That I have a Brooks saddle on my touring bicycle is scarcely worth mentioning. Since the company was taken over and rejuvenated by the current Italian owners in the early 2000s, Brooks’ saddles have been restored as go-to for both touring and commuter cyclists.
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?”
‘The Riddle of the Sands’ is one of those classic old adventure books that your dad (or grandad!) probably thrust upon you at an early age, but which you haven’t much thought about since. It tends to sit on the shelf alongside books like ‘The 39 Steps’, ‘King Solomon’s Mines’ and ‘Treasure Island’.
The day started humbly – on a flat cycle path between a lagoon and the sea, with Bastia-Poretta airport as the backdrop. There was no sense then of the grandeur and the glory that awaited us. There was not even a hint of the beauty of Corsica – a level of pulchritude that I have seldom experienced in a single day on a bicycle. Nor, in the cool air of the young day was there any suggestion of the cauldron of heat we would encounter in the canyons ahead.
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.
Long before the festivals of Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, Ramadan or Thanksgiving came along human kind measured its progress through the year by observing the sun and the stars. The solstices are the pair of celestial bookends that mark the longest day of summer and the deepest depths of winter. Unlike religious and cultural festivals, which are ultimately products of the human imagination, the solstices are firmly rooted in the reality of our cosmic situation. Sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves that we live on a spherical rock hurtling around a gigantic nuclear explosion, spinning as it goes.