Hello World as they say. Its nearly November and this site and the crowdfunder are up and running. Things are starting to come together on the planning front – expect details to start appearing here in the next week as things get firmed up.

It sounds like there might be quite a show through Cornwall and into Plymouth – our job is just to keep on pedalling and keep on talking – Paris is so important, not necessarily for the immediate outcome but simply because the world is finally starting to wake up to what we have been doing for the past 150 years and the implications are stupendous.

My next task is to get a decent front light and a new chain – I don’t fancy riding any long distance with one which broke a couple of weeks ago and I fixed by removing a couple of links. Also think I need to get my bottom bracket serviced.

Before we set off we’ll try and make occasional posts about our bikes and plans – once we are on the road the intention is to do daily updates here – l’accès à internet permitting.


A Good Day?

rickyportrait150Yes! I am just everso pre-occupied with it all (and presume this’ll continue for while longer ….). I actually have 11 bikes, which is pretty sad really, cos apparently you cannot ride them all at once. I have a trailer too (Roger and I bought one each for the 2009 SW Euro-campaign – they have done good service since). So which one shall I take – the old warhorse, an original (1988) Muddy Fox mountain bike, which I can hardly lift even without saddle bags ….. er, no! It’ll be the Maran – it’s perfect. I bought this one with that tax-free thingy that people were given the option of buying into. No regrets. Bought it from Bike Shed, who have beckome my firm faves ever since – a great bunch of lads. Might try and sting ’em for some sponsorship!

Heard from an acquaintance out of the blue (Grandparents International – yup, that’s us) who we met at the CC demo in London last year – they’re gearing up for Paris en masse. Likewise a good friend from Torbay GP, Paula Hermes: she’s cycling with a large group from London. It’d be great if we can somehow meet up for the grand bike cavalcade in Paris on 28th. Talking of which, the whole Paris itinerary for the build-up to the talks (27/11 – 13/12) is just awesome. I’m going to struggle to get home. In both senses.


‘Stuff’ ………

rickyportrait150My fault entirely: my wife L’Anne forwarded a link to the Mountain Warehouse, advertising their sale. So off I go – outside the shop, a friend of mine who works there was handing out the equivalent of a BOGOF coupon (I know I need two cycle clips, two gloves, two shoes etc but two hats? Two water bottles? Two helmets?). Anyway, in I go – big mistake. I emerge clutching a whole pile of ‘stuff’, conning myself that it’ll all still be useful after Paris.

Worse: whilst there, I was assured that Ortlieb were the only panniers to get (they don’t stock them, though). Back home, I google ‘Ortlieb’. I find that Sustrans have a quasi-offer on them and, taking a deep breath (man, these are pricey saddlebags!), press ‘send’. They arrive Friday. I’ll then kit myself out for a fashion show, take a selfie and let you ‘all’ in on it.


IKEA is easier than this.

rickyportrait150Fitting the Ortlieb panniers became a bit farcical today (and it took most of the day!). Fiendish. The little wordless picture instructions were basically hieroglyphics, needing a far cleverer interpretation than I could manage. But I persevered – good job no-one was filming it. But at least I now know that these bags are seriously watertight and can hold more than enough ‘stuff’. L’Anne reminded me of the old adage: ‘lay everything out on the floor that you want/need/HAVE to take with you – and halve it’. I just couldn’t manage that – too painful. She did it. So cruel.

Lights more or less sorted, incl. a heath-robinson-esque adapted helmet light. The marino-wool undies are sweltering – mind you, it was EIGHTEEN DEGREES today – that’s why we’re doing this folks! The trousers are embarrassingly tight-fitting. And at last I have purchased a pair of water-proof socks. These are NOT cheap items! If it ain’t wet and freezing, I’m gonna be livid.

Need to clean the machine – and get it serviced – gotta look good for the paparazzi at the civic send-off. The Mayor of Bideford has just confirmed that he’s going to be at Bideford Old Railway Station, robed and chained, with his Beadle – it’s all about the photo-op apparently! I still need to enthuse some good biking buddies to commit to the ride-out from Barnstaple.

Anyway, today we agreed that, in the spirit of the End of Civilisation as we know it, we would call ourselves ‘Les Quatre Cavaliers (cyclistes) d’Apocalypse’ – I, as befits my surname (Che Valier), would be ‘War’ (what is it good for?); Roger, the Scyther, obviously had to be ’Death’ (not even warmed up); Ewan is ‘Conquest’ (Tomorrow: Agincourt) and Euan, by default, will have to be Famine/Pestilence – all good positive stuff. Enough.

My bike (Roger)

roger150For this ride I’ll be on my 2006 Specialized Tricross Sport with added mudguards and rear-carrier. shown here when it was brand new. 9 speed cassette 11-32T with Deore LX derailleur and 3 chain wheels 28-50T Shimano Sora with Tiagra levers. I like a good low set of gears 28 front, 32 rear is good for sitting down and winding up a Cornish 25% hill however heavily laden. The shop were a bit sniffy when I insisted on adding carrier and mudguards.

My previous 3 bikes had all been Dawes Galaxy, the first lasted 14 years, the next was stolen after about 6 years and the last did another ten years (and to be honest was still serviceable with some new components – I sold it for a song). This Tricross is now 8 years old and still going strong. On its second rear cassette and about third chain. Must have done well over 10,000 miles by now as a mixture of commuting, leisure and touring – that’s credit-card touring, not hard-core carry-everything camping style.

The rear carrier is a Top-peak one with a bag that slides on and has side paniers that fold up when not in use. Slightly heavier than real lightweight stuff, but sturdy and serviceable.