How do you start to plan a trip…? There’s always a flash moment, that spark that gets you thinking, it could be a picture you’ve seen, someone reminding you of a place you’ve always wanted to visit, a particular road you’ve heard tales from… Sometimes that spark can fizzle out pretty quick, other times it can rage! Whatever happens, there’s nothing quite like the excitement you get deep down in your gut when that idea hits, just keep the momentum going and before you know it, you’re touching down in some far off place, brimming to get on your bike and see what the road offers up.
I’m terribly easily distracted. Between sitting down to write this piece and actually typing the first words, I found myself tidying the living room, brushing one of my cats, going to the shop to buy coffee, watering my plants, looking at Facebook and Twitter and replying to all my emails, and all this before I’d even changed out of my pajamas.
I sometimes kid myself that by doing millions of things all at the same time I’m being super efficient, plowing through stuff on my to-do list at lightning speed. The reality is I’m flitting between so many things that I’m never really concentrating on one or truly immersing myself in anything at all; there are so many distractions when working at home that I’m all over the place yet never really anywhere.
Cycling is usually a break from all this faffing – it’s just me and my bike rolling through the countryside; a pure, simple, uncomplicated time to sooth the neural pathways. It’s a time to disconnect from life’s worries, untether from technology and just focus on the here and now, a time to notice the small things. Or at least it used to be.
l. to r. Paul, Aaron, Dean, and Tony. 4/6 of Team Brooks X Axletree.
I first learned of DK200 from Paul Errington who rode the event in 2012, one of the first foreigners to do so. Paul wrote about his experience on this blog and is now organzing his own UK gravel event in 2016, the Dirty Reiver, which will be held in Northumberland in April. More on that forthcoming.
Roughly three years ago when I announced my departure from London, people couldn’t have been more surprised. “But you’re so very London, with your fixed gear bike, your tattoos and your job in the media,” they exclaimed. “Just how will you survive without being able to buy pomegranates at 3am and extremely tiny lukewarm coffee for the best part of a fiver?”
Several months ago I wrote a piece for this blog describing my battle with training. I’ve always struggled to commit to a strict and structured regime, preferring to simply ride hard and fast and randomly challenge myself by sprinting for signs and pegging it up hills. In some ways, what I wind up doing on a bike is my own peculiar and haphazard version of training, only I prefer to just call it cycling.
The other day, I was idly window-shopping for secondhand bikes on the web. All of a sudden transported to a moment more than twenty years ago, on a dusty country road in the middle of Transylvania. A friend and I were cycle-camping around Romania and we’d stopped to greet the one and only other foreign cyclist we encountered on our entire trip. We began swapping stories about roads and campsites and soon learned that he was on a six month journey across the European continent, from Portugal to Istanbul. I was impressed but what made an even greater impression was his bike.
This summer sees the launch of a new festival aimed at cycle travellers. Part of the Adventure Awards event, it will offer talks, workshops, and a chance to be inspired by other travellers. The Inaugural European Bicycle Adventure Meeting, also known as BAM, takes place 31st July through to 1st August in Livigno, Italy. We caught up with the organiser Andrea Benesso to find out more.
Saturday 11th July 2015 was the day that the Red Hook Crit paid its first visit to London. The race series has built up quite a following over the years and it is with pride that we had several Brooks sponsored riders taking part.