With the editing done and the premieres of Le Grand Tour films uploaded and scheduled for the remaining Thursdays in December (well, the three before Christmas), my mind can return to other matters ‘Cycling Europe’. And there are a few plans that have been on the back-burner that can now move to the front of the hob. If, that is, I can afford to turn on the gas…
The highlight of my cycling autumn was the trip over to Clitheroe for the revived Cycle Touring Festival where, only a few weeks after returning from the continent, I was able to give a talk about my exploits during July and August around France, Switzerland and Germany (with a bit of The Netherlands and Belgium thrown in for good measure). A thoroughly enjoyable weekend was had and it was wonderful to see people in person after so many virtual festivals that Laura and Tim had organised during the months and years of the pandemic. However, what wasn’t so great was the brightness of the marquee in which the talks were delivered and, as someone who relies heavily on the visual aspect of his talks with lots of video, photographs and graphics, it was a touch frustrating that the conditions were not ideal. It was nobody’s fault; it was just one of those things…
This is one of the reasons why I’m very much looking forward to delivering a similar talk to the one I gave at the festival to my local branch of Cycling UK / CTC later this week in Halifax, West Yorkshire. They are a friendly bunch of people and, over the years, I have got to know quite a few of the members quite well despite the fact that I have never actually taken part in any of the cycles that they organise throughout the year. Their ‘Winter Clubroom’ talks are where I’ve mainly met the group and this autumn I’ve attended a good number of the talks in the run-up to my own talk on Friday 9th December. So far we’ve been entertained by a varied range of speakers that have included Anne Lawther – who appeared in episode 40 of The Cycling Europe Podcast – and Rob Ainsley – who has featured regularly in the podcast and is the man behind the guitar music used in Le Grand Tour films. Other talks have taken us across northern Spain on an eBike and, most recently for me, along the familiar route of the Via de la Plata in western Spain. This formed part of my route when I cycled from Tarifa to Nordkapp back in 2015, as featured in the book Spain to Norway on a Bike Called Reggie.
Anyway, if you happen to be anywhere near Halifax, you are more than welcome to come along to the Oddfellows Hall on the corner of Prescott Street and Coleridge Street on Friday December 9th at 7.30pm to hear what I have to say. It will cost you £2 if you are a Cycling UK member, £4 (I think) for non-members. And, courtesy of the stone walls and lack of light outside, you will actually see the presentation in addition to hearing my words…
If you are interested in inviting me to speak at your own local event over the winter – or any season of the year! – please get in touch. I’ll be talking at an event in Sheffield organised by Sheffield Cycling UK / CTC on Thursday 23rd February 2023 (more details of that event here). Over the years I have spoken at a wide range of events across the country to audiences ranging from over 300 (at a CTC Birthday Rides event in the Cotswolds) to just one person (in Brighouse Library…). Most events attract an audience somewhere between the two! For more information visit this page of CyclingEurope.org. All the contact details can be found here. I only charge expenses for Cycling UK / CTC events and the fees for other events are very reasonable.
November has not seen any new episodes of The Cycling Europe Podcast. There are, however, plenty of past episodes to catch up on if you are new to the show with a back catalogue of over 60 episodes. All are widely available across podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and Google. New episodes of the podcast are coming your way in 2023 and I am hoping to head off to Wales to record one particular episode very soon. Keep watching – or rather keep listening – to this space. More podcast information can be found by scrolling to the foot of this post.
One of the (very) nice things that I have been invited to do occasionally over the years since embarking upon that first trans-continental cycle to southern Italy in 2010 is to head off to different places on the continent courtesy of organisations that work in the travel / cycling sector. In 2017, I was invited to attend a couple of stages of the Tour de France in the Dordogne at the invitation of Welcome to Yorkshire / Le Tour Yorkshire. You can read how I got on in this post for CyclingEurope.org. In 2019 I cycled around the Isle of Wight with the local tourist board but a few weeks before that trip, the cruise company Fred. Olsen asked me to head off along the Rhine and the Mosel on a river cruise and speak to their clients as we hopped from one riverside town to another. I even had the opportunity of experiencing – for the first time – a cycle on an eBike:
Read about my ‘Reflections of a Touring Cyclist’ about river cruising in this post of the website.
In February 2023, I’ll be heading back to the continent courtesy of Jet2Holidays. I suppose when I say ‘continent’ I should clarify that the continent will be Africa. Well, nearly… I’ve been asked to fly to Tenerife, one of Jet2Holidays ‘cycling’ destinations. I’ve never really been a package tour person but, then again, I wasn’t a river cruise person until I had the opportunity of jumping on a boat down the Rhine. (And I was well and truly converted!)
I’ll be leaving (a bike called) Wanda at home and hiring at bike at the hotel where I will be staying for four nights from February 13th (the Dreams Jardin Tropical Resort & Spa in Costa Adeje). From one end to the other, Tenerife measures just 80km (which is about twice the length of the Isle of Wight) so with three full days to explore the island I should have the time to be able to seek out some interesting nooks and crannies. One key difference between Tenerife and the Isle of Wight is that on the latter your are rarely vertically challenged when it comes to cycling. The highest point on the island is a modest 241 metres (St Boniface Down). The highest point on Tenerife is, err… 3,715 metres: the volcano, Mount Teide. I have ten weeks to train… Once I get home expect a detailed write-up, an episode of The Cycling Europe Podcast as well as a short film. (In addition to the endless tweets whilst I am there of course…) Tenerife will certainly get the full ‘Cycling Europe’ treatment.
Over the winter months I also have the small matter of starting to write the book that I have been promising to write about last year’s ‘Grand Tour’. The story of what really happened!
LATEST CYCLING EUROPE POSTS:
- La France À Vélo – À La Rencontre De Ses Habitants
- Le Grand Tour: Day 47 – The Aftermath Of The Storm (Draft)
- TUDOR’s Strategy Within The Pro Cycling World
- Everything You Ever* Wanted To Know About Recording And Editing A Cycle Touring Podcast (…But Were Afraid To Ask)
- The Cycling Europe Podcast: Episode 076 – Tim Sanders – The Parenzana Trail / Venice to Munich
Catch up with The Cycling Europe Podcast:
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