Tag Archives: Mark Beaumont

Around The World In… Who Cares!

My weekend is visitor free! I make it sound as though I have people staying here all the time; this is not the case and it was great to see Matt, Ross & Pirrko but it did make for a non-stop weekend, my visitors departure and arrival sandwiched around a long day of Olympic (volunteer) training on Sunday. This weekend is in stark contrast to the last (i.e. I have nothing to do) and it allows me the time to catch up with the kind of cyclist that I envy deeply, Chris Gruar.

I mentioned a few posts ago about the round-the-world adventures of Mike Hall. He has just smashed the world record for doing just that but however much I admire and respect his achievement, I wouldn’t want to do it that way myself. Not that I would be capable of such a feat of course. On a higher pedestal in my little tower of cycling admiration are those cyclists who do the whole thing just a little bit more slowly. Chris Gruar certainly falls into this category. He is an Australian and is heading for home on his bike. He set off from Leeds on the 1st April and, two and half months later has made it as far as… Norway!

The first few weeks of Chris’ trip were spent in the UK and although he is not a professional film maker (he’s a teacher), he has some skill when it comes to putting together a quality video clip of his adventures. Here he is travelling across England (in what looks like mostly rain);

The weather since you left hasn’t improved at all Chris. In fact, you escaped before the really bad stuff started.

Arriving on the continent Chris made his way east through France & Belgium (even stopping off in Luxembourg) but rather than heading south as you might expect, he then continued to cycle around the North Sea, through The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden & Norway to where he is currently which is somewhere near the Arctic Circle. He will soon be heading in the ‘right’ direction once more when he cycles south through central Europe, then Turkey, Iran, north of Afghanistan, before aiming for Australia on a journey that will take him through northern India, south-east Asia, Indonesia and then, of course, Australia. He’ll get there in a couple of years after an epic and fascinating trip.

He is supporting the charity AICR, the Association for International Cancer Research and you can make a donation via Chris’ Just Giving site. If you need a celebrity endorsement before you give, when it comes to cycling, you can’t get a better one than this;

And here is a message from Chris himself;

Hey mate,

I’m getting quite a lot of reading done on my kindle in the evenings, and just thought I would let you know I thoroughly enjoyed reading Good Vibrations as I travelled through Germany and Denmark last month. Cracking read, and your tour was the perfect size to order your book through daily chapter observations. I was a little envious as I cycled north into the headwind while I read of your journey south to the mediterranean coast!

I’m still pondering whether to write myself, but at this stage it will be best to start towards the end of my trip rather than get bogged down with the scale of the journey. I hit 5000km this morning, and plenty to go before I think of the end!

All the best,


You can follow Chris on his website, Facebook or Flickr.

And by the way, he must be a real cyclist as he has given his bike a name; Wilson. Even better, he has joined that elite club of cyclists who have had issues with their spokes. Respect!

My 3,000th Tweet: Rohloff v. Sturmey-Archer!

While I was browsing the Cyclepedia app (see previous post), I came across a reference to the Rohloff Speedhub. It’s a gear-changing mechanism that I have never seen but which has fascinated me since I watched Mark Beaumont’s documentary about cycling the Americas. He used one. It is, apparently, the modern-day equivalent of the Sturmey-Archer system that most of us probably used on those childhood bikes of the 1970s. But hang on, stop! A little search on the Internet tells me that they are still at it. You can pay your money and take your pick. The video here from Rohloff makes fascinating viewing. I think I want one… Now, did that make a suitable 3000th Tweet? I think so.

The Cycling Author Shelf Of Fame?

Dear Mr Sykes – I’m too full of respect to refer to you as Andrew – I’ve just completed reading your “Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie” and thoroughly enjoyed it, well done, not just for completing the journey, but also the book. You are now ranked along with [Dervla] Murphy, [Josie] Dew, [Mark] Beaumont and [Edward] Enfield, etc. on my bookshelf.  I look forward to your next jaunt.


I did reply admonishing Don for his formality (“only the kids at school call me ‘Mr Sykes’ but they often prefer more colourful forms of address…”) and thanking him for his comments. He has plans to cycle from Lincolnshire to Budapest and write a book about his journey for a Hungarian charity so watch out for his tome alongside Murphy, Dew, Beaumont, Enfield… and of course that upstart Sykes.

Courtesy of Don, a few additions to the bookshop;

Dervla Murphy
Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle
Wheels Within Wheels: The Makings of a Traveller
Silverland: A Winter Journey beyond the Urals
Josie Dew
Long Cloud Ride: A cycling adventure across New Zealand
Saddled at Sea: A 15,000-mile journey to New Zealand by Russian freighter
Slow Coast Home: A 5000 mile cycle journey around the shores of England and Wales
The Sun in My Eyes: Two-Wheeling East
A Ride in the Neon Sun: A Gaijin in Japan
Travels in a Strange State: Cycling across the USA
The Wind in My Wheels: Travel Tales from the Saddle
Mark Beaumont
The Man Who Cycled The Americas
The Man Who Cycled The World
Edward Enfield
Dawdling By The Danube
Freewheeling through Ireland
Greece on my wheels
Downhill all the way
…and of course…
Andrew Sykes
Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie

Freewheeling France

A couple of months ago, the editor of the Freewheeling France website approached me with a view to me contributing an article about the Eurovelo network specifically in France. I did, and the article has now appeared! In fact, it has been split into two articles; one about the Eurovelos which pass through France, and a second which gives a brief summary of all 14 of the Eurovelos. The site is well worth investigating beyond my articles, especially the interviews that have been published with some familar faces to those of you who have been reading CyclingEurope.org for some time, notably Mark Beaumont & Alastair Humphreys.

French / Spanish Lessons In Venezuela

Great video. Makes me feel very jealous as I sit here in dreary Reading in the south of England. What an adventure! Here’s their website. It’s a good work out for your French (and Spanish). Might show the kids at school next week… Interestingly, their route does what the Eurovelo 8 does, although from Greece to Spain is a little less coastal. Through the Americas, they are doing in reverse what Mark Beaumont did. The south to north slog across Australia will be relentless. Epic journey. Wow.

Good Vibrations: New Entry At Number 15!

I love this! Mark Beaumont, cycling hero & inspiration to all is next to me in the Kindle ‘Cycling’ list; he is just one place above Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie with his book The Man Who Cycled The World. He has a few more sales than me I suspect but I’ll get there!

Matters On My Mind

By the man who is currently rowing the Canadian Arctic

As mentioned yesterday I have started reading Mark Beaumont’s new book about how he cycled from Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina in 2009/10 while at the same time scaling the highest mountains in North & South America. Well, not quite at the same time but I’m sure you know what I mean. I’ve only got to the end of chapter two but – he is about to summit Mount McKinley – and I already want to set off on my next small-time adventure. There are reasons I have to wait until 2013 to cycle from Athens to Cadiz along the Eurovelo 8 (the Olympics, saving the money, becoming very fit, working out how to get two and a half months off work etc…), but if I could, I would set off tomorrow!

By the man who is currently looking for a better title for his book

Reading someone else’s book also makes me eager to finish my own. The chances are it won’t make it to the physical shelves of a bookshop but at least we now have the electronic world into which I can launch my little tome (if that is not a contradiction in terms) and it should find its place someday on the virtual shelves of Kindle. If the first week of my summer holidays was spent renovating the flat and the second entertaining (they may not use that word) my parents, the third must be dedicated to knocking my first draft into shape. That would be something to celebrate!

Morecambe and Wise present Des O'Connor with a golden disc to mark sales of 100,000 for his album 'Just For You'

As will my 100,000 visitor since this blog arrived on WordPress in January 2010. Each week approximately 1,500 of you pass this way (although I admit some of you may come more than just the once; if we lived in a just world, you would all receive medals for your diligence), so as things stand, with the visitor count currently standing at 98,945, barring a sudden upsurge in activity (which I am not against!), the 100,000 barrier should be breached on Thursday or Friday. Perhaps I should offer a prize to the person who can email me a screen shot of the counter standing at 100,000. It could be you!