The Cycling Europe Podcast: Episode 048 – A Mountaineer’s Guide To Cycling From Spain To Norway

The Cycling Europe Podcast mainly features, well, cyclists. The interviewee in this episode, however, is first and foremost a mountaineer. But he’s not just any mountaineer. His name is Tim Ralph and he’s a seven summiteer; a man who has climbed the seven highest mountains on each of the continents. In the last few years, he’s also taken up cycle touring and has just published a book called ‘A Life Accomplished: From Spain to Norway on a Bike’. So what can mountaineering teach us about cycle touring? What can cycle touring teach mountaineers about climbing mountains? And what happens when an experienced mountaineer sets off to cycle from Europe’s geographical southernmost point at Tarifa in Spain to its northernmost point at Nordkapp in Norway?

Episode 048: A Mountaineer’s Guide To Cycling From Spain To Norway

The Cycling Europe Podcast mainly features, well, cyclists. The interviewee in this episode, however, is first and foremost a mountaineer. But he’s not just any mountaineer. His name is Tim Ralph and he’s a seven summiteer; a man who has climbed the seven highest mountains on each of the continents. In the last few years, he’s also taken up cycle touring and has just published a book called ‘A Life Accomplished: From Spain to Norway on a Bike’. So what can mountaineering teach us about cycle touring? What can cycle touring teach mountaineers about climbing mountains? And what happens when an experienced mountaineer sets off to cycle from Europe’s geographical southernmost point at Tarifa in Spain to its northernmost point at Nordkapp in Norway?

Mountaineering Meets Cycle Touring, In Hebden Bridge

A few weeks ago I headed off down the Calder Valley where I live in West Yorkshire in the direction of Hebden bridge. The new bike – Ronnie Ribble – needed a shakedown on a route other than on the one he was purchased for, my commute to work. The canal towpath cycle beside the Rochdale Canal is a very familiar one and it’s good, off-road cycling territory; not too rough, not too smooth, just right. Goldilocks cycling. (Ignoring that annoying bit near Copley where the tree roots have made the surface somewhat Alpine… Don’t get me going.)

New Cycling / Cat Film: The Cat Cyclist

Remember the ‘lockdown project’? It seemed that most people had one; tiling the bathroom, writing an anthology of poetry, organising a series of parties that you would later deny were actually parties to the UK parliament (and even if they were, you had nothing to do with them…). That kind of thing. My lockdown project was to make an audio documentary about the life and times of Maximilian J. St. George. (I’ll post the link below.) Well, Easter has just finished and I had an ‘Easter Project’ (you heard it here first)…

Background Inspiration

Episode 027 of The Cycling Europe Podcast was an important one… It featured Dr. Ian Walker, an academic and cyclist who had broken the World Record for cycling from Nordkapp in Norway to Tarifa in Spain. That in itself made it worthy of note and I would encourage you to go back and have a listen. However, I normally ask people who appear on the podcast to provide me with a few images that I can use when publicising their particular episode of the podcast. Episode 027 was the first when I used one of the images as a background to the information slide that is used on YouTube (prior to that it was just a different colour background for each episode).

The GoPro Hero 10: Next-Level Stabilisation

Just before Christmas 2021, I had a clear out of old electrical items. One of those items was a GoPro Hero 4 camera that I think I bought back in around 2014. I definitely used it – to very good effect – on the cycle from Spain to Norway in the summer of 2015. Athough there was a very small amount of superficial damage to the Hero 4, it still worked fine. The battery life was poor, however, and it was limited to 1080 HD when it came to the picture quality. With cycling the Baltic this coming summer in mind, I have just bought a replacement GoPro – the Hero 10 – and things have moved on somewhat…