Journey’s End on The Algarve

After 675 pretty challenging kilometres on the bikes and almost as many by hire car, we are finally at journey’s end and a very pleasant finish it was too with a very enjoyable lunch with Lesley and Howard.  It was great to see the two of them again and get a wee insight into their fascinating lives – with bikes and green living at the heart of them.

A hill too far…

We headed from Lorca to Velez Blanco today.  We knew we were in for a few category hills ending with a stiff one over the final 10 K rising to over 1000 metres, but we were not ready for the horrid blustery headwinds that made bike control difficult.  We made it, but not without some trauma.

A pleasure en route however was meeting Kevin, a true cycle-traveller. Kevin is from Ireland and was making his way to the coast to get away from the cold and snows of the hills – he camps each night.

We were reminded that we play at this cycle touring thing while some others have it as a life style. All the best to Kevin and his tribe.

David Bowie, cycling companion

David Bowie provided the accompaniment to my best ever cycling day. Jacqui and I were 11 days out from Paris, cycling towards the Pyrenees and Spain.

Heading South East Works!


We were a mixture of ecstatic and terrified. We knew we were going to complete the French leg with our arrival in St. Jean Pied de Port – plenty reason for us to celebrate: but we were painfully aware of the Pyrenees louring in the distance – and we were very unsure we could climb over them.

Then on that thrilling last day, a snatch of, “we could be heroes” came into my head.  I was not even sure it was a Bowie song. It stuck in my brain and repeated as a loop for all the miles after until we arrived. I confess I was even heard to sing it aloud on full volume: this mercifully is not something that I am given to doing often.  Put it down to the thrill of the moment and the power of Bowie’s anthem.

That night we raised a glass to our success. Tonight the toast will be, David Bowie – with a word of thanks included.  RIP.

Champagne Moment


Getabout in Aberdeen City and Shire

When finishing my run in the Duthie Park yesterday I spotted this lot and went in about to investigate.

Can't Start Too Young!
Can’t Start Too Young!

It turned out to be an introduction to cycling event organised by Getabout – A to B in Aberdeen City and Shire. I have to be honest, I had never come across Getabout before, but I am pleased to find them.

They had a range of goodies on offer, bike bells, mugs, maps, leaflets, pens, reflective strips and vests and were very keen to chat to existing or would-be cyclists.

Cycles of all sorts and sizes
Cycles of all sorts and sizes

It turns out they have a whole suite of Travel Tools to help us get around by sustainable transport in City and Shire  – mostly alternatives to owning and using cars.  Best of all to me was information on a new smart phone app for the Complete National Cycle Network – I’ll need to try this out and report back with a review, but in prospect its an excellent idea.

You can find their website via this link – Getabout Aberdeen and Shire

Inspiring Nicaragua tour video

I have had this video linked from my desktop for a good few weeks now. Caught in the worst of the winter weather as we are around here, its nice to remember that better and warmer days will come.

This is a very well put together video that nicely catches the routines, ups and downs of a day touring in Nicaragua – but to be honest it could be from a tour almost anywhere.  Ah the joys to come!

Thanks to Roberto Sordillo for the posting on YouTube.

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.

2014-12-14 at 12.28 2

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.

2014-12-14 at 12.28

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 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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