Anna Hughes

Yearly Archives: 2017

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Tips for safe cycling #5: See and Be Seen

On December 27, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety,safety tips, With 2 Comments

If you are still cycling in the depth of winter, good for you. Not only is it cold and wet, but your journey to and from work will probably be made in the dark. Lights are a legal requirement (red for rear and white for front*). Always carry spare batteries,…

BAMbassador

On December 21, 2017, Posted by , In BAM,Ironman,Lifestyle, With No Comments

I’m excited to be a new BAMbassador for Bamboo clothing, a UK company that manufactures clothing from bamboo. BAM is exactly the kind of company I support: ethical, environmentally friendly and honest. In fact, their ‘sales’ pitch is “We’d genuinely rather make a bit less money and have loads of…

Go vegan for January

On November 23, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle,Vegan, With No Comments

I have a request. For the first month of 2018, go vegan. It’s not often I suggest people change their lifestyles: usually I present my own choices and leave others to make up their own mind. But this time I am making an exception, because in all the actions I…

West of Wales to east of England

On October 17, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With 2 Comments

8.30am. Whitesands Bay, St Davids. James. Bicycle and man stand expectant on the beach. In the bay, the sea builds and curls, crashing and frothing as wind patterns the surface. Gannets circle then drop like arrows, tucking their wings tight in a torpedo-dive. Waves surge up the sand and fizz…

Ten reasons why maps are better than apps

On October 16, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

“Being able to read a map can open up a whole new world…” – Ordnance Survey. There’s a week for everything and this week is National Map Reading Week. Launched last year by Ordnance Survey, the idea is to encourage and teach the art of reading maps, a skill that…

Time to call time on The Archers?

On October 4, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle,Vegan, With No Comments

My mother never liked The Archers. Radio 4 would always be playing in the kitchen while we were getting dinner ready, so Just a Minute, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue and The News Quiz were staples of my childhood, but when the opening bars of The Archers theme struck…

In search of Thames Head

On October 4, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

The Cotswolds glow with Autumn as we ride along narrow lanes that disappear down tunnels of trees. Leaves drip and swirl golden onto the carriageway and horse chestnuts lie split and smashed on the tarmac. The land sits flat and open, farmsteads hemmed in by sand-coloured walls constructed from slabs…

Three sonnets for National Poetry Day

On September 28, 2017, Posted by , In Writing, With No Comments

It was at the age of 17 that I was introduced to the sonnet, during my ‘A’ level year when curious minds feed on endless titbits offered by teachers, minds open to exploration and suggestion. I loved the ingenuity of the form, at once restrictive and inviting of creativity, and I…

The war on the roads

On September 21, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

‘Should reckless cyclists face the same consequences as dangerous drivers?’ asks Good Morning Britain on Twitter. The cycling community sighs collectively. Each time someone is killed on a bike or by a bike, it’s headline news. It perpetuates the perception that cycling is dangerous; it justifies people’s hatred of cyclists….

Another reason to Go Dutch

On September 13, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

In the Netherlands, drivers are taught to open the car door with their far hand. It’s an indication of how bicycle-centric their culture is; by performing the ‘Dutch reach’ the driver is forced to turn their head and body, so can see if a cyclist is about to pass, therefore…

The unstoppable Chris Froome

On September 11, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

Chris Froome has cemented his place in the list of cycling greats with a win in the Vuelta España to add to his victory in the Tour de France earlier this season. He is the first cyclist to win the double since Bernard Hinault, the dominant rider of the 1980s,…

King of falafel #2

On September 9, 2017, Posted by , In Falafel Friday,Lifestyle,Vegan, With No Comments

I was released from my bar shift early last night, so I went on the hunt for falafel. Falafel King in Clifton Down was a long walk up a hill (isn’t everywhere in Bristol) but worth venturing out for, so I’d heard, and still open at 10.30pm when others had closed…

The morals of having children

On September 4, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle, With 13 Comments

When speculation emerged in July that Kate Middleton might be pregnant with her third child, a letter from charity ‘Having Kids’ urging the couple of reconsider met with a considerable public backlash. The charity: for the good of the environment, we should be having fewer children, and those in the…

Falafel Friday: Edna’s Kitchen

On September 1, 2017, Posted by , In Falafel Friday,Vegan, With No Comments

Today was the turn of Edna’s Kitchen. Friends had recommended it; news articles describe it as legendary. I was about to find out. Edna’s kitchen sits at the top of Castle Park, the small kiosk offering a number of yummy-looking dishes including meze salad boxes of various sizes, halloumi, and, of…

Falafel Friday week three

On August 25, 2017, Posted by , In Falafel Friday,Vegan, With 2 Comments

Today it’s the turn of The Bristologist, a ‘Plates and Slates’ bar on Corn Street. They do a falafel wrap as part of their lunch menu: £5.95 for a wrap stuffed with hummus, raita and leaves, served with chips. I’ll be having it without the raita. Pubs are inevitably more…

Falafel King: king of falafel?

On August 18, 2017, Posted by , In Falafel Friday,Vegan, With 2 Comments

It’s week two of #FalafelFriday and I’m lining up the big boys. With a name like Falafel King, I’m expecting something spectacular. This is the street stall at the head of Narrow Quay, outside Bristol Hippodrome, the little sister of the Cotham Hill-based restaurant. I can have my falafel in a…

Falafel Friday: week one

On August 11, 2017, Posted by , In Falafel Friday,Lifestyle,Vegan, With No Comments

As a vegan in a new city, seeking out places to eat can be a challenge. But there’s one dish that I’m pretty much guaranteed to be able to find: falafel. For years it’s been a staple of mine, from take-aways to street stalls to restaurants. So, how will Bristol…

Why am I running away?

On August 10, 2017, Posted by , In Boating, With 1 Comment

It’s raining again. Droplets run Matrix-style down the windows, the sky fading from grey to black beyond, the river surging beneath. I look out at the choppy, relentless waves and feel uneasy. The Thames is a beast with which I’m not familiar. I have been battling it for four days,…

Captain’s log: London to Bristol by narrowboat

On August 10, 2017, Posted by , In Boating, With 10 Comments

This is a lightly edited version of the cruising log I kept on my move from London to Bristol by narrowboat. Photos of the journey can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm6dJKna  22nd July 2017. DAY ONE. The cruise to Bristol begins! Limehouse to Kensal Green. 11.5 miles. 12 locks. 9 hours Beautiful…

What price freedom?

On August 6, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

While working on my bike in a DIY workshop, I overhear a customer speaking to the mechanic about his child’s bike. Can you fit stabilisers? he asks. I cringe. Stabilisers are the cycling instructor’s nemesis. They are an anti-teaching tool – how not to allow your child to learn the…

How to teach a beginner to ride a bike

On August 6, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

Summer is a great time to get your kids out and riding their bikes. This is the method I use to teach complete beginners how to ride – it’s remarkably effective and typically gets the rider going within half an hour. It works for adults, too. Disclaimer: even with this…

Slow travel

On July 6, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle, With No Comments

We emerge from the Channel tunnel into hills that roll just as they do in Kent. The rain still falls. Graffiti adorns trackside walls. People stand on station platforms clutching mugs of coffee as we flash by. By being on the ground we see others, the homes they have built,…

Le Tour de France – a look back in time

On July 1, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

This week sees the 104th edition of the Tour de France. A staple of the cycle racing calendar, it is an institution that has been held almost every year since its inauguration in 1903. As a cycle tourer, I’m not particularly a racing fan. Pelotons and breakaways don’t mean much to me….

Stop killing cyclists

On May 31, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

Yet another cyclist has been killed on London’s roads. On the morning of 22nd May, a man in his 50s was involved in a collision with a lorry, suffering fatal injuries. The news of this latest tragedy upset and angered me more than usual. I have just returned from a…

Copenhagenize

On May 22, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

In the automobile boom of the 1960s, people abandoned their bicycles and began to drive. This miracle form of transport, so quick and easy, dry in all weathers, was a status symbol; to have one was to be rich. But then came the problems: congestion, ill health, laziness. The cycling…

The spirit of the bike

On May 12, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

‘Friends’ Season 7 Episode 9 Ross: If you’re not going to ride this bike, I’m going to have to take it back. Phoebe: What!? Why? Ross: Because… because, it would be like you having this guitar and never playing it. This guitar wants to be played. And this bike wants…

Breifne Earley – from the depths of despair to World Cycle Race champion

On April 25, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

In 2014, Irishman Breifne Earley took part in the World Cycle Race, a 18,000 mile non-stop ride around the planet. Overweight and never having been on a bike tour, he was not an obvious candidate to cycle round the world, but motivated by the breakdown of his relationship, his career…

Never argue with a ticket man

On April 20, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With 3 Comments

Since a man was badly injured in the process of being removed from an overbooked United Airlines flight last week, there have been several other reported incidents of people being forcibly removed from flights. I was removed from a train once. It wasn’t my finest moment, but it’s an illustration of what happens…

Isabelle Clement – Wheels for Wellbeing

On April 18, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With 2 Comments

Isabelle Clement is the Director of Wheels for Wellbeing, a London-based charity that enables people with a disability to access cycling. I was inspired by Isabelle’s story after having stumbled across this video, and was pleased when she agreed to be part of my book, Pedal Power. Isabelle’s story appears in…

The birth of a book

On April 14, 2017, Posted by , In Pedal Power,Writing, With 2 Comments

Last night we held the launch party for Pedal Power. It was a really enjoyable evening with lots of people to talk to, all within the setting of the lovely Stanfords travel shop in Covent Garden. Thanks to all who attended and made the evening possible. Copies of Pedal Power…

Does the world need another book?

On April 7, 2017, Posted by , In Pedal Power,Writing, With No Comments

I’m about to publish my second book, ‘Pedal Power: inspirational stories from the world of cycling’. It was a remarkably condensed project: two months of researching and cramming as many words into the day as I could, gathering tales from across the spectrum of two-wheeled wonders. The book is about…

Mike Hall – a tribute

On April 2, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With 3 Comments

On Friday, the tragic news emerged that endurance cyclist Mike Hall had died. He was killed in a collision with a car while taking part in the Indian Pacific Wheel Race in Australia. Mike was well known in the endurance racing community, having won the first World Cycle Race in…

Tips for safe cycling #4: Lorries

On March 27, 2017, Posted by , In Road Safety,safety tips, With No Comments

Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), buses, trucks and coaches make up the smallest proportion of traffic on UK roads, yet are involved in the highest proportion of fatal collisions with cyclists. It’s a scary statistic, and one that is being addressed through safer lorry design and advanced training for drivers, as…

Thomas Stevens – first to cycle around the world

On March 22, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

This is an edited extract from my new book Pedal Power, available to preorder here. Thomas Stevens, a free spirit and explorative soul, lived in San Francisco, where he would listen to the constant whispering of the Pacific Ocean and dream of adventure – and what better adventure than to…

A comment on cycling infrastructure

On March 21, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With 7 Comments

Confession: I whacked a car window today. It was the conclusion of a conversation with a driver that had grown more and more heated as we both tried to make our voices heard, a conversation that had no end other than anger. She yelled expletives; I used my fist. Her…

Inspirational women

On March 8, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. One of the chapters in my soon-to-be published book Pedal Power is entitled ‘Wonder Women’ and features stories of women throughout the ages who have repeatedly shown that cycling is not just a…

The social media bubble

On March 6, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle, With 3 Comments

A recent programme on Radio 4 explored the concept of the Social network bubble – the fact that our Facebook timelines show us only a limited number of posts, using algorithms to determine the information it thinks we would most like to see. These same algorithms are responsible for bombarding you on…

Pedal Power – an introduction

On March 3, 2017, Posted by , In Pedal Power,Writing, With No Comments

My new book, Pedal Power, will be published on 13th April by Summersdale. It’s a collection of stories from all aspects cycling, from professional riders to stuntmen to long-haulers to those who use the bicycle as a form of rehab. It’s available to pre-order here, and below is a taster…

The philosophy of sewing

On February 28, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle, With No Comments

The curtains in my bedroom hang too long and the sunlight filters through them, nudging me from sleep each morning. Cutting them to size and stitching blackout material to the lining has risen to the top of the to-do list. Not for me the sewing machine, its power requirements too…

Billie and Kajsa

On January 4, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

On 1st January 1938, a young lady named Billie Fleming set off from London to complete a challenge that no one had ever attempted before: to set the women’s record for the most miles cycled in a year. The challenge had been launched in 1911 by Cycling magazine and was…