Monthly Archives: August 2012

Such a lovely review…thanks so much Robert

5.0 out of 5 stars There is something very touching about this book, June 29, 2012
By
Robert C. Ross (New Jersey)
This review is from: Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria (Kindle Edition)

Ok, I’ll admit two things up front: I like books about families and how they deal with challenges and grief, and I am addicted to books written by travelers. It may seem odd to cycle 2,000 miles in 49 days across eight countries in order to deal with your grief over a son dead all too soon. But not to this couple, and after reading Eileen Sutherland’s account of their trip, not to me either.

A very important part of the book is how well this couple knew each other, how they take care of each other, how well they share the joys of the journey, and as someone mourning my wife of 40+ years, how well they handle their grief.

Read this section, and see if you see what I see:

‘Al, do you know where the map is?’

`I’m not going to get maps out at this time of night Eil,’ he muttered through toothpaste foam.

`Is there a time lock on maps then? Can we only look at them at certain times of day?’ I said,
warming to my theme. `Could be tricky if we’re lost at a time when we’re not allowed to open them.’

`That’s enough’, he said, `there’s no need to take the mick. I’m just saying it’s late, we’ve got a full
day’s cycling ahead of us tomorrow and we’ll make ourselves tired by looking at maps at this
stage.’

I grinned at him. Al’s great skill is sounding reasonable when he’s prevaricating and I’m familiar
with the technique.

As a last ditch attempt I said, `You do know where we’re going don’t you?’

He smiled across at me, `Ah the old tracking instincts,’ he said getting into bed, `they’ve never
let me down yet.’

Then he kissed me and turned over, taking the duvet with him.

Gosh, that seems so real to me. My wife always wanted to have a map to consult, but couldn’t read any of them worth a darn. I love maps, but greatly prefer to follow my nose — and am almost never lost. And we were very, very happy together for many years.

Al and Eil are too, despite the loss of their son. Heart warming, inspiring, tragic, all of that and more. I hope Eil will write a sequel about their further attempts to build a new life.

Robert C. Ross
June 2012

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Riding the Devil’s Triangle

Image

This was a great ride (approx 6miles) from Hotnitsa to the T junction at Resen, turn right, ride up 3 hills – the second one is the worst – long and high. Straight onto the next T junction just before the village of Samavodene. Take a right, there’s a short pull uphill then it’s downhill all the way back to Hotnitsa. The triangle is a right angled one with the 3 hills forming a sort of wavy hypotenuse.

As we rode the sun turned into a giant, red ball and bobbed about on the horizon for a while before disappearing.  I would have taken a photo if only I’d remembered the camera! However flushed with success we did the same ride again the next night and in the absence of a wonderful sunset I took a photo of Bertha standing next to the sign for the village.

Image Allan gave me the award above. I’m one of only 3 women/girls (you know who you are) to have completed the Devil’s Triangle ride  this summer.

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Top 10 books on cycling written by women?

I’m obviously feeling a bit creative today … this is the 3rd blog in a couple of hours. Not like me at all. Anyhow the purpose of this one is, I’m conducting a poll to find the top 10 books on cycling written by women. My contribution is, A Bike Ride by Anne Mustoe. Any thoughts?

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I know there’s a debate, to wear or not to wear a helmet but…

If you do wear one then take a look at  http://www.cyclechic.co.uk/

I bought my daughter a purple helmet for her birthday and she loves it. I tried it on before I gave it as a pres and it’s so comfortable. Plenty of things to adjust the fitting to your head and it feels light too. My sister in law recently bought the sky blue one (to match her eyes) and despite disparaging comments from her husband she wears it with pride.

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Resen bike ride

We’re in Bulgaria at the mo staying in our house in Hotnitsa, a village near the old Bulgarian capitol of Veliko Tarnovo. The weather is a steaming hot 38 degrees. With this in mind we set out the other day before the sun really got started and we rode to Resen, a village 7kms away. Not far you might say – and you’d be right! But under the circs: boiling weather, on a day when we were between groups of visitors, with me riding ‘Bertha’ for the first time in two years I think we did pretty well.
The ride was beautiful. Along smoothish lanes with dappled sunlight popping through the trees until we got to the railway crossing. This part is like a mini Beirut with  holes in the road, rail tracks standing proud of the tarmac and  gravel scattered like confetti over the whole area. But if you decide to do the bike ride don’t be put off by this bit, the rest is fun and it’s great to get to the centre of Resen and have a Turkish coffee at Meggie’s cafe.
I don’t have any photos of Resen but I do have a lovely photo of the waterfall in our village.

‘Bertha’ by the way is still a great bike to cycle. She feels safe, high and majestic!

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Authors who love to blog

I’m part of an exciting initiative called Author Blog-in.  Here are links to some of the authors taking part.   Watch this space for more…

August 11 – Sharon Trembley The End of the World Sucks.

http://sharonscrazycats.blogspot.com/2012/08/author-blog-in-day-1-end-of-world-sucks.html?spref=tw

August 12 – Kate Policani The Silver Collar http://katepolicani.com/2012/08/10/author-blog-in-the-silver-collar-by-kate-policani/

August 13 – Eileen Sutherland Changing Gear

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Author Blog-in

Changing Gear cover

Changing Gear

by Eileen Sutherland

Changing Gear is about love, loss and adventure. It’s available on Kindle here.

In the summer of 2006 Allan and Eileen cycled from Britain to Bulgaria. He was a fit 52 year old with a new Dawes Galaxy bike and she was an overweight 54 year old with a dodgy knee and an old Trek. They set off with only a hazy idea of the route and not much money.

Three years earlier, on the 8th August 2003, their son Matt had died unexpectedly while on holiday. Things were never the same after Matt’s death. Allan and Eileen had tried living normally and found they couldn’t do it. So they looked for alternative ways of being, one of which was to cycle from Britain to Bulgaria.

‘As we got on our bikes I experienced an intense sense of freedom. A fraying of the cord of sadness. I felt light and irresponsible. With few possessions to worry about and a sense of space stretching ahead, anything seemed possible…’

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