Touring

The Curmudgeonly Tourer

At the risk of sounding churlish and curmudgeonly, I find myself growing a little irritated by the regularity with which I see long-distance bicycle touring associated with fund raising for some cause or another. It is as if the two things were inseparable, as though no one would, could or should contemplate a long tour…

An Orcadian Idyll

Having just returned last night from Orkney and still feeling a bit wistful about not having been able to take my bicycle along this time and go for a spin on what is after all one of my favourite places in all the world to ride, I thought I’d indulge in a bit of vicarious…

A Trip Down Memory Lane

It is late in the evening here in Orkney and after a long and convoluted day’s travel I am sitting before an open fire in the cosy parlour of my favourite B&B with a tumbler of Highland Park single malt within easy reach and in a mood of reminiscence. It has been ten years, almost…

Stealth Camping

One of the questions that was put to me most often when I was cycling through the Australian bush all those years ago was: ‘how do you sleep at night?’ To which I used to answer: “Very well, thank you.” Which was absolutely true. Anyone would sleep well after a hard day’s pedalling a heavily…

The Kindness of Strangers

Even by outback Australia’s legendary standards, the old pearling port of Broome is seriously remote. It sits by itself on a lonely mangrove-fringed coast on the far northwest of the continent, with the steamy emptiness of the Indian Ocean stretching away on one side, and over a million square miles of hostile desert scrub stretching…

That Randonneur Style

Travel romantic that I am, I’ve always had a soft spot for those old-style French touring bikes, the sort you see in those golden-age-of-cycling photographs – bike and rider all kitted up for distant places on dusty untrammelled roads and projecting either pre-war innocence or sunny, post-war optimism depending on the date of the photo.…

Bicycle Touring Survival Guide

One of the many nice things I am discovering about the blogosphere is that it can bring you into contact with interesting cyclists whom you might not – in fact, almost certainly wouldn’t – otherwise meet. I am thinking now of Andrew and Friedel Grant, two peripatetic Canadians who have cycled all over the world…

On Assignment

  In July of 1996 I left my job at Time Magazine and set off to cycle around Australia, unsupported and on my own, free clear and beholden to no-one. Shortly before I left though, I approached the editors of National Geographic, told them my plans, and after due consideration their story approval committee responded with…

Bicycles and the Bush

  I was thirty-seven years old in July of 1996, when I quit my job as a senior writer for Time Magazine, packed my panniers and with my final pay cheque as a road stake, set out from Sydney on a 10,000-mile solo trek around Australia aboard a several year-old 21-speed Cannondale tourer. I was…

The Wheels of Chance

  It was a tram driver’s strike in Melbourne back in the early Nineties that got me riding a bicycle again as an adult. I was living in Elsternwick that year, an old bayside suburb in the city’s inner, and catching the ting-a-ling tram down Glenhuntly Road each morning to a fairly dull job writing…