Cycling holidays

Pop up Indie bookshop in Horsham, West Sussex

I’ve got a ‘slot’ at Daisy White’s pop up indie bookshop from 11.30-12.30 on Saturday 28th September. I’ll be reading from my book, ‘Changing Gear: a bike ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ and running a haiku workshop. You’ll be surprised to hear that the haiku topic will be cycling.

Horsham is a lovely market town with a great Saturday market, interesting little shops. and lovely cafes.

Why not take some time out on an autumnal morning and join me?

Hope to see you there.

popflyer_horsham_130927_29_Fbk Sept 2013

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Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, bookshops, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, haiku, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Folding bikes and a trip to Devon & Cornwall

Just bought two Dahon Vitesse folding bikes. They’re really nifty.  The 20 inch wheels make them easier to cycle and the  8 gears are a great help on hills. The blurb says it takes 15 seconds to fold them – not for us! Current time is about 3 mins and the first try took 15 mins on platform 5 at Gatwick but we’re getting slicker.

Folding bike on hols

Folding bike on hols

Went to St Ives by train and bike which was successful if a bit stressful in Reading station which seems to  be under reconstruction at the moment. Used the same travel method to get to the Eden Project which also worked fine. The most tricky trip however was one evening from Totnes to the Steiner school just outside Dartington. I tell a lie, the ride from Totnes to Dartington  on the lovely, countrified cycle paths was absolutely fine it was the ride back which was tricky.

We’d gone to an evening of anecdotes about a 3,500 mile cycle ride across Europe combined with a piano recital of Beethoven’s greatest hits – unusual I know! Jenni Quick – the pianist and cyclist delivered the  goods in a very entertaining way so much so that by the end of the performance we were surprised to find it was pitch black outside.

Running true to form we didn’t have any bike lights so it was a bit tricky finding the cycle path. Fortunately a woman who had attended the same event was going our way and she allowed us to follow her. A simple solution you would think. However the chosen route was through the woods on a narrow concrete path and our leader had a motor attached to her bike.  Consequently I kept slipping off the path and had difficulty keeping up with her. Soon she disappeared into the night and Al and I were left in inky darkness pushing our bikes. Happily our guide soon realised she’d lost us, turned around and came back and maintained a steady pace all the way back to Totnes. I don’t know what we’d have done without her.

By the way, Cornwall is the hilliest county in the world. I thought Northumberland was bad but it’s not a patch on the crags and climbs in Cornwall.

Categories: bike safety, Cornwall, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, Devon, fitness, Folding bikes, Hoildays, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Train stations, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prudential Ride London

This ride took place last Saturday. It was wonderful to ride alongside the Embankment and past Big Ben on roads which were free of cars. Approx 50,000 people took part. There were 3 stopping off points – Tower Hill, St Paul’s and Green Park where kids could play bike polo, cycle like mad to generate enough power to make themselves a smoothie and/or lie in the  sun and listen to some music.

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

A child dressed as a crocodile cycling to make a smoothie

For the first time Al and I got to grips with the Boris Bikes which were great until the end of the day when the booking machines began to break down – I suspect due to overuse.

I almost got a picture of Laura Trott dressed in the Wiggle Honda team strip waiting for her race, but she turned her head at the crucial moment!

A great event and perhaps shades of things to come. I hope so.

St Paul's stop off point

St Paul’s stop off point

Categories: bike safety, blog traffic, books, cool stuff in London, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, London, middle aged women getting fit, Prudential Ride London, Travel, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cycling and pop up indie bookshops

Picked up the Easy Way Cyling map for Crawley the other day. It’s a really good, handy sized map of the town centre cycle paths. I called Kay Wagland, one of the people at the council responsible for promoting cycling in Crawley and as a result found myself invited along to a trial ride with one of the councillors. She’s the glam looking one in the pic.

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Also had a great ride last Saturday to Horsham – about 8 miles each way. Left Crawley through Ifield, passing The Gate pub  (where incidentally the Boom Town Rats played just recently), rode through Rusper- which is a bit hilly but manageable and down into Horsham.  The purpose of the ride was to take part in Daisy White’s Pop Up Indie Bookshop

It was a really fun day, I ran a haiku competition, met people from the Crawley and Horsham Writers Circles and I (or should I say Daisy) sold 6 of my books – result!!

 

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, haiku, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, pop up indie bookshops, Travel, West Sussex, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Free book on Kindle for Bike Week

My book, ‘Changing Gear: A Bike Ride from Britain to Bulgaria’ is free on Kindle from tomorrow 15th June to 19th inclusive. UK Bike Week starts tomorrow. Click here for a copy http://tinyurl.com/co5b6ee

This next bit is unrelated but I have to include it in my blog. You would too if you had the opportunity…the other evening I attended the First Woman awards and had my photo taken with Clare Balding!! She’s a very nice woman and she did a great job at the event. Also I seem to remember she did a TV programme about a bike ride in the UK, so mentioning her is not entirely out of place here.  Re the photo below, I must learn from Clare how to look at the camera!!

IMG_0154

Categories: bike safety, books, Bulgaria, Clare Balding, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Kindle, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing, writing groups & societies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bike Week coming up in the UK 15-23 June

Bike Week starts a week on Saturday. See   http://www.bikeweek.org.uk/for details of events all over the country. I have to confess that I haven’t been on my blinking bike for ages now but I did manage a dip in the North Sea last week (wearing a wetsuit – I’m not entirely stupid) so all is not lost.

I was going to cycle from Warkworth to Howick in Northumberland today but I’ve been saved by visitors. Seriously though, it’s a lovely bike ride, skirting picturesque Alnmouth and riding alongside crashing waves on the rocky shore of Boulmer.

Howick was the home of Earl Grey (you can have a cup of his tea in the beautiful high ceilinged tea room) and his wife and 15 children. The children all survived, no mean achievement in those days, they called their parents by their christian names and had to undergo a right of passage when they got to their teens. The rite of passage comprised walking at night for one & a half miles through Howick gardens to the bathing house down by the shore. Quite scary stuff. The bathing house is another delight. Situated right on the shore with a natural bathing pool alongside, hollowed out by the sea.

You’d think I worked for the Northumberland Tourist Board but I can’t help waxing lyrical on a day like this in Warkworth when the sun is shining, the sea is the bluest of blue and there’s no wind – perfect!

Categories: bike safety, books, cycle rides, cycling, Cycling holidays, fitness, Howick Hall, middle aged women getting fit, Northumberland, Uncategorized, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m so excited…..

I looked at the Kindle rankings this morning and saw my book was number 14 in the Kindle travel section. There are 31,445 books in that section! How cool is that?

But then, to use a ‘Pointless’ phrase, things got even more exciting, when I checked the Kindle non-fiction rankings. There are 1,090,000 books in this section and Changing gear is number 179!!!!

This is probably too many numbers for this time in the morning, so I’m going to stop now and go to the V&A and get inspired.

Thanks to everyone who has bought/downloaded a copy of Changing Gear.

Categories: books, Bulgaria, cycling, Cycling holidays, downloading, Kindle, London, loss, love, middle aged women getting fit, Top 20 travel books on Kindle, Top 200 non-fiction books on Kindle, Travel, womens cycling, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cycling in Bulgaria

The snowy weather put paid to our cycle trip to Cafe Oto in Dalston. We were meant to go last Friday evening. Got the bike lights ready and everything …then the snow came…then the trains were cancelled..so we ended up with a Friday night in. Not what I was expecting. Since then I’ve had a couple of  rides to the shops through sleet and biting wind but other than that there’s nothing to report on the cycling in Crawley front.

Which is why my mind turned to Bulgaria and the sun. Last summer we did half a dozen rides around our village of Hotnitsa. They varied in length and difficulty and were good fun. Therefore I was wondering if anyone (probably over the age of 50 to be fair – don’t think I could go fast enough for younger folk) would be interested in a cycling holiday in Bulgaria? May or June would be best when the weather is good but not too hot. We could provide accommodation, veggie meals, conducted cycle rides and an intro to the bright lights of Veliko Tarnovo.  Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll develop the idea.

Categories: Bulgaria, cycling, Cycling holidays, Hoildays, middle aged women getting fit, Travel, womens cycling | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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