Even after all these years, much of ‘cycling’ remains a mystery, especially the technical side of things. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has read my books. I wouldn’t say that I have a phobia of the mechanics of a bicycle; it’s more of a lack of familiarity that gives me a sinking feeling every time that I know that touching the nuts and bolts cannot be avoided. If I fiddled with my bike on a regular basis, I’d be fine. But I don’t, and the result is that I am scared by all the technical (what I would refer to as) nonsense. (Which isn’t nonsense at all if you are familiar with bikes…)
Simon Parker is a travel writer, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He has travelled to over 100 countries on reporting assignments for the BBC, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent. He also has a sideline in cycle touring… In 2016 he sailed and cycled from China to London and in 2018 he set off from northern Norway and cycled 3,000km south to the southern tip of Sweden. His 6-week adventure is now the subject of a documentary available on Amazon Prime Video. PLUS: A message from Tim Moss about the Cycle Touring Festival 2021.
Simon Parker is a travel writer, broadcaster and newspaper columnist. He has travelled to over 100 countries on reporting assignments for the BBC, The Daily Telegraph and The Independent. He also has a sideline in cycle touring… In 2016 he sailed and cycled from China to London and in 2018 he set off from northern Norway and cycled 3,000km south to the southern tip of Sweden. His 6-week adventure is now the subject of a documentary available on Amazon Prime Video. PLUS: A message from Tim & Laura Moss about the Cycle Touring Festival 2021.
The Cycle Touring Festival has, for obvious reasons, gone ‘virtual’ once again this year. And it’s earlier in the year than normal, taking place over the week of the half-term holiday in mid-February. The schedule of events – spread out over 10 days – has just been published and the list is below. However… you do need to register for most events (as they will be delivered via Zoom). To do so, visit the Cycle Touring Festival website and follow the instructions.
I tread wearily when broaching the subject of cycling helmets as I know what contentious / passionate debates they can provoke. Some hate them and will never wear them; others love them and would never not wear one. I stand somewhere in between; I have one and wear it when it’s appropriate to do so. I accept the argument that if you are run over by a truck whilst cycling, there is little that a bit of plastic and foam is going to do to save you, irrespective of how highly engineered that plastic and foam might be. That’s not why I choose to wear a helmet when I do wear a helmet. I wear a helmet when the conditions would suggest that it is prudent to do so. This is not an exhaustive list but I usually do so when it is raining, when it’s windy, when I am going downhill fast or when I feel the traffic is somewhat intimidating. If I’m on a short journey – usually when I am commuting – I tend to wear the helmet as I don’t want to stop to put it on if I need to. Not doing so also requires you to find somewhere else to put the helmet. Your head, apart from anything else, is a convenient place to store a helmet, even if it’s not needed. And why do I choose to wear a helmet when it’s raining etc…? Because I think that it’s at those times when there is the greatest chance of me skidding off the bike and hitting my head on the floor. In that respect, a helmet might save my life.
Cycling through Europe is one of the greatest adventures you can embark on. With your bicycle, passport, and enough motivation, you can make your way down winding roads through German villages and small French towns, finding somewhere new to rest your head each evening. Safety should be a priority when it comes to any type of travel, but especially those that involve high levels of exercise. To ensure you make the most out of your time exploring Europe on two wheels, here is an essential packing guide.