Category Archives: bicycle

Transcontinental: Into the Alps

Conscious now of my army of spectators, I cycled on towards Sisteron, remembering ruefully that riding with a tracker comes with as many disadvantages as it does advantages. During last winter’s journey through Alaska and Canada my father had (quite predictably) become obsessed with the hourly updates from my YB tracker, and even started a spreadsheet, which […]

Leave a Comment

Transcontinental: Joining the dots

I lingered at the top of Ventoux for half an hour or so, savouring the glow and the malt loaf and enjoying the company of friends after so long on the road on my own. Every now and then a gust of wind would shake the van, and we’d all remember – and marvel – […]

Leave a Comment

Transcontinental: Night on bald mountain

Ventoux needs little introduction, but in case you’re one of the few non-cyclists who read this blog, you should know that it’s one of the most iconic climbs of European cycling, notorious for claiming the life of British Tour de France rider Tom Simpson in 1967 (though alcohol and amphetamines also played a part); feared for its unrelenting gradient and […]

Leave a Comment

Transcontinental: On the right track

For the first twelve hours of the ride (race, it’s a race, Chappell), I barely stopped smiling. Because, after all, cycling along quiet roads through the cool night air, with no human company beyond some occasional twinkling red lights ahead of me, is one of the things I love most in the world. Excellent photograph by Schollaert Xavier […]

Leave a Comment

A brief update

You’re probably wondering how it went, aren’t you? Unless you were following my Twitter account, in which case you’ll know that I pulled out on Day 8, after ending up in hospital in Ljubljana with mysterious chest pains. They turned out to be nothing fatal, and although I didn’t end up finishing the race, what I […]

Leave a Comment

Over-reaching myself

Do you ever realise you’ve become a very different person? And perhaps that you’d been this sort of person for quite a while, and everyone else was fully aware of it, and you were the last to know, as ever? No one was surprised that I entered the Transcontinental Race. No one except me. Turns out […]

Leave a Comment

On chasing men

Don’t ever get the impression I’ve got it all sorted. Just when you (I) think you’ve (I’ve) got life figured out, and it’s all plain sailing from here, you either discover something completely new that you have to get your head round, or simply realise that you’re not the master you thought you were. Both […]

Leave a Comment

The kit list to end all kit lists

Here’s a treat for all you gear nerds. A few weeks ago I found myself with a spare morning (or at least, the disinclination to fill it with anything more useful), and decided to spend it clearing out my panniers, going through all my stuff, tidying, itemizing, editing and repacking it all. I was staying […]

Leave a Comment

A cold snap

You won’t mind if I’m not strictly chronological about this, will you, dear readers? The problem is, the rhythms of cycle touring are such that one generally has a lot more to report than one has the time, energy or internet access to record. So I’ve fallen a long way behind with all the major […]

Leave a Comment

Of motels and chance encounters

I ended up staying in a motel when I got to Glennallen, for reasons I won’t go into here (mainly because I’ve vowed to avoid that old cycle touring cliche and keep bodily functions  to a minimum in my blog, though I promise to tell you if we ever meet in person), and while it […]

Leave a Comment