Cycling trip

Off yet again!

On Friday the 25th of May, intrepid traveler Kaye is off on her next adventure! This time cycling from Dublin to Denmark, on the TDA Global Cycling “Pub Ride”. I’ll be receiving, editing, and uploading her missives for your entertainment once again, so watch this space. This ride is the first of hers that I’ve actually been even slightly interested in doing myself! Heading off to the UK/Europe for their summer, cycling from pub to pub, visiting breweries, staying in hotels? Sounds great! Well, apart from the cycling part . . .

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The Experience

Over 5 weeks we’ll cycle from storied Dublin to the waterfront of Copenhagen. Through Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Denmark. To the great cities of Belfast, Edinburgh, York, London, Bruges, Brussels, Amsterdam and Hamburg. Each day’s journey through lush green countryside, villages and historic cities giving us an opportunity to discover a new land, a new brew, a new spirit!

We’ll leave our tents at home for this journey, with a bed greeting us each night and we’ll share our meals together in local eateries. For it is in the pubs where the community meets, where stories are told and retold and where local life unfolds.

After a night of sampling a couple pints of the ‘real’ Guinness and perhaps a few shots of Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey the riders will head out from the historic Temple Bar area of Dublin and head north through the green Irish countryside before catching a ferry to Scotland. After a day sipping some of Scotland’s finest single malt whiskies in Edinburgh’s legendary pubs the cyclists will spin south stopping each evening to sample some of the local brews. Another day off will allow the riders to explore some of England’s most fascinating medieval architecture – the walled city of York. The last stretch takes the cyclists through the fabled university city of Cambridge before cycling into London past Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge. This cosmopolitan city marks the mid-point of this amazing adventure.

Leaving the British capital after a couple of days of exploring the city’s numerous pubs, the riders will head south to the White Cliffs of Dover. There they will board a ferry to cross the English Channel to the European continent and Bruges, a picturesque town whose medieval old town is a UNESCO World Heritage sight. A rest day in Belgium’s capital, Brussels will give the participants a chance to sample some of the world’s finest beers, perfected over the years by Trappist monks, initially to aid in their fasting. A couple days later the tour spins into the home of Heineken, Amsterdam and its renown cafes, canals, bicycles and red light district.

The route now takes the cyclists across Northern Germany stopping for a rest day in Hamburg, the country’s largest port. Here riders can revel in the city’s maritime spirit and, over a litre mug of the local brew, remember how this city started the Beatles on their storied career. In another couple of days the cyclists will find themselves on a ferry heading for the shores of Denmark, the last country on this tour. Home to Tuborg and Carlsberg, two of the world’s most well-known breweries, the friendly and welcoming city of Copenhagen marks a fitting end to the Pub Ride.

 

Categories: Cycling trip, Information, The Pub Ride, Uncategorized | 10 Comments

Up next: The Odyssey

My next trip is not far away now! This time in two weeks I will be on the plane 🙂  On my way to join The Odyssey for section 2 and 3 (I am missing section 1), cycling from Sarajevo to Amsterdam.

As always I am regretting my increased girth and lack of training, but looking forward to the trip. After the trip I am catching up with my daughter Shellbe who is currently living in London. Then I head home and back to reality, until the next trip! 🙂 I

I am doing 22 riding days and 2,150 kilometres, so keeping at the roughly 100kms a day riding rate from previous trips – but this time there is no tent, no sleeping bag, and no sleeping mat – it’s proper accommodation all the way, wahoo!

 

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Categories: Cycling trip, Information, Preparations, The Odyssey | 10 Comments

November 13th – Tourist in Auckland

Today I woke up quite early and headed off to have breakfast, then back at 10am for the riders meeting. It was great to see Sue, Wali, Michelle, Tony, Chris and Linda again, plus meet the other riders whose names I will get to know.

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I am not sure that I have trained enough and am feeling fat, so the prospect of continuous days riding in NZ is a bit daunting. Also it looks like the weather may not be great. On the plus side for the first five nights we have hot pools each night, and there are only three riding days till the first rest day.

Our first three days of riding

Our first three days of riding

Tomorrow we have the joys of navigating our way out of Auckland to look forward to, with turns every kilometre or less. At least the traffic will mostly be coming into Auckland not going out.

The whiteboard instructions for leaving Auckland

The whiteboard instructions for leaving Auckland

Tomorrow we are staying in Miranda at the hot springs and we go past a fresh oyster shop (yum) on the way.

I went to a really nice restaurant called The Depot for lunch with Brett, Michelle and Tony, and we shared a range of small plates. The food was really good. So good that when we met up as a group for dinner and Sue really wanted to go to The Depot we happily went again.

Lunch with Michelle and Tony and Brett at The Depot

Lunch with Michelle and Tony and Brett at The Depot

This afternoon we went up the Sky Tower and watched a brave – or crazy! – young guy do the SkyJump! You free fall until just about at the end – 192 metres! Not for me.

Sky City Tower

The Sky City Tower at 328 metres tall it is the tallest man-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere, and 25th tallest tower in the world.

View from Sky Tower - Auckland withRangitoto Island in the background

View from Sky Tower – Auckland with Rangitoto Island in the background

Now I am sorting out my bags, trying to work out what I can do without until the rest day – not much and I am trying to make sure I can still fit my pillow in. Then it will be an early night as we have a 6am start to get up and out of here.

Categories: Cycling trip, Trans-Oceania | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trans-Oceania 2016

Only 10 days till Kaye is off on her next trip! This one isn’t an ‘Epic’ trip for Kaye – she is just doing the 2,095 kilometre leg of the trip in little old New Zealand – right in her back yard!

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Kaye will be joining a trip that started at the top of Australia in Darwin and travelled down to Sydney, before flying across the Pacific to begin the NZ leg in Auckland. They’ll then travel down the North Island before a brief stop in Kaye’s home town of Wellington, then continuing on down the South Island to Queenstown.

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Categories: Cycling trip, Information, Trans-Oceania | 5 Comments

That Kaye, she’s a determined one!

Editor’s Post:

Two years ago today, on the 21st of November 2013, Mum sent us the email below. I found it in my emails recently when I was looking for a different email from her, and it made me smile, to know that she is on the trip now. She’s so determined, brave, and a little crazy, and I’m so proud of her 🙂

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kaye
Date: Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Subject: Bicycle touring in South America | Adventure Travel with TDA | Tour D’Afrique Ltd.#/?t=south-american-epic

http://tourdafrique.com/tour-overview/?t=southamericanepic#/?t=south-a
merican-epic

Hi family
Am planning to do this bike ride from July 2015 to Dec 2015

xxxx

Categories: Cycling trip | Tags: | 3 Comments

South American Epic: Section 7

Stage7map Stage7words

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Day 1: Cartagena to Finca – 90k

90km down: 13,551km to go

The group!  (Photo credit: Tour De Afrique Instagram)

The group official start photo!
(Photo credit: Tour De Afrique Instagram)

We left the hotel and rode the first 20 kilometres in a convoy, then after that we rode at our own speed. It was so hot, it got up to 36 degrees! I’m not really used to the trip bike, have not done enough training, and am carrying too much weight – it’s not a great combination.

Official start photo!

Official start photo! (photo credit: Sue)

There was crazy traffic – big trucks, lots of scooters, horses, donkeys pulling wagons, people on motor bikes with long pieces of wood and chairs etc, whole families on the same bike. I saw milk urns being brought out to the road by a donkey. About every kilometre there were people selling mangos and water. There were quite a few check points and tolls, but bikes are able to go through for free. With the mangos you couldn’t buy just one you had to buy about 20 and I am already carrying enough weight with my gear on the bike. Every three kilometres or so there would be a highway bar run by locals with beer, water, and homemade lemonade. I bought a bit of water to pour over my head. The sun was beating down and there was a slight breeze but not enough to offset the heat. I stopped to put on sunscreen, but forgot to do my legs the first time I reapplied sunscreen and will need to wear leg warmers tomorrow to cover the sun burn on my legs but my arms were fine. Lunch stop was at the 60 kilometre point, I could quite happily have stayed there. Broke the afternoon into two stages.

Lunch stop (photo again stolen from Sue's Facebook page)

Lunch stop (photo credit: Sue)

I finally got to camp and it was still so freaking hot. We stayed at a farm for the night. There were so many chickens, chicks, ducklings, dogs and puppies, a donkey, one cat and – it turns out – roosters.

Arriving at camp

Arriving at camp (photo credit: Sue)

When I got there I had a sleep and woke up drenched. The camp was by a main highway and with the heat and the trucks it was hard to sleep. The rosters started about 4:30am and then the dogs and then the donkey chimed in. No one asked this morning “Did you sleep well?”. Some of the riders who have done a number of rides said it was the worse night they had ever had. I lay in my tent, dripping with sweat and thinking “Seriously, I want to do this because??”.

Categories: Columbia, Cycling trip, South American Epic | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Bulletin #17 – Road Conditions

June 2nd, 2015

Road Conditions

The majority of the scouting on the trip has now been completed.  The general tire recommendations for your bicycles which were made in an earlier bulletin remain true.  However we’d like to give a few more details of the roads in each country.

The Undiscovered Country

For those doing the full tour or starting their sections in Colombia, we can not recommend highly enough that you put in some serious hours of cycling in the next month in preparation.  It is a very hilly, challenging start to the tour and the fitter you are the better time you will have and the healthier you will remain.  Approximately 75% of the route is paved, however a lot of the pavement is not smooth tarmac and will have some potholes, uneven surfaces or short stretches of gravel.  The unpaved portion of the route is hard packed dirt with rocks in areas.  You’ll need your wider tires for these stretches and your brakes should be in top shape for the descents.

Coffee and Cocoa

Very similar to the previous section, we will have about 75% paved roads.

Volcano Alley

We are looking at about 75% pavement with the main amount of off road being in the mountains of Peru north of Lima.

The Gringo Trail

This stretch is about 95% paved, however as we climb up out of Nazca towards Cusco we’ll face some detoriorating roads with gravel stretches, potholes etc…

Incan Highlands

We are lucky to cycle almost entirely on paved roads, including our journey past Lake Copacabana.

Cycling the Salt Flats

Approximately 60% of this section is paved.  The unpaved portions are a mix of quite rough rocky roads, and even some sandy stretches near the Salt Flats.  The Salt Flats themselves are unpaved but the surface is very smooth.

Across the Andes

This section is approximately 85% paved.  A good chunk of the portion that is not paved is a very tough stretch as we are getting closer to the Chilean border.  The paved stretches are for the most part well maintained and in good shape.

The Lake District

This section will have about 85% pavement, with most of the paved stretches in good condition.

Carretera Austral

This section has the most off road of the tour.  Approximately 55% is paved, with the rest being a mix of gravel, hard packed dirt and even a stretch of narrow trails when crossing the Chilean/Argentinian border!:)  You’ll spend a fair bit of this section on your wider tires.

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Bulletin #1 – Welcome, Early payment & General Info

December 11, 2013

We would like to welcome you to the 2015 South American Epic Bicycle Expedition!

You will be cycling this amazing continent from top to tip; starting in Cartagena, Columbia on the shores of the Caribbean; up and down the Andes ‘a few times’; covering Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina; exploring the Bolivian Salt Flats, Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu; visiting some of the grand cities like Bogota, Quito, Lima, La Paz, Santiago; cycling through the stunning Patagonia region of southern Chile and Argentina, and finishing in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego on the shores of the Drake Passage. Along the way you will pedal through 14 UNESCO World Heritage sites, a dozen National Parks and numerous other areas of historical and archeological interest.

We are pleased to announce the inclusion of a Stage Race component as part of the 2015 South American Epic Tour. Moreover, because the SA Epic will be the world’s longest Expedition on 2 wheels, covering a colossal 13,740 km between Cartagena, Colombia and Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, in a little over 5 months, it will also gain the title of the World’s Longest Stage Race, surpassing the 11,700 km of our very own Tour d’Afrique.

You can expect regular bulletins from us in the coming months. Here are some of topics that will be covered in these updates:

  • Visas required for the tour
  • Packing tips
  • Training tips
  • Touristic highlights along the way
  • Medical and vaccination suggestions
  • Travel insurance, what you need to know
  • And so much more…

Bulletin 1

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Here we go again!

In 42 sleeps, I am off again on another adventure – this time heading off on the South American Epic. I will be gone for almost 6 months, cycling from Columbia to Argentina, covering 13,641 kilometres – on road and off!

My generous daughter Kelly has agreed to ‘curate’ this blog again, so I am hoping to keep you all up to date with my travels, experiences, and mishaps.

In preparation for my trip, Kelly has given the blog a bit of a makeover, and included a page of information about the new trip. Over the coming couple of weeks, in the lead up to heading off, I will be posting some of the “bulletins” of information we have been getting from the tour company, to give you an idea of the preparation that goes into the trip, as well as what to expect.

I have learnt a few things from last time – this time I am not going to:

  • Work until the day before I leave (which ended up being well into most of the night before)
  • Leave packing until 15 minutes before I have to go to the airport (due to frantically trying to finish of work stuff before I went). Suffice to say it did not work well, and some very important items were left behind
  • Just chuck things into my bag – I am going to use a list to pack by, now there is a novel idea, bet no one else has ever thought of that! This way I won’t leave key items behind.
  • Cheap out on getting a good tent – this time I am going to take a tent that is suitable for the trip, seeming as I will be spending a lot of the trip in it – I’m even going to take a mallet for the tent pegs.

In fact, this time I have actually made a four page list of all the things I need to do and buy, and have been steadily working my way through it.

I can’t believe there are only 42 sleeps to go – and 50 until my trip starts!

I am looking forward to making more new friends

I am looking forward to making more new friends

Categories: Cycling trip, Information, Preparations | Tags: , | 8 Comments