Friday, 25 November 2011


The last time I met Andy, it was cycling with him though Norway, Sweden and into Denmark.  Since then, he has cycled across the mountains of Wales and on a 2,600 mile ride to the Black Sea.  He arrived in Plymouth last Wednesday on a Bike Friday.  It looks like a city bike but he says it has 30 gears, carries panniers and ideal for touring with day rides of 50 miles or more.

We left Plymouth's stunning waterfront by water taxi and I took him on a 50 mile journey through the beautiful South Hams countryside.  On Boxing Day, Bike Friday leaves the UK with Andy for 6 weeks in Thailand.  If he does a blog, I shall be his first follower.

Four days previously, I met my friend Jaana who also cycled 500 miles with me through Norway as well as Cuba on another trip.  We explored the lanes of Berkshire, Wiltshire and Somerset.

The weather was pleasantly warm for the time of year.  We wandered alongside the Kennet and Avon Canal, then onto quiet lanes, back to the canal, through tiny villages and small towns.  We started at Reading and pedalled onto Bradford on Avon.  Just before Bath, we turned left to cycle to Wells and Taunton.

We were amazed at the number of canal boats.  I especially liked those of residents where the roofs were covered in logs and bikes were strapped onto the sterns.  This was definately eco-living. 

I cycled 187 miles this week and First Great Western Trains secured 3 return tickets for ourselves and our bikes.

Thursday, 3 November 2011


Autumn can be a great time to be out on the bike but keeping motivated in Winter is more of a challenge.  It takes about 3 days at Xmas for me to put on 5kg and 6 weeks to lose it again!  I find January especially hard to keep motivated.

So what's new?

Autumn has brought some big rains.  Our green lanes in Devon often fill up because the drains are blocked with leaves.  I was caught out 3 years ago trying and failing to cycle this lane!  No, it is not a river.

I have lots of ideas for what's left of this year and 2012.  I shall shortly try a cycle route new to me from Reading to Taunton alongside the R. Kennett and through Wiltshire.  I am hoping for great scenery, wildlife and pubs with roaring log fires.

The avocets are coming!  These stunningly beautiful birds overwinter in South Devon and can be seen by bike.  Last winter, my friend, Libby and I pedalled alongside the River Exe to discover not just the avocets, but a kingfisher as well.  Another place is beside the River Tamar at Weir Quay, easy to cycle to from Bere Ferrers train station.  A great place to see wading birds in winter on a bike is the Tarka Trail in North Devon.  These are all accessible by families with young children.

I have just received an invitation to join a 127 one day charity ride through Snowdonia next July.  Ouch, that sound's fierce.  My favourite charity is Devon Wildlife Trust and I want to ride it.  Do I have any sponsors?

And, finally, why not follow me on twitter where I shall be giving my fun ideas for the winter.