WELCOME! I've been cycling through the Southeast Valleys of Wales since 2010 and I can't say (or show) enough about the place. I just love it. So if you've got the interest and would like to spend some time... sit back and let me show you some of the fabulous places I've discovered.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Read, Write, Remember

Fall has arrived and along with it - rain. I had planned a long ride for today, but not wanting to fight the weather, I have called it off. I'll save it for another day. Postponing rides always leaves me in a sort of down mood. There's plenty of other things I can do... (things I need to do). So I guess this should be documented as I would a cycling trip... just different type of journey.

Cycling home last week I saw the first fall colour...

It's 7:00 am. I've come downstairs, made a cup of coffee, turned the computer on and here I sit. Melanie is sleeping soundly upstairs and all is quiet on a cold and rainy Saturday morning in this little part of little Wales.

I spent the better part of yesterday reading about other people's adventures on the website "Crazy Guy on a Bike" (CGOAB) and today I am longing to be on the road. So to focus on what I'm thinking and feeling; I will write about what I've been reading.

CGOAB is a very straight-forward website for people to keep an online journal of their cycling adventures... and it's massive. First of all; the number of entries is daunting and secondly, the length of some of the trips are phenomenal. I'm talking "sell your house and everything you own and travel around the world" types of cycling trips. I find it hugely addictive reading and dangerously compelling.

So I'm dedicating this issue of my blog to the many folks out there cycling the world, regardless of the weather - making their life an adventure. Cheers to all the world-traveling cyclists! May your journeys be safe and your adventures rewarding.

Reading About Riding

Life is like a box of chocolates
These folks were my first BIG read on CGOAB and I was instantly hooked. It's quite a unique adventure to take your family on a year-long cycle tour and these brave folks set an amazing example. Their journey is fascinating and wonderful. Though it ended a few years ago, it is well worth the read.
Death, Life & the Rural American Gas Station
I can honestly say that I've read hundreds of journals on CGOAB, but the writing and photography on this one is some of the best. I love their jovial attitudes and their reckless abandon never ceases to be just plain fun! It's laugh out loud reading and the chapter titles are classic. I envy these people deeply.
ABC: Anchorage to Baja California
I have never met Curtis and Jenny Shaw in person, but I was instantly drawn into their journey. Often people set out with very strong "goals" for their cycling trips, but C&J seem so laid back... I guess I kinda got a little crush on them straight from the start. I've been reading about their adventures for over a year now (and I love the photography).
America ByCycle
Ya gotta check out these cool kids. They had some great marketing ideas and a super strong brand for cycle touring. Unfortunately, I don't know what happened to them or what they're doing now, but back in the day when they made their website - they were on it!. Be sure to watch the videos.
Racpat RTW
As is the case, reading about one cycle tour leads to another. Curtis and Jenny met Patrick and Rachel while on the road in Central America and included a link to their journal. Hang on to your hats folks... this one is a doozy! Yep, they're two and a half years into a trip around the world.

In Closing:
I know I've given you plenty to look through. I hope you find some journals of interest. And as a final footnote; here's a bonus link for Curtis & Jenny's second leg to their massive tour: DEF: Down Even Further-Mexico & Central America. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Relevant Links:

Coming Next Issue:
  • Music Video Playlists

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Getting to the Core

2017 has been a great year of cycling. The downside is that I haven't written much about it and now I've a huge amount of material to publish. So I'm dedicating the next few months to update my back catalog of adventures. As you can see too, I've begun sharing external links of websites I find of particular interest. It just seems to make sense.

I'm returning to my core purpose for creating this diatribe by reintroducing the section entitled oddly enough; "Rides". (Found in the navbar above...) To start with, I've got two great trips for you to read about: "The Punchbowl" and "Pontypool Folly". I'll be updating this section regularly so be sure to check back.

Lady Purple
Also of note is Melanie's 30 year old mountain bike; the poor thing has sat around partially disassembled, tyres deflated, and un-loved for nearly a year. But she's back! I started fiddling with her last week and I must say she's riding better than ever. Check out my write up in the latest "Gear" section.

Mike's Imagination
I read quite a few cycle blogs and I try to support them as much as I can. Mike's Imagination is one of my favourites. His lifestyle and outlook is admirable, his writing is great, and his photography is brilliant. I hate him deeply (hate=envy). His latest post is short and to the point. Damn him! Fish On!
(photo credit; MHayes © 2017)

The Radavist
I've included a link to The Radavist; a website that captures the spirit of West Coast cycling with great content including wacky travel stories and unique product reviews. I just like poking around, looking at their work, and enjoying the mental grove. It's a cool mashup of bikepacking trends meet the '70s! Dig it.

Without Bounds
Lastly, I've thrown in a video for you to watch; Without Bounds. It's some fairly radical outsider stuff not suited for everyone, but it talks to the gypsy in me deeply. I am of that ilk and were I not married and living comfortably in Wales... this is where you might find me.

I hope you've enjoyed your visit and thanks for stopping by.
Cheers! - cm

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Time Management

What happened to the summer of 2017? It's the middle of September and the shops are starting to put things out for Christmas. Urgh.

If you've wondered why I haven't posted lately, well.. I've been struggling a bit with writing. However, I haven't been completely remiss, so I thought I'd show some of the reports I created for Ride with GPS. I've included three external links showcasing their newest feature along with my photos and diatribe. Next you'll find a link to a fellow blogger that also reviews gear and such. He's a pretty interesting fella - so be sure to poke around his website. And lastly, I've included a link to one of the Portlandia series; something fun to watch.

Daffodils & Disasters
I quickly became motivated to write having been selected as a weekly "Rollout Winner" for Ride with GPS. There is something intriguing about the layout that inspired me to revisit some of my favourite rides.

Legendary Neath Explore
Tim John and I had a wonderful day out exploring the two canals that parallel the Neath River. Discovering the history of Wales never disappoints along with great weather cannot be beat!

Ride to the Sun
Dean Piper organized this amazing ride and little needs to be said; just check out the photos. Joined by Vimal and Gwyn, the four of us left Pontypool at 3 am for a surprisingly quiet and beautiful equinox.

Tom's Bike Trip
I began reading this guys blog a few years ago and I still think it's one of the best. His review of the top touring bikes is I found of special interest and quite thorough - indicative of all his writing.

The bikes not cutting it.
If you haven't seen Carrie Brownstein's and Fred Armisen's wickedly funny Portlandia; I suggest you get to it. I cannot get enough of their stuff... it's so on target it makes my head spin.

Coming soon..
I plan to introduce a new section just for reporting on my rides - so be sure to check back later.

Thanks again for stopping by - cm