Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bikes and stuff

I was thinking about the bikes Allan and I rode to Bulgaria. He had a Dawes Galaxy – their strap line by the way is ‘Discover your world’ which is rather nice. And my bike at the start of the trip was a Trek. However that got stolen on the second night, so I bought ‘Bertha’ in Utrecht as a replacement.  Bertha was/is a Simplex 2500 bike. She’s completely different from the Trek and so took some getting used to. She’s really high, has sit up and beg handlebars, a dynamo, 12 speed gears and a wide, comfortable seat.

In a bid to find out more about Bertha I googled her real name, ‘Simplex 2500’.  The first result that came up was a link to a bike called the ‘Dutchie Chic’. It was such a fantastic name that I really wanted it to be my bike but it wasn’t! It turns out Bertha was made by the Simplex Automatic Machine Co, established in 1887 in Utrecht by an Englishman called, Charles Bingham… you learn something every day.

Anyhow this is a bit of a red herring because Bertha is still in Bulgaria and over here in the UK I have another Trek  In order to be in peak condition when I’m reunited with this bike in early April I have been attending aqua aerobics classes, good fun and more strenuous than you would think.

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Changing Gear: A bike ride from the UK to Bulgaria

The first chapter of my book is at

I’m hoping to publish the whole book on the Kindle pretty soon – fingers crossed that I ( or someone) can work out the technology.

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OK I’m 60 but to be honest I’m not on a bike yet

OK, I’m 60 but to be honest I’m not on a bike yet. I have been on one in the past. Most memorably that time in 2006 when Allan and I cycled  from Wallsend in the UK to Hotnitsa in Bulgaria. I have to say I’ve been resting on my laurels ever since. I even wrote a book about it…anything to prevent  getting back on the bike!

But now the time has come. I’m on a ‘sort of’ diet. I want to look funky at 60 not ‘old lady’ and to that end I’ve started my training programme  for the Eleanor O’Malley Commemorative  Bike Ride which will take place on April 25th. Training so far consists of a swim in the pool at Bishop Auckland yesterday. But it was vigorous as I only had half an hour before the kids’ swimming lessons began.

Let me tell you a bit about the ride. It will start in Tynemouth and end in Warkworth. There will be 3 women doing it and it will be done in honour of my mother, Eleanor (Nell) O’Malley who would have been 101 on the 25th of April this year. She was 100 when she died last December, a fun, independent, loving woman. I miss her.

The ride is 34 miles and according to  has a difficulty rating of 7/10 and should take about 3hrs 20mins….somehow I don’t think so! I’ll let you know how we get on and also what we ate to replenish the 1263 calories we used.

I wouldn’t like you to think that I haven’t been cycling at all since 2006 because I have – a little. Last year I rode to Cafe Bungalow in Sunderland and to the Berwick Youth Hostel. The Berwick ride was particularly memorable for the strong headwind, the exposed route and the stitch in my side.

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