’s views and concerns about climate travel and its effects.  This added element promises to lift the book well above most ordinary travel diaries.

David has a website at rideforclimate.com and more importantly, a Kickstarter Page (with an excellent video trailer for his book) where you can pre-order a copy while helping to fund the project.

The book is billed to appear in February 2014.

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Inspirational Mountain Biking Video

We have thought about taking up trail or mountain biking a few times, especially over the winter months, but somehow it has never happened. One big dampener was coming across a mountain biker with a horribly dislocated knee on a forest walk one day. It was many years ago now, but the image of that knee still haunts me. Perhaps it’s time to get over this, however.

If ever I do, this video from Filme von Draussen will surely prove to have been one catalyst: it’s a true inspiration and beautifully shot and edited.  Well worth a watch and great to see people at their best, even if you are not one for the mountains.  Maybe I’ll make up a set of cycling resolutions for the coming year – now there’s a thought!

The universe is conspiring to help us : Kevin Kelly’s take

Kevin Kelly is a very interesting man with a very interesting back story.  He was a founder of Wired Magazine and cycle toured in the States as a young man.  I first came across him when he published a book of haiku drawn from his trip.  Later he travelled widely in the far east, picking up some arresting ideas that counter many of our western perspectives.

In this essay he develops his theory with reference to cycle touring and how we can help ourselves by accommodating other’s predisposition to help us – if we first cultivate the correct approach and attitude.

If you can, listen before you read.  He has a great voice for story telling.

Stephen Bilenky’s bike building is truly inspirational

Apparently Stephen Bilensky has been building bikes for over 30 years. He certainly builds beautiful bikes.  Just look at this:

Art and craft combine beautifully

Art and craft combine beautifully

But there is more to these bikes than skin deep beauty. Bilensky starts from a belief that every bike is a worthy soul and nothing ought to be thrown away if it might one day be restored or re-purposed. He offers a challenge to the current view that bikes are mass market consumer products with built in obsolescence. Watching this wonderful video interview brought me up short and gave me lots to think about.