Journey’s Start

<a href=””>Journey</a&gt;

A frantic rush to get away from it all,
snap shut the suitcase lid,
close it down on the daily frustrations,
thinking to escape by keeping on,
moving on, searching for a new place,
new sights, new sounds, new feelings,
till the travel becomes an end in itself.
The journey becomes its own justification.
Its own metaphor for the journey through life.

The mad dash down the motorway,
tantalising wait in traffic jam,
the struggle to escape from thinking
by moving on
never realising – or never admitting –
that it can’t be done.







Like School Dinners, only more so


I’ve been looking at the British Airways web site with a view to a long-haul flight next year. I was astounded at the information available and more so at what was left out.


Perhaps someone who qualifies as a “frequent flier” can contradict me, on reading the details of in-flight meals; i was tempted to bring my own butties! A pity that isn’t allowed. There were splendid pictures of the meals – who needs a picture to show then what a steak or a scone and jam look like? What they didn’t say – and i’m always suspicious of the things left out of an advert – was the timing of the meals and the choice of what you have and when you have it.


In a café I can decide what i eat and when. If I want my breakfast at 4pm or my lunch a 9am I can generally get it – apart from some cafés who stop serving breakfast after mid-morning. I also have a choice of what I eat. From the descriptions on BA’s website it seems the meals are trundled out when the airline stewards decide to serve them. If you don’t want then at these fixed times – tough. Many people nowadays don’t want a big meal in the middle of the day but prefer it in the evening. I don’t think you can get this on BA. I may be wrong. I hope I am.

Some passengers will have travelled on a connecting flight where they may or may not have been fed and may be suffering from jet lag, but there seems no provision for customers to eat when it suits them rather than when it suits the airline. There seems to be no choice on the menu unless you have a “special dietary requirement “ or want Halal or Kosher food. Surely choice is of the essence when you are going on holiday and there should be several different menus available. Given the number of passengers on a long-haul jet and fact that most of the stuff is probably just taken out of its package and shoved in a microwave and the air stewards will have many hours to fill during a long trip adding a bit of variety to the food shouldn’t be too difficult.


As far as I can see, though, the food is served at the time the authority decides, the menu is fixed and the only choice would seem to be between eating or going hungry. Reminds me of school dinners before Jamie Oliver reformed them.



Travels with a Tandem

The Happy Wanderer What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

It all depends on when and where and how you are travelling. When we went on tandem holidays  we never booked accommodation ahead because we didn’t know how far we would get in a day. It would have been frustrating to have to stop early in the afternoon simply because we had a b&B booked.

So much depends on the weather, the traffic, the state of the roads, how tired you are, even how good your navigation is.

On one occasion we got a lot further than we’d planned simply because the roads were dead quiet and there was no traffic. It happened to be the day of Princess Diana’s funeral and the streets of Lancashire were deserted. Everyone was indoors watching the event on TV. We broke our previous record for distance travelled with a loaded tandem and ended up at Shrewsbury, much further on than we expected to get.

Of course there are times when not booking ahead can mean you are still searching for somewhere to stay quite late in the evening, All I can say is that we’ve never had to sleep under a hedge …yet. There’s a first time for everything. But on a cycling tour, not knowing where you will be sleeping the following night is all part of the fun!

We found a B&B in Ardrossan when we had more of less resigned ourselves to riding as far as the ferry terminal and dossing down in the waiting room. We found a room in a Travel Lodge on the motorway – we went in via the service entrance, bicycles aren’t allowed on motorways. We found the staff very helpful.they even let us store our tandem in the linen room!

Not having a fixed route and a rigid itinerary is definitely preferable if you are on a bike.




<a href=””>Slash and Burn</a>

Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.
Respond in a New Post

There are many reasons to ride. My own are what I call the 4 Es

ECONOMY riding a bike has got to be cheaper than a car. Think  of the costs of buying a vehicle, insurance, fuel and servicing, MOT, license and vehicle excise duty – often wrongly called “road fund license”.

ECOLOGY Consider the harm done to the environment by cars and buses, Petrol and diesel fumes, exhaust gases all pollute. Every car adds to our carbon footprint.

EXERCISE With a bike as a way of getting around your daily journey to work e can be a time of enjoyment. The exercise you get sets you up for the day. I know, I’ve been there. I can remember going into an office and finding one colleague moaning about traffic jams and parking, another complaining about the slowness of the bus service and the cost of fares. The only happy man was to one whose bike was chained to the hatstand.

ENJOYMENT If I am honest, none of the reasons listed above would make me want to ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. Cycling is economical, it is ecologically friendly , it will help you keep fit, but above all it is FUN


Here is the longer version

A difficult one, this.What can I go on about for 500 words…Riding a bike and/or a trike. Yes! Even if it is a bit rubbishy and repeats lots of things I’ve said in previous  articles/posts etc.

There are as many ways of riding and reasons to ride as there are cyclists. My own take on this matter is that I ride for what I call the 4 E’s


ECONOMY riding a bike has got to be cheaper than driving a car. The cost of buying the vehicle, insuring it and feeding it petrol (or I suppose diesel) and oil, servicing and taxing the machine, learning to drive the damn thing and keeping up with the changing regulations on what you can and can’t do on today’s roads. Then there’s MOT and license and vehicle excise duty – often wrongly referred to as “road fund license”. This tax has not been used exclusively for road maintenance since I understand the 1930s.

Everyone pays for the upkeep of our roads if they have an income. Roads are funded from general taxation, income tax and council tax. Someone who never ventures outside his front door, doesn’t drive a car or ride a bike or even walk on the pavement nevertheless if he eans money and pays tax on it contributes to the upkeep of our highways.

ECOLOGY Just think of the harm done to the environment by the use of various other means of transport. Buses, cars, coaches, taxis all pollute, some more so than others. Petrol and diesel fumes, exhaust gases. Maintenance  of roads and motorways has come at a cost to the environment. Every car adds its bit to our carbon footprint. Every car journey does it bit to deplete the atmosphere.

EXERCISE with a bike as a way of getting around you are able to keep fit without the hassle of joining a gym or indulging in sweaty workouts. Your daily journey to work if done on a bike can be a time of enjoyment and benefit. The exercise you get sets you up for the day. I know I’ve been there. I can remember going into an office and finding one colleague moaning about traffic jams and the difficulties of parking, another complaining about the slowness of the bus service and the cost of fares. The only happy worker was to one whose bike was chained to the hatstand. Yes, there are some problems with commuting by bike; bikes can get stolen or vandalised. I’ve known saddle bags or pumps being taken and some people were in the habit of removing their saddle and when leaving the bike with the thought, I suppose, that a thief must be pretty desperate if he is prepared to ride minus saddle.

ENJOYMENT If I am honest, though, none of the reasons listed above would make me want to ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. Cycling is economical, yes; it is ecologically friendly , true; it will help you keep fit… well, maybe. But above all it is FUN.

You’re Never alone with a Trike

One of the main things about riding a recumbent trike is that you are noticed, Trikes aren’t for the shy retiring type. If you want to fade into the background and hide from people don’t get anything as unusual as a trike.

Park a trike outside a cafe or supermarket and nine times out of ten, when you come back there will be at least one person looking it over. The usual questions are ” is it comfortable?” , “how fast can you go?”  “do you feel safe?” and often from younger people “how much did it cost?”

It seems nowadays people measure the worth of an object  by its monetary cost. When I was growing up it was considered impolite to ask what something had cost,  a bit like asking how much someone earned. It just wasn’t done. I might say to a friend “that’s a nice handbag. Where did you get it?”  but I’d feel I had to offer a reason if I wanted to know what it cost, eg “I’d like to get a similar one for my daughter – is it very expensive?”

Back to bikes or trikes: some of the odder questions I’ve been asked:

  • How do you pronounce the name of the maker? ( It’s Hase – hass- e the German for hare, I understand.)
  • Where did you get the flag? – ans. it came with the bike. The questioner wanted to get a similar flat for her mother’s mobility scooter.

I’ve learnt to allow extra time for shopping at our local supermarket to allow for the time explaining the delights of a trike and how  I came to ride one. There have been some expressions of interest and even people saying “I’m getting less steady perhaps it’s time I went for a trike”  But so far I’ve not managed to persuade anyone to change their mode of transport. But I live in hope!









The Lane Where I Live

A country lane,

Where once children could walk,
Free from fear, safe from traffic,
Watching ducks on the river
Lambs in the fields,

Wildflowers in the hedgerows, there for the picking.
Once upon a time.
By the time we came, it had changed
The narrow lane filled with petrol fumes
Cars roared around blind bends
Tractors trundled along, dragging heavy trailers.
Yet we were told it was a safe road
A good accident record – no fatalities.
No-one killed because no-one dared walk there.

With the Millennium, the turn of the century
We overturned all that.
Local people made up our minds to fight
For the right to walk in safety
Come the Millennium, we made the Millennium Way.

To an outsider it’s just a footpath
Along the floodbank, beside the River Wyre.
Nice views, plenty of wildlife,
Ducks, geese, the occasional heron,
Swallows and swifts in season, seagulls too
Hosts of golden daffodils, cowslips, primroses
(Not to mention knotweed and himalayan balsam.)
The bow of Bowland hills in the background
The Wyre, brown and sinuous flowing to the sea,
A pleasant place to visit, convenient too
Close to the village with its shop and café.

To me it is so much more than a footpath;
It’s an umbilical cord linking me to life
To friends who wave as they pass the window
To acquaintances giving their dogs their daily outing
To strangers with walking boots and poles
Setting off for a day’s hiking.

For years I avoided going to the village.
Too short for a car trip, too hazardous to walk.
Now that has changed.
For the sheer delight in walking
I stride along the Millennium Way
My personal pathway to Paradise.


10 Commandments for Car Drivers

1          Is your car journey really necessary? Would it be cheaper, easier, safer, and pleasanter if you walked or cycled or travelled by bus?

2          Allow plenty of clearance when passing a cyclist, the same distance you would allow for a car – and then some. Why? Cars don’t wobble, cyclists do. Fact of life. Potholes, crap on the highway and other obstacles have a greater effect on a bike than on a car.

3          Don’t think that because you see a bike ahead you must pass it at all costs. Only overtake when it is safe to do so.

 4          There are complaints about cyclists riding without lights at night. Not a good thing to do, I agree, but what about drivers who fail to dip their lights and dazzle cyclists and pedestrians. Much worse and more likely to cause an accident.

5          The advance stop lines at traffic lights are there for the use of cyclists – not for drivers in a hurry who want to get away fastest when the lights change. It surprises me how many drivers don’t seem to know this.

6          Don’t park on the pavement. (American readers amend this to “sidewalk” – i.e. the part of the highway reserved for pedestrians.) If there isn’t room to park on the road, then go somewhere else, don’t force pedestrians into the carriageway.

 7          Remember that a cyclist has as much right to be on the road as a car driver. A cyclist – or for that matter a pedestrian – is allowed to proceed along any road except a motorway. You can legally walk along a busy A road with a speed limit of 60 mph and no footway, pushing a pram and leading a dog. Foolhardy maybe, but not illegal.

 8          If you use your horn, use it sensibly. No use blasting at a cyclist when you are already alongside, all that is likely to do is to cause a timid rider to swerve and perhaps fall.

 9          Be especially careful on country lanes. No footway, no lights, sometimes blind bends and often the national speed limit, plus the chance of a piece of heavy farm machinery or a herd of cows coming towards you.

10        Get a life, get a bike!



In a car you’re bound and fettered
But a bike can not be bettered
As a way to get yourself from A to B
So I beg you, do not drive
Breathe fresh air and come alive
Get on your bike and come and ride along with me.