The Life And Times Of The Cycling Europe Kid

I had one big job to do today and lots of little ones. The little ones have all been done, but the big one remains untouched… Such is life. More of the ‘big job’ in a few moments.

One of the ‘little’ jobs was to erect the new tent (see previous post). The official Vango video boasts an athletic couple camping in what looks like the wilderness of a snowy Alpine or perhaps Scottish mountain range. My video depicts the new tent erected in the somewhat less hostile environment of my brother’s back garden…

…but a fine erection it was! It’s so nice to have a tent that hasn’t been stretched beyond practical use and I look forward to many happy nights in the somewhat roomier environment of the F10 Xenon UL2+. With perhaps one wheel sticking out of the side, that porch could fit most of my bike and let’s hope that at some point during the next few months, that does indeed happen. I have just one question as far as the new tent goes: what the heck are these two pegs for? Any suggestions would be gratefully received. All the other pegs are standard U-shaped.


Mysterious pegs…

One of the other little jobs was to get hold of a small groundsheet for the porch area of the tent. Having purchased the tent itself online from Go Outdoors, an establishment that requires you to buy a ยฃ5 membership card before you buy anything, I thought I would put my investment in said card to good use and drove to Pudsey near Leeds to have a look around their store. I was actually impressed by what I found. It didn’t quite have the glitz and glamour of wandering around the nooks and crannies of a place like George Fisher in Keswick and the range was skewed to the cheaper end of the market but for a groundsheet? Perfect… My other purchase of necessity was a new camping mat. Having spent, in total, several hundreds of pounds on camping mats over the last few years, I have now come to the conclusion that however technologically advanced they claim to be, they will get punctured sooner than you’d like. So, instead of spending a three-figure sum on a Thermarest, I went for this:

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I’ve just blown it up and rarely have I been so impressed by a piece of camping equipment. It is not only lightweight but also extremely easy to inflate and deflate via a clever valve that closes itself when you need to take another breath. Thermarest have never got around to designing one of those. What’s more, at ยฃ40 I won’t feel so cheated when it breaks as, alas, it inevitably will. (I reserve the right to eat my own words if it doesn’t make it through its first night under canvas or, rather, silicone/PU coated ProTexยฎ 15D 3000mm HH nylon.)

That first night under, err… let’s just call it ‘canvas’, will be next Friday as I make my now annual pilgrimage to the dark side (Lancashire) and, more specifically, the Cycle Touring Festival in Clitheroe. I’ll be camping there for two nights giving two talks next Saturday and contributing to a group discussion about cycling through specific countries (I’ve chosen Albania) in Europe. The first of the talks is entitled ‘Much Ado About Cycling: Ten Years of Cycling Europe‘ and it is the preparation of this that I consider to be this weekend’s ‘big’ job that I have so far managed to avoid doing today. Fear not, tomorrow is clear of distractions and I will finish it. The second talk is about The Cycling Europe Podcast and called ‘Podcasting on Tour‘. This is something that I have yet to do but let’s not quibble… I will be discussing the ‘art’ of podcasting (!!) and a few of the technical aspects as well as telling the story of how The Cycling Europe Podcast came into being. Now I’m sorry to tell you that all the tickets for this year’s Cycle Touring Festival have been sold out… but fear not, here is that last story in 30 seconds:

You may remember that last July I was invited by Welcome to Yorkshire, the joint organisers of the Tour de Yorkshire to visit the Dordogne in France to experience a bit of the Tour de France. You can read up on my exploits here. One of my fellow ‘journalists’ was Scott from the Velocast podcast and it was from him that I first got the idea of creating my own cycling podcast. The rest is not quite history, not yet anyway, but with five episodes of The Cycling Europe Podcast soon to be in circulation – number 5 should be out in a few days – it’s been an interesting experience and hopefully will make for an engaging talk.

On the subject of professional cycle racing…

…the aforementioned Tour de Yorkshire kicks off on Thursday of this week. I have my press accreditation and will be once again taking up the mantle of intrepid reporter. The clash with the Cycle Touring Festival means some logistical toing and froing between Yorkshire and Lancashire but my plan is to attend the pre-race press conference on Wednesday afternoon in Leeds, perhaps the start of stage 2 in Barnsley on Friday morning before heading over to Clitheroe for the festival. It will be an early start on Sunday returning to Halifax to be at the start of stage 4 at The Piece Hall (as seen above and as featured many times in this parish) before a quick train dash to Leeds for the climax of the race along The Headrow in the city centre. It should make for an interesting week… Watch out for updates right here at


Paul ‘Cricket’

Just one thing to finish with. A nice message to wake up to this morning from an American chap called Paul who stayed with me via Warmshowers back in 2017. He returned to the USA and found a job teaching in Alaska;

“How goes the day? …I wanted to let you know that I met a cyclist when I was entering my hometown. I passed along your book for her to read and she borrowed it. Turns out that she is planning a trip now that you inspired! After reading your book she is going to cycle out towards Norway as well! How great is that, from across the pond you are still inspiring cyclists!”

That made me feel good. Thanks Paul.

Categories: Adventure, Cycling

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3 replies »

  1. Hi – I think the 2 mysterious pegs are for holding down the strap that runs from side to side in the porch area. I think there are two holes in the band that those pegs push through. If you’ve used your tent and not tripped over it then maybe you don’t need them.

    • Thanks Ian. That’s interesting and potentially very useful. I’m next in the tent at a cycling festival in Ulverston the weekend of the 13th/14th July and I’ll test out your theory then… ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy camping!

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