Anna Hughes

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West of Wales to east of England

On October 17, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling, With No 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,…

The morals of having children

On September 4, 2017, Posted by , In Lifestyle, With 8 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…

October event: guided ride and talk

On August 31, 2017, Posted by , In Cycling,Pedal Power, With No Comments

On October 1st I will have the pleasure of leading a guided ride and giving a talk in the beautiful Cotswolds. The ride is a 45-mile round trip between Calcot Manor Hotel near Tetbury and its sister hotel, Barnsley House, near Cirencester, and will be mostly along country lanes with…

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 2 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…

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…

Basic Bike Check

On December 30, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

New bicycle for Christmas? Here is a simple check that will help keep it road worthy.   A – air B – brakes C – chain D – direction E – everything else     Air. Pump tyres to the correct pressure – it is written on the side of…

The BeST ride: Greenwich to Peacehaven along the Meridian Line

On October 30, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

It’s the idea of my friend Ed, to celebrate the end of British Summer Time by cycling along the Meridian Line from capital to coast. We meet at the top of Greenwich Park, the whole of London laid out below in a blur of early-morning mist, the avenues of trees…

My vegan week

On October 15, 2016, Posted by , In Lifestyle,Vegan, With No Comments

My sister’s house has been home this week while my boat has some work done in the marina. To say thanks I’ve cooked dinner each night. For a sister and brother-in-law who are both meat-eaters, my vegan cooking has been something of a change for them. They’ve really loved it…

RideLondon 100

On August 8, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With 5 Comments

This is the fifth year of the RideLondon-Surrey 100, one of the legacies of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and the first time I’ve ridden in such a huge sportive. Nearly 30,000 people registered for the event, and I queue up at the start surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of…

I Need One Dance

On July 29, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

14th April 2016. David Cameron was Prime Minister. Boris Johnson was Mayor of London. Roy Hodgson was England manager. Bernie Sanders was giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the US Presidential Primaries. Chris Evans was the presenter of Top Gear. Peggy Mitchell was the queen of the…

In praise of lentils

On July 26, 2016, Posted by , In Lifestyle,Vegan, With 2 Comments

As a vegan, I’m often asked, “What do you eat?” One of my staples is lentils – a food I had barely eaten before becoming vegan, but something I couldn’t now live without. Lentils are high in protein and carbohydrates, and a good source of iron, fibre, B vitamins and…

The unlikely Ironman

On July 26, 2016, Posted by , In Ironman, With No Comments

This is the mother of all triathlons: a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. In June I travelled up to the Lake District to take part in the Lakesman iron-distance triathlon, an event I’d been training for solidly for 6 months. I’d never run…

Tips for safe cycling #3: Hazardous surfaces

On July 13, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

For the second time in two weeks, I’ve fallen off my bike. This isn’t a great score for someone who teaches people to ride bikes for a living, but perhaps it’s for a reason; just call me Anna ‘I Have Accidents So You Don’t Have To’ Hughes. The first fall…

Cycle Touring Festival 2016

On May 28, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Touring, With 1 Comment

It’s the second annual Cycle Touring Festival and I’m here in the beautiful setting of Waddow Hall in Lancashire. The weather is gorgeous and it’s very green: trees and long grasses cover the steep slope that leads down to the water. Some local boys have been walking across the top…

Tips for safe cycling #2: Taking the lane

On May 13, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

According to TfL, 77% of accidents happen at junctions. It’s understandable why this can be a hotspot for collision: there are two or more directions of traffic, visibility can be reduced, and confusion is common. For cyclists, the statistics are more scary: junctions are where most fatalities occur, especially when…

Open letter to Boris Johnson

On April 28, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

Dear Boris, Your Cycle Superhighways are advertised as “safer, faster and more direct” routes into the capital, providing routes for cyclists along the roads they might otherwise drive down – quick, direct routes into the capital that follow trunk roads. The infrastructure for motor vehicles is direct and clearly signposted, whereas…

The Daily Shower

On April 27, 2016, Posted by , In Lifestyle, With No Comments

Chris Stark from Radio 1 doesn’t shower in the morning. Scott Mills thinks it’s disgusting. I don’t shower in the morning; I don’t shower in the evenings either. Often I go an ENTIRE WEEK without washing. But don’t I smell? Well, no. Let’s start with hair. It’s a fairly common rumour…

The vegan Ironman

On April 12, 2016, Posted by , In Ironman,Vegan, With 4 Comments

When I have taken on challenges before, I’ve shied away from my vegan diet, unsure of whether I would survive intense physical activity on a plant-based diet. This time there’s no question: I’m vegan. Even with such a gruelling training regime, I’m sticking to it. And it is gruelling: I’m…

Ironman 70.3

On March 28, 2016, Posted by , In Ironman, With No Comments

Yesterday I completed a half ironman. This is something I never thought I’d do – just the name sounds ridiculous. Maybe that’s why they call it that – to put people off. Because actually, I found it easy. Well, as easy as swimming 1.2 miles, cycling 56 miles and running…

Midnight riding

On March 28, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

It’s 10.30pm when my alarm goes off, waking me from a brief nap. I set my snooze alarm twice before finally dragging myself out of bed and dressing in my cycling gear. It’s pitch black outside, with a few stars and an almost full moon visible between the clouds. I…

Five things cycling around Britain taught me

On March 23, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Round-Britain, With No Comments

It’s possible to cycle round the world. I haven’t done it myself, but I know plenty of people who have (including Al Humphreys, whose map this is). The world might seem impossibly huge – but keep the pedals turning and the miles soon pass. It’s true of any distance –…

Reflections on being an author

On March 20, 2016, Posted by , In Eat, Sleep, Cycle,Writing, With 9 Comments

It’s a year since I became an author, the culmination of three years of hard work putting pen to paper (well, fingertips to keyboard) and scraping together the story of my 4000 mile bike ride around the coast of Britain. I wrote a couple of blogs about the writing process…

On running

On March 19, 2016, Posted by , In Ironman, With No Comments

I’m teaching myself to run a marathon. I’ve never run a marathon before, and this is not just any marathon – it’s a marathon after having swum 2.4 miles and ridden my bike for 8 hours. I am taking part in the Lakesman iron-distance triathlon this summer, something I’d never…

A grand adventure for less than a grand

On March 8, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Round-Britain, With No Comments

A little while ago I was interviewed by Alastair Humphreys for his Adventure 1000 blog which aims to demonstrate how you can have a big adventure without spending loads of money and without being a super fit adventurer. Alastair has collated that interview along with loads of others in his new book…

Tips for safe cycling #1: Door Zone

On March 3, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

When I was 18 I moved to Manchester to start a music degree at Manchester University. To get from my student house to campus I had to cycle up Wilmslow Road through Rusholme – the Curry Mile – a busy route shared with vans unloading at the kerb side, buses,…

Why do I do it?

On February 24, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With 1 Comment

For as long as I can remember I have ridden a bike. It wasn’t so much a conscious decision to be a ‘cyclist’ but it just so happened that cycling ticked all the boxes. It was the quickest way to get to school, the cheapest way to get to university,…

Liverpool to Manchester ride

On February 6, 2016, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

I’ve always been fascinated by watercourses, the web of rivers and streams that dissects the land, flowing endlessly towards the sea. I love the path that they cut, both natural and manmade; it’s fascinating to see how we built our societies around rivers as a source of life, of trade,…

On reaching John o’ Groats

On October 13, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With 5 Comments

It’s been two weeks since I returned home from LEJOG, but real life starts straight away and this is the first time I’ve had the time (or inclination) to sit down with my laptop. On the road, everything is simple. You wake, dress, eat, and ride. Nothing is more important…

The Charity Shop Tour

On October 2, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

Knowing what to take on a cycling tour can be the trickiest part – you don’t want to take too much, as it ends up being dead weight, but you don’t want to take too little because you’re bound to need that one thing you omitted to bring. Looking back…

LEJOG wrap up: week four

On September 30, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

So, this was it: the final push to John O’Groats and the end of the tour. This was to be the longest week in terms of mileage (340) but the shortest in terms of events (only two). Without the pressure of a schedule, it really was all about the cycling….

Into the Highlands

On September 23, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

Yesterday I spent most of the day tracing waterways, from the River Clyde to the Forth and Clyde Canal, to the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. The West Loch Lomond cycle path led me loch side for 17 glorious traffic-free miles, with absolutely beautiful views across the loch. I pitched…

Roadside maintenance tips

On September 22, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

Anything can happen when you’re out on the open road, and here are a few tips of how to cope when things go wrong. Prevention is better than cure  The main thing I’ve learned in all my touring is that things are less likely to go wrong if they are…

LEJOG week three wrap-up

On September 21, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

This week has seen me travel from the metropolis of Manchester to the Lancashire hills, through the grand scenery of the Lake District and onwards to the flood plains around the Solway Firth. I’ve crossed the border into Scotland and now I’m in the bustling city of Glasgow. The cycling…

It’s not easy being… vegan

On September 19, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Vegan, With 1 Comment

I’ve been vegan on and off for around five years. I don’t see anything wrong with humans using animals as a source of food per se, but it’s the way we do it that I don’t agree with. The environmental impact of the meat and dairy industry is something to…

Into Cumbria

On September 17, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

It’s raining in London. While the roads that I usually ride down are surging with overflowing drains, I am pedalling from Lancaster to Kendal under a piercing blue sky. I feel exceptionally lucky: out of the 16 days that I’ve been on the road, there’s been only one day that…

LEJOG week two wrap-up

On September 14, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

I’m now halfway through the LEJOG book tour: 13 days down, 13 to go, 490 miles down, around 500 to go. The halfway point on any tour is potentially difficult – I have as much to do as I’ve already done, and it seems an awfully long time ago that…

A tribute to a colleague and friend

On September 14, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,Round-Britain, With No Comments

Many people helped and supported me during my round-Britain bike ride by offering a bed for the night, a meal at the end of the day, or by riding with me for a section. Regretfully, many of these didn’t make the final cut of the book; restricted by a word…

Coping with loneliness

On September 10, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,Touring, With No Comments

I was asked at a recent talk if I got lonely on the road and how I coped with it. I don’t often get lonely – I am very content being by myself – but sometimes you feel that you need some kind of comfort. I’ve written a few tips…

In search of the lost railways

On September 10, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

In 1963, the Government published a report entitled The Reshaping of British Railways, written by a certain Dr Beeching. It recommended the closure of around 5000 miles of railway line and over 2000 stations that had ceased to be profitable in the New Age of the Motor Car, and over…

LEJOG tour so far: week one

On September 6, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With 2 Comments

The first week of the Eat Sleep Cycle book tour is drawing to a close. I’m sitting in a field just north of Wells, laptop on knee, eating the leftovers of yesterday’s curry, having pitched up in a campsite. The tour started last Sunday with a cancelled train and a…

The C-word

On September 6, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With 2 Comments

Anyone who’s familiar with my round-Britain trip will know I’m not the camping type. Perhaps it was the forced nights-under-canvas on family holidays, perhaps it was the cold, wet, and fitful sleeps I suffered as a festival-going 20 something, or perhaps it was simply that a duvet and a shower…

Talks and travels

On September 4, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With No Comments

Day Four of the LEJOG book tour Last night I gave a talk at The Curator Cafe, Totnes. It was the third talk on my Land’s End to John o’ Groats book tour, having started the tour at Bike Chain Bissoe near Truro, and spoken at Rockets and Rascals in…

The best laid plans…

On August 31, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With 1 Comment

It’s the day before the LEJOG begins: in twelve hours I’ll be setting off from Penzance and pedalling to Land’s End, before turning back on myself and heading north west for that far-off destination of John o’ Groats. I’ve never ridden LEJOG before, but this is a special kind of…

Lessons from the road

On August 27, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,Round-Britain,Touring, With No Comments

Yesterday I met with Claire Taylor, author of Detour blog, a project that tries to open up adventurer culture in London. We spoke about what it’s like to go on that first tour; what you need to know, and how you learn it. As an experienced tourer it’s easy to…

The Pedalling Pedlar

On June 28, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,LEJOG,Touring, With 1 Comment

In September 2015 I shall be embarking on the famous End-to-End ride, from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. It’s a distance of 1000 miles, and I’ll take a month to ride it, because as well as enjoying the cycling and exploring new places, I will be promoting my book: Eat,…

London to Brighton – a lesson learned

On June 25, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

I never much liked the idea of organised bike rides. They seemed to make too big a thing of cycling, like it’s not something someone normal would do. I always baulked slightly at the forced sponsorship. The sheer number of people would spoil the enjoyment – I am much happier…

Cycling as a woman

On June 3, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

One of the panel sessions at the recent Cycle Touring Festival was entitled ‘Cycling as a Woman’. I was asked to sit on the panel alongside touring aficionados Emily Chappell and Helen Pike. We covered many issues in the discussion that I thought would be useful to revisit here, especially…

A quick dash through the Lancashire hills

On May 5, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling,Touring, With 1 Comment

Bank holiday weekend was spent in the Ribble Valley at the Cycle Touring Festival – a gathering of cycle tourers old and new organised by round-world cyclists Tim and Laura Moss. It was a melting-pot of ideas from over 200 cyclists, some veterans, some novices, the young, the old and…

River Swim

On April 13, 2015, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

It’s the kind of outlandish idea that is conceived at the end of the night when too much booze has been drunk. We decide I’ll swim down to Jonny’s boat, then we’ll both swim back to mine. We are moored about 15 boats apart. I wake and instantly remember the…

Exchanging Places

On February 23, 2015, Posted by , In Cycling, With 1 Comment

Part of my job as a cycling instructor is to deliver SUD (Safe Urban Driving) courses to lorry drivers. The SUD was introduced because, while HGVs make up the lowest percentage of vehicles on London’s roads, they are involved in the highest proportion of fatalities. The course involves taking a group…

Which is easier, writing or riding?

On January 27, 2015, Posted by , In Eat, Sleep, Cycle,Writing, With No Comments

Having cycled 4000 miles then written a book about it, many people ask me which was easier. Before I started the cycle trip, I thought I knew a lot about cycling. I was a daily cyclist and had been my whole life – how hard could it be to turn that…

Boat moving

On December 2, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

The terms of my boat licence mean I’m not allowed to stay in any one place for longer than 14 days. The Canal and River Trust specify certain areas that you’re supposed to move between but as long as you move a reasonable distance they tend not to mind. If…

Writing a book

On November 29, 2014, Posted by , In Eat, Sleep, Cycle,Writing, With 4 Comments

The book ‘Eat, Sleep, Cycle’ has been in the writing for two and a half years. I never thought I would write a book, but I had lots of positive feedback from the readers of my blog, so about six months after I returned from my adventure I decided to…

The Great Helmet Debate

On October 30, 2014, Posted by , In Cycling,Road Safety, With No Comments

As a cycling instructor, I am frequently asked about helmet use. Many of the comments I hear from frustrated road users conclude with, “and they’re not even wear a helmet!” It seems that most drivers would prefer it if cyclists wore helmets – those who don’t are deemed irresponsible. It’s…

How they do it in the Netherlands

On August 27, 2014, Posted by , In Cycling, With 3 Comments

I recently went to the Netherlands on holiday, and was absolutely bowled over by the culture of cycling. I knew that the Dutch are world leaders in cycling, but you have to see it to believe it. Everyone cycles. Young, old, black, white, cool, geeky, students, office workers. Riding a…

A microadventure

On May 23, 2014, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

I’m standing at the top of a hill in Richmond Park with four new friends, about to embark on a microadventure. The plan is to cycle from the confines of the city until we are surrounded by the Surrey countryside, to eat, drink and be merry, then sleep under the…

Which bike is good for touring?

On May 3, 2014, Posted by , In Cycling,Touring, With No Comments

If you’re touring, you’ll be on that bike for hours, days, weeks and maybe months at a time. While there’s no such thing as a ‘right’ bike (people tour on town bikes, road bikes, recumbents, mountain bikes, even Bromptons!), it’s important to have a bike that’s right for you. The…

Hertford cruise

On April 29, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

Free from coots, I decided to travel as far up the River Lea as I could. The Navigation ends in Hertford so that is where I aimed – 15 miles away, which is only an hour and a half by bicycle, but approximately 10 hours by boat. Start: Enfield Lock…

The composting toilet

On April 5, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

Toilets on boats are usually either a pump-out toilet, where the waste is kept in a holding tank until you can pump it out (either by taking it to a marina or waiting until the pump-out boat comes by), or a chemical toilet, where the waste is held in a small cassette…

Coots

On March 29, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

Two coots have taken up residence in one of the tyre fenders on my boat. For some reason they have decided that this is a good venue to start a family. This means I’m legally not allowed to move the boat until they have finished nesting, which could be up…

Keys overboard!

On March 9, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

Rules for living on a boat: use a cork ball float as a keyring always put keys in zip-up pocket don’t have animated conversations when stepping on board The evening that you’re entertaining guests is probably not the best time to ignore the above rules and loose the keys overboard….

Adventure podcast

On January 24, 2014, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

I had the recent privilege of being interviewed by Roz Savage for her Adventure Podcast. Roz is a record-breaking ocean rower – the first woman to solo row the world’s three big oceans: Atlantic, Pacific and Indian. She has written two books about her ocean rows: “Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons…

A view from the towpath

On January 12, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

Frosty mornings on the river are beautiful. I especially love it when the rowers are out.  

Slow Gin

On January 6, 2014, Posted by , In Boating, With No Comments

I’ve moved onto a narrow boat on the River Lea. She’s called Slow Gin and she’s 60ft long with a 6ft beam. I moved in on 31 December and saw the New Year in on the water. “You’re brave,” people say to me. “This is the hardest time of year…

Cycling to the sea

On December 20, 2013, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

ON 1st August 2011 I cycled from London to Southend — the first step of a 4000-mile, 10-week journey round the coast of Britain. The route is fairly flat, tracing the River Thames from the confines of the city to the salt-tainted air of the coast. At the time I…

What’s going on with all these cycling deaths?

On November 22, 2013, Posted by , In Cycling, With No Comments

That was a question asked to me by my elder sister, who’s been told by her husband that he doesn’t want her riding a bike anymore. The statistic is terrifying — six deaths in thirteen days! — but, to put it in perspective, in total there have now been an…

An unfortunate incident

On August 10, 2013, Posted by , In Cycling, With 5 Comments

N.B. Please don’t let this post put you off cycling in London. Cycling in London is (most of the time) brilliant — quick, easy, free, enjoyable — and I find most drivers to be courteous and considerate. Then there are the unfortunate few… This happened as I was on my…

Life at Sea

On June 8, 2013, Posted by , In Sailing, With 1 Comment

I’m currently living on a sailing boat, journeying round the coast of Britain. The trip is run by South West Marine Training, and is called the Round Britain Experience (as is the boat) — aside from a previous two day excursion, which involved motoring round a harbour, I’ve never sailed…

Sailing round Britain

On April 28, 2013, Posted by , In Sailing, With No Comments

A day on the boat begins at around 7am, when the combination of ropes and waves knocking against the hull forces me out of my cosy sleeping bag and into the cold heads. The boat is rocking even though we’re moored – a floating pontoon doesn’t offer much stability, and…