Category Archives: on the road

Transcontinentally yours

My bags are packed. The new tyres are sitting proudly on the new rims. The route’s researched and planned. The jersey I’ll be wearing for two whole weeks is lying on a chair in my bedroom, as yet fragrant and unstained. The contingencies are written, the train, plane, ferry and youth hostel booked, and the […]

Leave a Comment

The North Coast Seven

The morning after we completed the North Coast 500, six of the seven riders sat around the kitchen table, drinking coffee, eating porridge, and talking through all the different highlights and low points of the weekend we’d just survived. As the conversation rolled along, and we pieced the ride together, reminding each other of conversations […]

Leave a Comment

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: Until it hurts

Have to pee, holding it as long as possible. Last two toilet breaks had me in tears. Oh the terrible burning of saddle sores. #TCR2015 It appeared Juliana, now a long way ahead of me, was having a tough time of it. During my sporadic Macdonalds breaks (probably a lot less sporadic than hers) I […]

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

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

How to host a cyclist

I quite often get to the end of a ride and say to myself ‘that’s probably the toughest day I’ve ever had on the bike!’, and then remember all the other times I’ve said that, and briefly try to figure out which day was actually the toughest, and then decide that I don’t really need to […]

Leave a Comment