Inspiration

So… I was hoping at this point in time to be writing about our next epic ride, likely battling the Winter elements, travelling far and wide in the UK and continuing our Randonneur Round the Year Challenge…

But this was not to be. Instead we are agonising over what “local” means and wisely Audax UK has suspended all ride validations, firmly encouraging us to stay home. Not that we need a huge amount of encouraging between torrential rain, icy roads and snow showers!

So being without physical training, I have been more focused on the other aspects of our trip and was extremely excited to feature in my first Podcast the other day on VetChat from the Webinar Vet:

Listen to my first podcast here!

I was rather pleased about this as I have become a bit of a Podcast junkie over the past year, especially for anything involving cycling and endurance and I have certainly been inspired by what I have listened to.

This got me thinking about inspiration more broadly and how on earth we both reached the point where we are planning a record breaking tandem ride around the planet! For me I have always had an adventurous side from an early age and have been fascinated by different places and travel. Some of my biggest inspirations growing up were David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell- I’m pretty sure everybody without a heart of stone finds Sir David inspirational, but for me it was his early books and films, like Zoo Quest, where he travelled to distant lands, through unmapped countries and submerged himself in local cultures which fascinated me!

Both these great naturalists wrote almost as much about the people, places and cultures as they did about the animals themselves!

For Stevie, his childhood inspirations were more cycling based and he was a avid follower of the Tour De France and riders such as Greg LeMond.

He introduced me to some cycling greats as well such as Beryl Burton, the fastest lady of her time known for dishing out a liquorice allsort as she sped past her male cohorts and Graeme Obree who we had the pleasure of hearing speak live and are now proud owners of a signed print!

We may have taken some inspiration for our pre-wedding photoshoot from a certain cycling couple too!

I suspect the seeds were sown for our epic adventure one cold winter’s night when we heard Emily Chappell and Jenny Graham speak in Buxton. We were lucky to meet Emily afterward and I very much enjoyed her second book, “Where there’s a Will” about her adventures riding the trans-continental race, but I feel the enigmatic Jenny Graham recounting her amazing record breaking ride Around the World may have started something…

We didn’t think much more of it at the time and it wasn’t until I stumbled across a particularly amazing story of TandemWOW, the two ladies who hold the current tandem circumnavigation record and managed it by getting back in by the skin of their teeth before first lockdown!

As fantastic as their ride was, it start us thinking about what we could achieve and how amazing it would be to see the world at the speed of a bicycle!

Before I knew what was happening, I was listening to the irrepresible Jenny Graham recount her own adventures via podcast:

… and the rest was history!

Since then inspiration has come from the Tough Girl, Everything Endurance , Bike Tour Adventures and the Adventure podcasts. I have also sought out podcasts, blogs, articles and books from pretty much anyone who has travelled around the world on a bicycle such as Mark Beaumont, Jenny Graham, Juliana Buhring, Sean Conway, Alasair Humphreys, Verdangi Kulkarni, Sarah Outen, Fredricka Ek, Helen Landridge… the list goes on!

A small selection…

Alastair Humphreys has a particularly inspiring set of books, blogs and podcast and is all about Living Adventurously and microadventures and is all about normal people getting out there to do extraordinary things.

I’m gradually working my way through a whole host of blogs and youtube channels too but special mentions got to “Pedalling the Planet” who have made a particularly beautiful photobook …

https://pedallingtheplanet.wordpress.com/

… Wheels to Wander, who have some amazing footage:

… and Ed Pratt, who wins the prize for the most eccentric journey – on a unicycle!!

A very special mention must go to Luke Grenfell-Shaw and his epic Bristol to Bejing journey. This young man is a “CanLiver”, a young man suffering from cancer who is raising money for cancer related charities and awareness of the opportunities those aflicted by such dreadful disease can still have. Whatever we do and achieve will pale to insignificant compared to the ambition and bravery of this young man- please consider supporting him:

https://www.bristol2beijing.org/

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?pageUrl=2&userUrl=LukeGrenfellShaw

So internet stalking all these amazing people is very well and good, but a more personal take on advice is even better! The legend that is Jenny Graham has already spoken to me and given us loads of tips and massively excitingly I will be speaking to the one and only Mark Beaumont next week!

I’m up to date on his own podcast, aptly named endurance:

and I’ve alost finished his most recent book, which is essential a “how to” of cycling around the world!

But I’m sure there is much more advice to gain from the man who has raced around the world on a bicycle not once but twice!

All these inspirational people have got my thinking, and I realise there is so much knowledge and information out there we can gain by speaking to them, which has lead to my most recent slightly crazy idea: our own podcast!

I hope to be speaking to a range of people from the world of cycling and endurance and hope some of the tips and tricks we gain will inspire others too! It’s my first time doing anything thing like this and being the other side of the questioning is rather daunting but I’ve already had such a fabulous response from quite a few fantastic people that I’m sure they will see me through!

Episode 17: Rob Gardiner, from round the World bike packing to Ultradistance Cyclist Stoked to be here

In 2013 Rob started out on an epic adventure where he travelled 11,000km in 7 months to India.Β  This changed his life forever and he was hooked on long distance cycling.Β  He has since crossed several other continents before further raising the bar by getting involved in Ultradistance racing.Β  He has held the World record for cycling the length of Europe and raced events such as the Two Volcanos sprint. His travels through so many different countries and his expertise in long distance make him a fantastic guest to give us lots of tips ahead of our own big ride! Rob Gardiner – Cyclist (rob-gardiner.com)
  1. Episode 17: Rob Gardiner, from round the World bike packing to Ultradistance Cyclist
  2. Episode 16: Emily Chappell, A cycle courier who took on the World!
  3. Episode 15: Vedangi Kulkani, youngest woman to ride around the World!
  4. Episode 14: Katie Kookaburra
  5. Episode 13: Ian Walker, World Record Ultra-distance cyclist and environmental psychologist

So if you have any energy or interest after all that, please subscribe to our podcast and hopefully you can be inspired too!

One thought on “Inspiration

  1. Thanks for the update, it must be frustrating for you with another round of Lockdowns. For inspiration etc. it’s worth having a look at this site https://armchairadventurefestival.com and also the videos available on their YouTube page; there is a motorised two-wheel bias but lots of good stuff nevertheless.

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