The blog

#29: roads and beacons


I’m back in the UK. This may come as a surprise to some of you. A friend told me before I set off, “don’t go away and find yourself, it’s wanky”. Sound advice. And with it in mind, I thought about roads and beacons while riding. Parts of our ride were defined by highways – […]

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Fish and chips of human kindness

13/9/2017 | #

A rigmarole-ridden day, topped off with Rick and Morty & a fish and chip supper in a private games and sauna room. The rigmarole: Kristian left his wallet with our passports in the Dancing Moose Diner, and didn’t realise until 10 miles down the road. A full kit inspection confirmed it was left behind and […]

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Release the hounds

7/9/2017 | #

“Go go go go go go go!” Never a good thing to hear while you’re riding, less so when you recently passed a sign saying “YES, this dog bites!“. My brain immediately made the connection between Alex’s warning and the sign, but my eyes wanted to see for themselves. So I turned around to see […]

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3/9/2017 | #

We get asked questions on the theme of “what’s been the best bit?” quite often. Screening 79 days for standout moments on demand creates a lot of pressure, and usually draws a mental blank followed by a lacklustre “it’s all been amazing!”. I thought about it in my tent one night, and all the best […]

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Maritime time

2/9/2017 | #

The St Lawrence river bisects the north and south parts of Quebec, and the Laurentide Mountains were a wavy blue silhouette, comfortably on the other side to where we were riding. But the horizon on our side began to bulge ominously as we approached the Appalachians. At first occasional glimpses of foothills, then slow climbs […]

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28/8/2017 | #

“I’ll just grab some hummus”, said Alex as he walked into the store. “The rich man’s peanut butter and jam”, Kristian and I decided wittily. A self-proclaimed Epicurean, Alex’s tastes become apparent as he enjoys fruits de mer with olives and cheese for dinner, while we eat plain boiled rice and fried eggs. Our dinner […]

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Roadside Jesus

26/8/2017 | #

“Find Jesus, then take the second right”. These were the barmaid’s directions to a free beach-side camp spot. When so much of the route is long stretches on turn-free roads, directions become a lot more succinct. The evening was soggy, with a downpour outside where our bikes and currently unfound campsite were, but not inside […]

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All the half-ways gone

21/8/2017 | #

There was a weird sense of finality riding into Quebec City. When Alex and I toured in 2013, it was the end of our ride. Despite having 1300 miles left to ride, some part of my brain feels the same this time. After arriving at the ferry terminal, purchasing our tickets and reminiscing on the […]

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Anatomy of a rest day

19/8/2017 | #

On this blog I want to convey the parts of cycle touring that you can’t find on Google. Hence why I rarely write about the constant beautiful landscapes, and why today’s post is about “rest” days: the ¬†misleadingly named days when tasks and chores and errands that accumulate on the road must be done in […]

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Over the Alps in a rickshaw:
a chat with Bill Phelps

18/8/2017 | #

(I wrote this in May 2015 while I was writing for the Ride25 blog. I’ve resisted strong urges to tweak and change various bits of my old writing, for the sake of posterity.) Bill welcomes me into his home and I add my bike to the bunch already in the hall, one of which is […]

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Incompetence Patrol

16/8/2017 | #

“Just one more episode of Peep Show, then we’re off”. It was noon on our first day riding after four rest days. We were tempting mishap and testing our theory that things only go wrong when we leave early (which two puncture-fests in three days, both after 7am starts, prompted). We were half-packed, and decided […]

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14/8/2017 | #

As we arrived at Alex’s front door the odometer read 2998.34 miles since Vancouver, so close to the fortuitous, cinematic moment I’d imagined where Alex’s door would be mile number 3000. After the puncture-ridden afternoon and lost-in-the-suburbs evening we’d had making our way to Montreal, we didn’t feel like fiddling the numbers and taking a […]

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