I can never really remember not being a cyclist although it is only in the last few years that I have called myself one. There has to be an element of commitment to using a bike over other means of transport to seem eligible to use the title. I certainly do that now and have done, off and on, for the last thirty years. I have never really been a motorist. I have owned three cars, all during my 30s, and, hand on heart, I don’t miss them. Occasionally there is something that I could do more easily or quicker or in greater comfort if I did own a car again, but nothing that actually merits the expense of having a machine with four wheels sat outside on the road not being used for much of its working life.
Not that I am anti car. I get lifts when needed, for example during the harsh winter weather in January 2010 which made cycling all but impossible. And there will come a day, due to circumstances, when I will no doubt buy a car again. But there is a difference between car ownership and car usage. So many journeys are made which are a shamefully extravagant use of a car and all the resources – space as well as energy – they take up. People forget that there are alternatives, and resort far too readily to fairly lame excuses as to why they cannot leave the keys at home and either walk, jump on public transport or, of course, cycle. Few people could really not survive without the use of a car.
So that’s where I stand as a cyclist. It has become the norm for me to go about my daily life either on foot or by bike, mainly because it has never not been the norm for me to do so for most of my life. So why decide to cycle to southern Italy? Well, you can read the initially postings on the blog way back in August 2008 to discover the exact thought processes that went on, but it all boils down to one simple thing; because I can.
I was born, brought up and educated in Yorkshire, England but now live in Reading, Berkshire in the south of the country. I am the head of languages in a state comprehensive school in South Oxfordshire. Find out about what we do there at our Language College blog. I teach French but also have a basic working knowledge of Italian; both languages should be very useful en route to Puglia.
Andrew, I just finished reading you book and had to let you know how much I loved and enjoyed read it. I actually felt like I was right there with you and Reggie with every turn if his wheels and every pedal stroke. Your book is truly an inspiring account of your adventure, thank you for taking the time to share it!!!
Thanks for this Alex; delighted you enjoyed the book. Hopefully you will also enjoy the follow up book that should be available later in the summer (2014). Would you consider copying your comments above into an online review at Amazon? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crossing-Europe-Called-Reggie-ebook/dp/B009YYZLDY/
Thanks again & happy cycling!
There are things about cycling which become riskier the older you get. For example the sense of balance is not as good after a certain age and the ability to repair the body after falls is not as good, and the likelihood of more serious falls from a bike even at low speed is greater.
It is safer to walk once you are in your 70s or even 80s although one does meet some people who ride on and on. Once I met a daily cyclist of 97 in the middle of Glasgow.