Category Archives: Cycling

Bike Ride

“One of the most important days of my life was when I learned to ride a bicycle. “Michael Palin
That’s a great quote from Michael Palin!

Work was a bit slow this morning so I decided to go out for a bike ride after practicing on my unicycle. I rode out of the housing village and into Toamasina, it gives me a real buzz to ride among all the Pouss Puss, Tuc Tucs, other bikes, pedestrians, chickens, goats, the odd turkey and all while trying to avoid the rather generously proportioned potholes! On the way back, I took the more scenic route, which I am sure you will agree with me, parts of it are rather pretty! Here you go…

 

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Ocean 501 Tamatave

“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.”
― Amit Ray, Meditation: Insights and Inspirations

We are so fortunate to live not only in a unique place, but also one which is surrounded by beautiful places.

We popped over to Ocean 501 for a bite to eat on Monday. It was a religious holiday here, something to do with the Assumption of something or another. Important bit was that it was a day to chill out. What better way to get there than a good bike ride! I asked our driver to follow me as I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going. Yes, he followed me. Whenever I needed to turn he would beep the horn and indicate, a system which worked a treat! On the way back I actually followed one of the other drivers back part of the way. Problem with doing that is that they tend to drive too slowly for my liking!

Ocean 501 is a lovely restaurant in unequaled surroundings just outside Tamatave. I arrived at 11 am and requested a table outside which they duly set up for us. The views are pretty amazing! Cathy, Katja and a couple of other people joined me about an hour later. This gave me a chance to chill out and have a beer!

We had a fabulous meal which at 20 GBP for a three course meal for the three of us it is extremely reasonable! Riding back took me a little longer than riding there!!

And for the rest of the afternoon? What else other than practice my unicycling skills while Cathy chilled out for a bit and Katja played!

Mike on a Bike Along the Danube

“The best rides are the ones where you bite off much more than you can chew, and live through it.” ~ Doug Bradbury

In cycling there’s freedom, freedom most human beings crave for. I cannot think of anything nicer than being at one with nature and watch the world go by bit by bit. Just myself and my thoughts, taking it all in, the scenery, the smells, the struggles and the joy of hitting my targets.

Ever since I can remember I have wanted to go on a long distance ride on a bike. I have done this on a motorbike across the UK and down to southern France. Having been inspired (not influenced) by a number of long distance cyclists, I feel it is time I lose a bit of weight, get on my bike and go for it. The Route of the Danube or Eurovelo 6 is a ride which takes you across some of the most beautiful parts of Europe and into lesser known countries. It is a relatively easy route which for a first long tour, I think would be just great.

The plan is to set off on May 12th 2016 and fly to Germany. There I will ride to Passau which is where the river Danube starts. When living in Bulgaria I spent a lot of time by the Danube and on several occasions came across cyclists following its banks. The route will take me from Germany into Austria and then onto Hungary and then into Serbia. From Belgrade I will head to Sofia (Bulgaria), this bit I will do by train. My aim is to be in Sofia by June 1st. From Sofia I will once again head North West and hook up onto the Danube and head east to the Black Sea.

Key Cities Screenshot 2015-08-03 13.21.55

Passau (Germany)
Linz (Austria)
Viena (Austria)
Bratislava (Slovakia)
Budapest (Hungary)
Novi Sad (Serbia)
Belgrade (Serbia)
Vidin (Bulgaria)
Lom (Bulgaria)
Ruse (Bulgaria)
Silistra (Bulgaria)

Back to UK

I am currently debating on how to do this. Yes, there’s the option of flying back from Romania or Bulgaria but the idea would be to time it so I can meet up with Cathy and Katja back in the UK so I may do the return trip as a mixture of trains and riding up to Paris and then catch the Eurotunnel, this final leg of the journey I haven’t planned too much yet.

Training and Equipment

Sheltering from the rain!

I am quite comfortable cycling approx 100 km a day, I can do this now without too many problems (providing I don’t have too many punctures!). However, this trip is a different story altogether as I will need to cycle day in day out. Unfortunately the weather here is too hot to even contemplate cycling so I shall have to content myself with the bike in the gym; we are very fortunate to have a full gym on site! I will start cycling an average of 75km 5 days one 1 day off, this is pretty much the pattern I am hoping to follow.

From Passau to Budapest, there are numerous campsites at regular intervals so that’s not too bad, once you enter Serbia, it seems to be that campsites become less and less so I shall have to do a mixture of cheap hostels and camping whenever I can. When we were in England I picked up a nice Giant (brand) bike along with some panniers. I still need to get some further kit but that can wait until early next year and then start doing some fully laden rides (tent, clothes, cooking equipment etc etc) just to replicate what every day riding will be like. As far as equipment is concerned, it probably works out to be an additional 15 kg on top of the weight of the bike. My program and target is to lose 10 kg (which I really need to) before setting off, this will help a bit towards the extra weight on the bike!

Love Cycling?

Have you ever pushed yourself to your limit? Then how do you know that you have one?

For those of you who have known me for a while will know that I love my bike(s). When I was younger, these usually had a big four cylinder engine between the front and rear wheel, however, prior to that, I loved cycling. As a kid I would cycle to school pretty much every day. In the past five years or so as I have grown a bit older (not quite grown up yet), I have rediscovered my love for cycling. One of my dreams would be to go on a long cycle tour. Cycling is not only healthy, but a fantastic way to take in all of your surroundings. Today, Doha Joy Rides posted a fantastic video which I thought I’d share with you (I apologise as there are a couple of swear words here and there). It’s in four parts. Enjoy…