Simon’s natural habitat is among the mounds and nicely lipped landscape of the dirt jumps, where he makes a little bike with little wheels fly from mound to mound, berming round, and round, with grace and elegance.If you don’t believe me, check out the video below of him doing his thing at his local spot in Cambridge.
Myself and Simon spent the weekend in London at the annual Explore conference held by the Royal Geographical Society. Its pretty much “The” place to go for advice on planning an expedition.Aside from the practical lectures on PR, Leadership, First Aid, Navigation, etc, which were all presented by lively enthusiastic and experienced experts in their fields.We also had a chance to pick the brains of some pretty inspirational characters.Such as Paul Deegan the Everest conqueror and motivating adventurer. The affable Ben Saunders who’s refreshingly modest and self effacing but energetic talk of his experiences at the North Pole would challenge even the most pessimistic and lethargic of couch potatoes to resist his call to adventure.In the historic lecture hall, its walls infused with the words of totemic adventurers of past and present; Ranulph Fiennes, Shackleton, Livingstone and more, we were gripped by Stevie Smith and Jason Lewis’s recounting of the first human powered circumnavigation of the globe.Best of all though, we got to meet Alastair Humphreys, a bit of a hero of mine who’s blog I used to read when first toying with the idea of dropping everything to cycle around the world back in 2005. He spent 4 years cycling the length of Africa and the Americas and the width of Eurasia- 46,000 miles in total. As most successful expeditions visited Explore before setting off, we are now in good company. And feel that if they can do it there is no real reason why we can’t too. To anyone even vaguely considering something adventurous I’d highly recommend a trip to the hallowed halls of the R.G.S next Autumn-by which time we should be on our way to southern Spain to catch a Freighter to Buenos Aries.
I’ve just come across this little video by Scouting Ireland on the Geared Up Blog.
Both Myself and Si were in the 1st Wicklow troop when we were nippers, and we’ve many fond memories of camping and hiking around the Wicklow mountains as a result. Its a great organisation for kids to get involved in, and it taught us a lot of useful outdoors skills and lessons about the inmportance of planning, preparation and self belief. Mini Expeditions to Loch Dan and The Sugar Loaf, when we were twelve, sowed the seeds for our future plans to circumnavigate the globe by bike today.
Something like scouting, with its emphasis on personal development and environmental awareness, is especially important for youngsters today, in the light of rising childhood obesity levels due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles. You don’t have to be a paediatrician to see that its healthier to be tramping and camping out in the wilds with your mates than sitting inside playing video games on your own.
The footage of the Nile, the Eastern Arabian Desert and the Pyramids at Giza in last Sunday’s episode had me excitedly reliving my Egyptian exploits from the living room couch-annoying to my house-mate Dave with stories that he’d already heard countless times before.
Charley and Ewen’s expeditions(long way down & long way round) are pretty much the antithesis of the “revolution” project. We won’t have a seven strong support crew, camera men, folding tables and chairs at camp and local fixers in every country we pass through. Instead we will be wandering lonely as clouds, no support vehicles, just two mates on an adventure. Traveling light, uninsulated from the people and places that we encounter, living our boyhood dreams of exploring far off lands.
That said, we won’t have the added problems and pressures of a tight schedule, and thousands of Euro’s worth of camera equipment. And we certainly won’t have the benefits and hassles that celebrity status brings.
Incidentally, the distance that they covered in one day, from Cairo to Aswan, took us 7 days of cycling. Seven days of slogging through dust and desert in “liberating Lycra” vs one day in a sweaty leathers. It might sound crazy, but I’d choose to cycle any day.
The Long Way Down makes for interesting exciting viewing all the same. Vicarious adventure at its finest, all from the comfort and safety of your couch. Next Sunday’s episode should have some good shots of some spectacular landscape in Ethiopia and Kenya so its worth tuning in to BBC at 9. If you can tear yourself away from “Celebrity Scissorhands”, that is.
This is just the thing to help you build enough stamina to make it through the yule marathon of mince pies and mulled wine.
It takes place on Saturday the 15th of December, which is in around 6 weeks, so there’s just enough time to get in shape and raise a bit of cash for the great work that AWARE do combating depression.
Think of it like a pleasure/pain trade-off. The pain of training for the run will mean that the pleasure of the Christmas revelry will be all the sweeter.
Myself and Si will be along for the canter so say hello if you’re there, as we sometimes wonder if anyone’s actually reading.
Click here to register online now.
This is a new ad for Glenfiddich’s 12 year old whiskey as part of their “Every Year Counts” campaign.
I know its a clever marketing ploy to get you drink their premium whiskey, but it’s still a powerful sentiment.
“A day is a lump of clay, a year is whatever you want it to be”
I was reading the Sunday Times this morning when I saw an article that made me chuckle. Chanel is celebrating its sporting heritage by launching a new, limited edition, bicycle. It comes in a stylish black, has eight gears, a chain protector with their logo splashed across it, and is thoughtfully fitted with mudguards to keep your Jimmy Choos dry. It also comes complete with leather handbags, sorry panniers, fixed to the rear rack, for those epic expeditions to Brown Thomas.
Although, at around nine grand a pop I couldn’t imagine anyone leaving it unattended for long. Yes, nine grand for a granny bike!
If its the black colour scheme that’s putting you off don’t worry, Gucci also do a limited edition bike(see below) in silver and tope.
Both are in shops from December and are only available in limited numbers , so hurry to avoid disappointment.