About

Us on hot day in Portugal
Us on hot day in Portugal

Welcome!  You have reached the cycle touring pages of Norman and Jacqui Coutts.  We are a couple who started cycling 6 years ago after a career of motorbiking.

We started these pages as we began planning for a ‘serious’ bike trip following our retirement.  As this suggests we are not in the first flush of our cycling careers.  These pages are designed to capture some of the better resources and ideas we came across as we planned our trip and researched cycle touring on the web and in published accounts.  We plan to make a tour in Europe in September/October one year travelling south from Aberdeen to the Algarve in Portugal.

So we want to follow no strictly set route for a 6 week tour starting in Aberdeen and ending up in Algoz, Algarve, Portugal. We are committed to:

– 4 to 6 weeks cycling (in Europe) for a start
– 50 miles per day for 5 days a week; 250MPW; 1000MPM
– taking only what we need, not what we might like
– going tentless – we deserve a little luxury at our age
– using mostly paved cycleways and minor roads
– GPS navigation – with Garmin Edge 800 and iPad
– Thorn Raven Sports Tour bikes
– learning as much language(s) as we can
– self-help mechanics where possible
– travelling mindfully, ‘ in the moment’.

This is Jacqui on a hot afternoon this spring in Portugal en route from Castro Verde to Algoz in the Algarve.  We completed 60 plus miles that day  (April 2011) – for only the second time.

Update April 2012: We suffered a big setback on our recent trip to Portugal.  On March 18 Jacqui came off her bike on the cycleway between Vila Real and Monte Gordo, breaking her shoulder into three pieces.  After repatriation by our travel insurance company Jacqui had an operation on her shoulder to insert a steel plate and pin and is now in recovery mode.  We expect it will be 2 or 3 months before she can cycle again and so our September trip is less certain to happen than we would hope.  To add insult to injury, our bikes were stolen before we could return to collect them from the roadside.

Jacqui meets the Bombeiros March 18 2012

This is me, out for an afternoon trip on a loop from Algoz to Paderne and return.  For the last number of years we have spent a couple of weeks in Spring and October cycling in Portugal.

Our bikes are a couple of Thorn Raven Sports Tour, a Globe Vienna 4 and a Sirrus Pro and our left-in-Portugal bikes, an ancient Trek and a sit up and beg Specialized (UPDATE: now no more, see above update).  The Thorn Raven Sports Tours are something very special and we are so pleased we bought them – seen here by Loch Venachar beyond Aberfoyle in the Trossachs.

Update August 2012: We are just back from a short tour along Hadrian’s Wall from Newcastle to Carlisle.  Great to have Jacqui back on her bike as she recovers from her shoulder injury.  Follow the Hardian’s Wall tag to the right of this screen to see the details.

Update November 2012: We completed our tour from Paris to the Algarve over 29 cycling and 3 rest days, covering a total of 2246km.  You can check out our route and stories of the trip via the Algoz Bound tag to the right of this screen.

 

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Norman , I am so glad I found your blog. I too took to cycling after retirement . I look forward to all the interesting info on cycling and planning cycling tour that you are posting here

    1. Thanks, Hari. Nice to hear from you. Yes, cycling is a great stress-buster and emotional-laxative I find. I am enjoying my visits to your site very much and look forward to more.

  2. Hi Norman,
    Just come across your site whilst sitting in a AirB&B in Kostroma Russia. (Time for a bit of maintenance) Jenny and I are cycling the Golden Ring north east of Moscow before taking the Trans Mongolian to Beijing. Not yet retired, we are taking a year out – hence Gaponabike FB. We are from Glasgow, well Jenny is actually from Elgin and I am a bit mixed up. We have Thorn Ravens and like you have been touring for a number of years. Great Web site and perhaps our paths will cross one day.

    Neil

    1. Thanks for dropping by, Neil and all the best to you and Jenny. Your trip sounds just fantastic – the stuff of dreams. Does your message mean you are on FaceBook? I’ll go looking and hope to be able to follow your adventure there. Or is there a blog perhaps? Please let me know. So with every best wish, Norman

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