Category Archives: Cycling

Crossing Europe / Along The Med… On An iPad / iPhone!

Don’t forget that both Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie and Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie are available on Apple iTunes / iBooks. ‘Along The Med…’ has just received three five-star reviews in as many days!Screen Shot 2014-12-20 at 13.43.05

Counting Down… The Pictures Behind The Pictures

20 – A road sign in Caversham that I cycle past every morning on my commute to work

19 – The electronic dial on my cooker that tells the time (erroneously as I didn’t turn it back when the clocks changed in October)

18 – The greetings card section of my weekly supermarket of choice – Marks & Spencer in Broad Street, Reading

17 – A sign in a bus stop along the Kings Road in Reading (bus route 17 is the spine of Reading joining in the eastern suburbs to those of the west – if I take a bus, it’s invariably the number 17)

16 – The sign outside Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames (an ’11 – 16 secondary’) where I worked until this countdown reached zero…

15 – The speed limit sign at Gillotts School painted onto the road just after the rickety wooden gate

14 – The chart on the back of my classroom door of the numbers in French from 1 to 99

13 – The day after George Osbourne’s autumn statement on government finances the papers – in this case The Guardian in Picnic Cafe, Reading – were full of reports, especially page 13

12 – My daily supermarket of choice, Sainsbury’s (also in Broad Street, Reading) supplied me with number 12 courtesy of the music chart

11 – I finally found an 11 on a lamp post during my cycle commute very close to the Berkshire-Oxfordshire border

10 – A house next to Forbury Gardens in Reading which has echoes of 10 Downing Street (I once saw some Japanese tourists taking their picture in front of the door)

9 – The symbol for Eurovelo 9 on the back of my Eurovelo overview map in my flat

8 – Outside my modern flat is an old gas bridge dating from 1880

7 – Picnic Cafe again in Reading (I visit for a coffee most mornings en route to work) where the clock had conveniently struck 7:18am

6 – Walking back to my flat alongside the Kennet & Avon Canal I found another lamp post with a 6

5 – The third appearance of Picnic Cafe whose address gave me an opportunity of including the number 5 in word format

4 – National Cycle Routes 4 & 5 cross in Reading. This sign is on the western side of the Oracle Shopping complex in central Reading

3 – I live on floor 3 at The Meridian in Reading (although I rarely use the lift when not using my bike which fits perfectly inside the lift)

2 – The street parking on Kenavon Drive which has recently been restricted by Reading Borough Council, the 2 referring to the minimum number of hours before you can return

1 – My classroom in Reading which for eight years has been my professional home, the French numbers strung from the ceiling have been there for perhaps five of those years

Moving On, Traveling Light…

In May 2013 I posted this short piece about a book called “Traveling Light or Cycling Europe on Fifty Cents a Day”. You may want to read what I wrote at the time before continuing to read this. Done it? Good…
Today is my final day of work at Gillotts School in Henley-on-Thames before I head off to Spain to learn the language and then cycle north in the direction of Norway. But back to Gillotts. I’m a teacher of French and my colleagues in the modern languages department are an imaginative bunch. Indeed most language teachers are, I think, more imaginative than your average person because they have to be to do their job well. When I left my previous teaching job I was given a Tshirt as a leaving present. In itself not particularly imaginative until you looked on the back. The school initials of each teacher in the department had been listed and next to each was an inventive expression. I seem to remember that ‘NEL’ for example was ‘nice eccentric lady’ (although I may be making that up, not sure). Anyway, my own school initials were ‘ASY’. One of my witty colleagues had come up with ‘anti-social yob’. It still makes me smile. So to yesterday. My department gathered and I was presented with a wrapped package. I could tell it was a book. An English-Spanish dictionary? A guide book to Spain? I removed the paper only to find a second layer, this time of tissue paper. Very intriguing… Would a dictionary be wrapped this way? Unlikely. I carefully removed this second wrapping to reveal an old, red book. Slightly tatty. Interesting… I looked at my colleagues with no doubt a slightly bemused expression on my face. I opened the book and read the title: ‘Traveling Light or Cycling Europe in Fifty Cents a Day’. Now that’s an imaginative parting gift. Thank-you!

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Proviz ‘Out Of The Dark': Clever Interactive Advert

Clearly this is an advert for high visibility cycling gear, but it is an effective one. Watch the YouTube video below then go interactive at OutOfTheDark.tv.

For each jacket the company sell incidentally (presumably through the interactive website) they will donate £5 to RoSPA.

From the press release:

Proviz co-Founder Anthony Langly-Smith comments ‘Most cyclists understand the importance of being seen when cycling at night, but many cyclists are riding with little or no reflective material. The video highlights the Proviz REFLECT360 cycling jacket, which is made exclusively from reflective material and has been in high demand this winter. We hope viewers will play around with the video and share it with friends and family so that as many cyclists as possible are aware of the safety benefits of being seen at night.’

Andrew Sykes – Chapeau!

Andrew:

I am humbled by this post written by Norman on his own site ‘Pedalling on Regardless’. Thanks Norman, your comments are very much appreciated.

Originally posted on Pedalling on Regardless:

2014-12-14 at 12.29I must have been following Andrew Sykes’ cycling adventures for about 5 years now I guess. I have always found much to admire, but his new plans and schemes deserve a special mention.

I first became aware of Andrew through his excellent Cycling Europe website. This was always an entertaining site, but it has been very special to see it grow into such a successful, useful and much visited touring resource.

Next came his first book, Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie. This was both a great read and a super example of making a self-publishing success through the use of social media. I enjoyed seeing both achieve success.

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His second book followed, Along the Med on a Bike Called Reggie and with the two titles came a growing reputation for other media work and personal appearances. You could see Andrew developing another persona and presence in the world…

View original 140 more words

A Commute With A View

However eager I am to move on from my current job at the end of next week for pastures new, I shall miss the sunrises over the countryside of South Oxfordshire which can be truly spectacular. Of course my view is enhanced somewhat by travelling on two rather than four wheels…

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Cycling In Denmark

I have arrived at country number three – in a reverse sense – after previously writing about Cycling In Norway and Cycling In Sweden. Denmark will, of course, be country number five after Spain, France, Belgium and Germany but in my quest not to neglect the latter part of the Eurovelo 1/3 cycle across Europe next summer I am purposefully starting at the end and working backwards. These short posts (despite their rather grand titles) are not intended to be a detailed run down of everything that needs to be known about cycling in each of the countries that I will be visiting. They are just a few thoughts as to my own journey through the countries following initial research. If they prompt others to delve deeper, that’s no bad thing. The comments received by others incidentally have been excellent and much appreciated. Have a read of Patrick Stevens’ thoughts on cycling in Sweden for example. Very useful indeed! Thank-you Patrick. You’ll notice by the way that I am copying what I write here onto the Eurovelo 1/3 (2015) section of the site and that is where Patrick made his comments, not on the post below. Wherever you choose to make them, your contributions are gladly received. Right, on with Denmark!

As the Rough Guide to Denmark is not currently available as an eBook (and won’t be until 2017 according to the publishers), I have instead downloaded a copy of the Lonely Planet Guide to Denmark. I’ve been a long-term fan of the Rough Guides (and still am) but I have to say from a cycling perspective, the Lonely Planet guide does score well when it comes to the number of mentions for the word ‘cycling’. 83 of them in their Denmark guide as opposed to just 11 in the Rough Guide to Sweden and 25 in the Rough Guide to Norway. This could, however, also be influenced by the fact that Denmark competes with The Netherlands when it comes to reaching cycling Nirvana. Indeed the Lonely Planet guide lists cycling in its number three position of ‘Top Experiences‘;

985a4307a5dea918e80877ad06733ea8“Is Denmark the best nation for bicycle touring in the world? Probably, thanks to its extensive network of cycle routes [of which more in a moment], terrain that is either flat or merely undulating, and a culture strongly committed to two wheels… The cities are a breeze to pedal around… Nearly 40% of Copenhagen commuters travel by cycle – it’s easy to follow their lead.”

My own arrival in Denmark will be from the direction of Hamburg along the Eurovelo 3. It crosses the border just to the north of a town called Flensburg and then continues north through Jutland (the main peninsula which makes up most of the territory of Denmark). However, I have already made the decision to abandon the Eurovelo 3 at this point and follow the route of the Eurovelo 10 for a while. This is the Baltic Sea Route and it connects with Copenhagen. There was no way I was going to visit Denmark without taking in a trip to its bicycle Mecca of a capital city. Such is the complexity of the Eurovelo routes in this corner of Europe that it would seem useful to consult a map. So, here is a useful map:IMG_0346

More exciting than this web of two-wheeled wonder is the following, admittedly much simpler map from the Eurovelo 10 section from the official Eurovelo website:imageMap

You don’t get many of those green ‘realised’ sections of route across the network of Eurovelo routes but when you do, it’s worth looking out for them. This is, in effect, my route through Denmark It involves a fair bit of island hopping by the looks of it and I guess there will be at least two ferries to catch; the first from Fynshav to Bøjden on the island of Funen (the round one in the middle) and then a second from Spodsbjerg to Tars on the southern island of Lolland.

The Eurovelo 10 website has some useful information (and also confirms what I’ve just written):

“Be prepared for some island-hopping in Denmark. The Baltic route follows the Danish national route no. 8 from Jutland over the isles Als, Funen, Taasinge, Langeland, Lolland, Falster, Bogoe and Moen before reaching (the island) Zealand. Some of the isles are connected by bridges, other by bicycle-friendly ferries. On Zealand EV 10 joins Danish national route no. 9 and continues to Copenhagen. In total 360 km. From Copenhagen it is by train over the famous bridge to Malmo, Sweden.”

Isn’t it nice to have your suspicions confirmed by the people who should know! So, my mind turns to Danish national routes numbers 8 and 9 and back to the Lonely Planet guide.

“The big draw for touring cyclists are the 11 national routes which are in excellent condition, but there are also oodles of regional and local routes to get you pedalling…

Route 8 – Graenseruten (Border Route) – 360km (95% sealed)

Also known as the South Sea Route, this trail sweeps across southern Denmark and requires a couple of island hops [OK! We know that already!]. It begins in Rudbøl, traverses Jutland to Als [I would join half-way along this stretch of the route], crosses to southern Funen, Langeland, Lolland, Falster and ends at Møns Klint. See also www.grenzroute.com.”

Alas that link covers only the initial stretch of the route that I won’t be using. It looks like Møns Klint is the Land’s End of Denmark – it’s the place on the end of the bit that sticks out like a cartoon nose on the map above. Danish routes 8 and 9 presumably double up for a certain distance before I arrive in Møns Klint. Here’s what the Lonely Planet guide has to say about the second route.

“Route 9 -Øresundsruten (Øresund Route) – 290km (92% sealed)

This route has links with Sweden and Germany thanks to ferry connections at its start (Helsingør) and end (Gedser) points. It follows the east coast of Zealand before tracking south through Mon and Falster.”

Back to the Eurovelo site – Danish Route 9 is the Danish section of Eurovelo 7 – to read the following:

“The EuroVelo 7 is fully developed as national route no. 9 in Denmark. From Copenhagen to the ferry port at Gedser, from where it crosses over to Germany, it is known as the Berlin-Copenhagen route. The route has existed for more than a decade and is increasingly popular among cycle tourists from all over the world. The route leeds you from Helsingor and the castle Kronborg, made famous by Shakespear’s Hamlet, through the capital of Copenhagen, one of the best cycle cities of the world with an impressive number of cyclists, to the chalk cliffs of Stevns and Møn and further south to Marielyst, one of the best beaches in Denmark. The route is flat and follows either small roads or cycle paths. It is rideable for families with children. The Danish part of the Berlin-Copenhagen route was certified with 3 stars in 2012 by the German Cyclists’ Club, ADFC.”

If it’s good enough for the German Cyclists’ Club, it’s good enough for me!

So, the cycling is sorted. What about the other things? Camping grounds shouldn’t be hard to find – there are plenty mentioned in the guide – as well as the same liberal approach to wild camping that has been adopted across Scandinavia. Copenhagen – at the end of my cycle across Denmark – will be a good place to take a day of rest. There is a small part of me that wants to continue along the eastern coast of Denmark north of Copenhagen as far as Helsingør, the home of (fictional) Hamlet. Kronborg Castle would be an interesting diversion and if I am running late (very late), I might be able to take in an outdoor production of the play in August. Scrub that idea – I’ll be in trouble if I haven’t finished the entire journey across the continent by the end of August (although I don’t have a deadline for this particular cycle). Helsingør, perhaps. Hamlet, let’s hope not.