Tag Archives: cycle
29. Jun, 2014

Ipanema Turtles – get the book!

Ipanema Turtles – get the book!

Read about our South American adventure by bike in our new book, Ipanema Turtles. It is available to download from Amazon as an eBook or to order in paperback – check it out now!

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16. Sep, 2013

Mountain biking in the Troodos Mountains

Mountain biking in the Troodos Mountains

For all the cycling we’ve done, neither of us had ever tried mountain biking. So in Cyprus for a last bit of summer sun, we decided to take a day off from writing the book about our South America trip and to head into the mountains to give it a go.

We hired bikes from Mike at Bikin’ Cyprus Adventures who was to be our guide for the day. Immediately, I was aware of the many differences between our steel touring bikes and these lightweight mountain bikes with their grippy fat tyres and soft suspension. (more…)

01. Sep, 2013

A few days cycling around the Isle of Wight

A few days cycling around the Isle of Wight

The barriers lifted and we bumped our bikes over the rumble strips and up the ramp. Behind us, motorbikes revved up and children scampered back into their campervans. It was 5pm on a warm, muggy Friday evening in August and it was clear that the weekend couldn’t start soon enough for the waiting passengers.

Ushered to the front of the boat, we lent the bikes against the raised exit ramp, asking twice to make sure that there was no risk of the ramp deploying mid-voyage sending our bikes for a dip in the Solent. Across the water, beyond the white sails of yachts making use of the evening breeze, the Isle of Wight stretched out hazily on the horizon.  (more…)

28. Jun, 2013

Pedalling about down under: a few days on Rottnest Island

Pedalling about down under: a few days on Rottnest Island

When the invite arrived for my friend’s wedding in Perth this Easter it didn’t take long for us to accept. Since we got back from South America, we’ve been working lots and dreaming about what adventures life holds next. So, an opportunity for an extended break, some sun and discovering Western Australia was too good to miss, and of course there was a wedding to celebrate too.

Collecting the bikes & helmets from the bike hire, Rottnest

Collecting the bikes & helmets from the bike hire, Rottnest

First though, there was a small issue of Pier’s hen party, which was to take place on Rottnest, a small island about 18km off the coast of Perth. Dutch sailors landed there in 1658 and thinking the furry quokkas, that we would get to ‘befriend’, were rats, they named the place Rottnest, ‘Rat nest’.

It is now a popular tourist destination and Paddy and I joined day-trippers on one of the ferries that shuttles people back and forth. At AU$40 plus an AU$21 government fee, it must be one of the most expensive ferry rides in the world, but at least it was quick and the seas calm.

Bikes can be taken on board, for about AU$20 return, but we had decided to hire them on the island. We planned to spend Friday exploring the island for Paddy’s birthday, before the girls arrived for the party the next day at which point Paddy would escape. It cost about $30 per bike for 24 hour hire from the local shop. The bikes clanked a bit and half of the gears didn’t work, but they were fine for what we needed considering the undulating terrain on tarmac roads.

Paddy with the bikes by the beach

Enjoy the beautiful weather on Rottnest

Helmets on, as is compulsory in the whole of Australia, the fun started. Cycling is easy on Rottnest and is the most popular way to get around the 18km long island, as few vehicles are allowed. We followed the main road clockwise, stopping to admire the turquoise sea as is lapped into hidden coves and ship wrecks that poked out of the surf. For lunch, we pulled up at an empty picnic hut and enjoyed a feast whilst having the white, sandy beach all to ourselves. Paddy took the opportunity to do some snorkelling whilst I topped up my tan which had all but disappeared over the English winter.

The cycling was lovely, if a little hilly up and down across the island’s sand dunes, and, it was a bit of a shock when we turned to head back and hit a blustery headwind that had us pushing hard on the pedals in our flip flops. We’d heard about the Australian wind from other cyclists, and our experience did nothing to convince us that we might like to spend a long time riding into it. A few days later, on a road trip where by car it took two hours at a time to get between settlements, we agreed that we won’t be packing up our bikes and heading for a ride through mainland Oz anytime soon; we just aren’t that sadistic.

A little quokka

A little quokka

The bikes were a great way to explore and a lot of fun and after said goodbye to Paddy the next morning I joined the girls who had decided to up the amusement levels by hiring a tandem. We put Cathy, a PT teacher, in charge at the front and she managed to keep us upright. I’ve always wanted to try out a tandem, but at the back I found it quite disconcerting leaving the steering and braking to somebody else, and can now appreciate why Paddy won’t get on one with me in control.

We spent the day wobbling up and down the sand dunes, snorkelling, sunbathing, spotting spiders and trying to avoid riding into their huge webs that hung between trees. There were gin and tonics to drink on the beach, whilst keeping a watchful eye for snakes rustling in the undergrowth and we visited picturesque lighthouses that kept ships safely away from the shallow waters that makes Rottnest a top snorkelling destination. As we turned around to head back for the hen party games that evening, the wind was still blowing, but we were spurred on by thoughts of a cold glass of wine watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean.

Lou and Cathy on the tandem

Lou and Cathy on the tandem

I won’t go into events later than evening, and everything that happened once we’d persuaded the hen to swap her cycle gear for a kangaroo onesie.

All-in-all, we had a fantastic weekend on Rottnest, a beautiful place for cycling. Just bring your own bike if you like having gears and a good picnic, because it isn’t the cheapest place on earth for sure.

16. Jan, 2013

Back in London, but not on our bikes

Back in London, but not on our bikes

We’ve been back in London for a while now, but our bikes have made less of an appearance around town. Before we left for South America, we both commuted to work and used our bikes for generally getting around, but since we returned we’ve been pedalling less and less. Why? (more…)