Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Looking for the next adventure

While planning a wishful ride form Hampshire to Morocco later this year I started doing a bit more looking around at some of the other adventurers out there. And there are allot. A while back I read Moods of Future Joy and Thunder & Sunshine around this time last year, whilst loafing on a sofa in a Wellington windy winter having just recovered myself and my bike from the bike/car interface in February. It really is an inspirational read. I was very taken indeed by it when I first read it, and sent the author an email to say thank you, even though I really wanted the adventure to be my own. His website is also a good source of information on other tourers and intrepid pedalling adventurers.

I also had a cursory look at the website of a friend of mine from Sydney this week: has chronicled some of his adventures in Tibet, Australia and other places. Last time we caught up in January to go riding in Ourimbah an hour or so north of Sydney Dave was planning the Gulf to Gulf ride straight up through the middle of Australia. Nutter, I must admit I was slightly dubious as to weather they’d make it fully, that’s some pretty harsh terrain. But I was happy to see that they did, and all in the name of a good cause.

Looking around at these and other adventurers, mostly doing it for one cause or another I have to try and plan an angle for myself. Though not necessarily hoping to go off on a round the world trip for years on end, I defiantly have a few more tours in me, but finding a way to do this, and somehow link it into some sort of career is the next step in my career planning. Of course that all depend on what job I get, but here’s to hoping that one way or another it will enable me to ride around foreign lands, either as part of the job, or just facilitate me having enough spare time to do that on the side. And to be able to do it in the name of a good cause would be the ultimate uturistic goal.

A Moroccan ride is a target. But I have to look at ways that it can benefit others and be marketable, rather than just a few mates going on what could be referred to as an excessively long bike ride. It would be much nicer to have a bit of purpose as well. Though I find it hard trying to raise sponsorship from others when everyone knows I just like riding my bike so much.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

New Zealand by Bike

This time 2 years ago I was nearing the end of my trans New Zealand bike ride. There was no specific mission or challenge other than I was in Auckland and wanted to leave, I liked the sound of Wanaka for winter and fancied seeing some of the country inbetween. I had a bike and panniers and tent (not that the tent came out once on this trip) and the inclination to ride in late Autumn to get around as much as possible.

Now I'd worked intensly hard in Auckland for a few months, holding down a day job in a factory that essentially makes rubbish, working in an Irish bar which i didn't enjoy much except for my collegues and some of the more interesting clientelle, and also worked various hospitality jobs on the weekends which had it's ups and downs, all the while living in a 19 bed dorm of a no better than below average backpackers.

In my own way i felt that i worked so hard that I tended to over reward myself, gorging on steaks and bacon and muffins and milkshakes all through the counntry. I met some astoundingly cool people, and a few brainless backpackers. Rode up mountains and along rivers. Wathced the sun rise and set many times. I sang loudly in the wilderness and laughed to myself more than just a little.

I passed many places and turn offs that i said I'd come back to in future, to re visit or explore anew. Some of these I did, but many I didn't, or at least, I haven't yet. But that's budgets for you, and in my case, I have crippilingly expensive tastes, in some things at least, but i lived a fine life on the road.

New Zealand is a fantastic place for touring my resources when i started off weren't much more than the Lonley Planet guide to Cycling New Zealand, which though a good motivator before and indicatior of some gradients on he road, was too specific in it's routes and places. Apart from that I picked up free local maps in infomation centres and asked around locally about the best route for the day or week, and where the best breakfast, luch or dinner was there or down the road.

Half way through the South Island i picked up a copy of peddalers paradise which i found to be a very useful book indeed for planning routes for the end of this trip and subsequent trips. It just lays out the facts of what roads go where, and what's along those roads in terms of terrain, getting supplies, food, camping, lodgings and anything else that may be relevant to a touring cyclist.

As many people will testify NZ can truly be a Pedalers Paradise, it is peaceful on the roads, and towns are generally just the right distance away form each other to set achievable targets depending on fitness and itinerary.

I've put together the details of my journey in Google Maps this week, and it's been fun re living my adventure. Thinking about the next again. the maps are in 4 stages as below. Still need a bit of refining, as does the full account of my ride, but any comments or feedback are appreciated, even if it is just to point out appaling spelling or grammar :o)


Section 1: Auckland to Taupo

View My New Zealand Adventure in a larger map

Section 2: Central North Island to Tasman / West Coast of South Island

View My New Zealand Adventure in a larger map

Section 3: South Island West Coast

View My New Zealand Adventure in a larger map

Section 4: Glaciers to Queenstown

View My New Zealand Adventure in a larger map

Monday, 11 May 2009

Introduction and Intentions

Having returned recently to the UK in "the worst financial meltdown in blah..." my search for employment has thus far been fruitless. Having had a somewhat varied, and you may say, unfocussed employment history, I have in the last year taken steps to at least decide which direction I want to go into in the future.

I have always loved cycling and feel strongly that increasing its popularity and accessibility would be of great benefit to us all. I have no intention of writing endless ranting blogs to no-one about the idiocy of some polices, though I’m sure that this will occur.

My main objective is to keep a track of cycling news, developments and policies, as well as logging some of my rides and bookmarking other interesting cycling resources online. The aim of this is to educate myself, and hopefully others, and ultimately be able to use this blog as a sort of resume so that i can find a worth paying occupation involved in what I love.

To start off some news stories that caught my eye relating to cycling in the last week.

One of the 'biggest' was that of David Cameron, leader of the opposition having his bike stolen, again. But what inspired a bit of a rant in it was a comment piece in the Observer on Sunday, indicating that he isn't a 'true rider' as he doesn't wear lycra and preen over every gramme of weight on the bike. Ideally this is exactly the kind of attitude that needs to be avoided. Not tribes, but that cycling is open to all.

Other counter productive news that the post office are intending to replace bikes with vans. Talk about back pedalling. Not only increasing carbon emissions, but the initial outlay is going to be huge as well as the old erosion of social cohesion from communities no longer having a dedicated postman for their area.

A more positive article was citing a study that indicates that more cyclists mean less incidents. Kind of obvious really. But something to aim for.

Another little link i just came across is Dave Gormans upcoming tour by bike. Good stuff.

So this is what i'm aiming to keep a track of here. We'll see how it evolves.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Sunny Springtime Saturday 50 Miler

A very plesent ride through rural Hampshire. Cruisy country roads, no major hills and a few nice country pubs on the way.

View Winchester Ride in a larger map