Tag: Switzerland

Le Grand Tour: Day 6 – Saint-Quentin-En-Tourmon To Dieppe (96km)

Phew! What a scorcher… And it’s apparently going to get hotter. I daubed myself three times today with factor 50 but I’ll be investing in a cap of some description tomorrow (as well of more supplies of the sun cream). Yet I’m staying well hydrated and fed by the French. Today’s food has all come courtesy of the toil of French labour; pastries from the boulangerie in Le Crotoy, fruit from a market in the same town and now a three-course meal in Dieppe at a restaurant called Le Sully. So far – a starter of smoked salmon and herring on a bed of new potatoes – so good, but I’ll update you as the meal progresses… I feel like Rick Stein without a film crew (and a bicycle).

Le Grand Tour: Day 5 – Oye-Plage To Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont (91km)

A day to remember… Some of you may think that politics has no place on a website such as this. Yet I disagree. A head of government represents the country. He or she is not seen by those in other countries as a Tory or a socialist or a liberal or whatever. They are simply an embodiment of what the ‘majority’ are thinking. (Majority! Well, not in our archaic first-past-the-post system but that’s another argument.) So when I meet people and ask them what they think of our prime minister, it’s embarrassing to be told that he is thought of as an ‘idiot’ or ‘joker’ because in a small way they are saying that about me and you. We, collectively, gave him the power. I never voted for him but I am part of the system that did. I am glad that he will soon be gone. I watched him speak live on my phone this lunchtime. Just as he finished, I passed in front of a magnificent hotel in Le Touquet called… Le Westminster. Everyone, irrespective of the politics, should be glad that he will soon be replaced.

Le Grand Tour: Day 4 – Ostend To Oye-Plage (94km)

Is he still there? By the time you read this (posting is going to be delayed until Thursday morning due to the lack of a good mobile signal) he may well have been dragged out of Downing Street, kicking and screaming. Last night I had the pleasure of staying with a WarmShowers host in the outskirts of Ostend. He has lead the development of a co-housing project and he now lives on a large plot of land not far from the airport along with 17 other families – around 70 people in total – with separate homes but shared facilities. It’s a real village and it was wonderful to spend a few hours last night in their company talking about the development, the motivation for creating such a place and the practical advantages of doing so. (There are many – I’ll list them in the book!) I spent much of the evening chatting to a retired firefighter called Michel and the subject moved on to politics. I asked him what people in general thought of Boris Johnson in Belgium. “A joke” was his response… 

A Wanda Around Europe, Explained

Earlier today some of you must have been scratching your heads just a little upon seeing the Twitter post or the Facebook post or the Instagram post relating to my decision to ‘tweak’ the route of my upcoming cycle around the Baltic Sea. It is, admittedly, one hell of a tweak. So much of a tweak in fact that the only remaining part of that planned Baltic Sea Cycle that remains in the new planned cycle is the rather short journey from the ferry port in Rotterdam to the Hook of Holland. And yes, even that section is nowhere near the Baltic Sea. The new route will see me not turn left upon arrival in The Netherlands but turn right in the direction of Belgium, then France, then (after quite a while) through Switzerland, then Germany before finally returning to the Hook of Holland and my return journey across the North Sea to Hull. Mmm… Perhaps ‘tweak’ might not have been the most appropriate of words. So why the change?

The Cycling Europe Podcast: Episode 043 – Monologue Special / Gavin Wood  

In 2021 I put out a call for anyone who was interested in recording a short monologue about their experiences of cycling to get in touch and, in the past year, quite a few people have come forward to record such a monologue. In this episode you have a second opportunity to hear Laura Massey-Pugh set out her plans to cycle around the world on a tandem, Laurence Warren tell the story of round-the-world cyclist Colin Martin as well as discuss his experiences of cycling in his adopted home of Austria, Robin Watkins talk about cycling in Czechia, the poet Caroline Burrows reflect lyrically upon her commute to work and Simon Garland recount his experiences of cycling the EuroVelo 15 or the Rhine Cycle Route. We also hear from Gavin Wood in an interview recorded at the time of the COP 26 climate conference. He works in West Yorkshire in the north of England as an active travel advisor and we chatted about the challenges of building infrastructure and changing minds in order that we can all live in a much more cycling-friendly place.

Eroica 2021

I’ve never entered a cycling sportive in my life… but I’m a sucker for a good poster and these posters from the people who organise the Eroica events have featured several times in the past on CyclingEurope.org. They’ve just sent through the complete set for 2021 – yes, it appears that they are starting again… – and the first of their cycles is actually today in South Africa.

Barry Godin: Tour Of Mont Blanc

As lockdown continues, cycling anywhere remotely exotic is most definitely off the agenda for several months to come. Stay local! However that doesn’t prevent us from vicariously enjoying the adventures of others from the pre-Coronavirus era. Barry Godin has just published a new film about mountain biking the Tour de Mont Blanc. Having walked almost all of the Tour de Mont Blanc route over two seperate hiking trips – in 2006 and then in 2016 – it’s an area of the world that I know well and Barry’s film was a pleasure to watch.

Cycling Europe: ‘A Time Of Birds’ By Helen Moat

Spring 2020 will forever go down in the annals of history as the time of the Coronavirus. We don’t yet know how the story will end – this is history in the making – but we do know that the pandemic has had a significant impact upon the lives of most people. Schools closed, festivals cancelled, sporting events postponed, film premieres rescheduled… Yet with the majority of the population at home, what better time to pick up a book and start reading. And what better time to head off on a vicarious cycle across Europe. But fear not! This is not some shameless plug for my own books. (Although they are rather good…) It is about a new book that is being published on April 9th called A Time For Birds by Helen Moat.