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A year on the road

Posted September 2nd, 2007

on the PEI trail

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since we set out on the road with our bikes and four bags each: 15,774km later — the equivalent of cycling from Yellowknife to Saint John’s and back again — we’ve seen 14 countries, spent two out of every three days on the road and slept 202 nights in our tent.

We cut our cycle touring teeth in Canada, rediscovering parts of our country we thought we knew well, but which actually looked so different from the seat of a bicycle. A few months later we were pedalling through Europe and many people told us we should just go straight to Asia.

“Save some money,” they said. “It’s too expensive here and nothing worth seeing.”

But we wanted to discover our backyard before setting off for far-flung lands and we are so glad we didn’t miss the Tarn gorges in France, sipping sherry in Spain or climbing the mountain passes of the Alps.

We fit in a tour of Morocco, reaching the desert dunes of Merzouga and Zagora, and now we are sitting on Italy’s Adriatic coastline, waiting for a ferry later this month which will take us to northern Greece, Turkey, the Middle East and some unknown combination of countries towards China or India. The visa muddle hasn’t quite been sorted out yet but there are so many interesting routes that no matter whether we choose to go via Iran, the Central Asian states of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan or north towards Russia we are sure our journey will not be boring.

You can click on the photo for a slideshow of some of the best pictures from our first year.

Visiting Moresco

Posted September 1st, 2007

We went for an afternoon walk today with the dogs to Moresco, a hilltop village just up the road from the house where we are staying. It’s said to be one of the most beautiful villages in Italy and certainly its archways and views over the surrounding countryside are worth the stop. We took a few pictures to share with you. Click on the photo to start the slideshow.

Greasy hands: a day of bike work

Posted August 15th, 2007

dsc_4551.jpgWe decided to take a day off after our epic ride yesterday and ended up doing some work on the bikes: taking apart the wheel and cleaning out all the dirt and grit that gets stuck there.

We regreased everything and put it all back together. Like most good jobs, this one took far longer than we thought it would and included a few minor hassles, including trying to figure out how to untangle Andrew’s chain from his spokes. Don’t ask how the chain got wedged between the spokes in the first place.

If you are tempted to do the same to your bike (take the wheel apart, that is, not mangle your chain and spokes), here are some step-by-step pictures we took. Just click on the photo to start the slideshow.

You will need cone spanners that fit your bike’s wheels (we used a 17 and a 13 but ask at your local bike shop), grease, a clean rag and, if you plan to do the back wheel, a tool to help you get the back cassette off.

The Ardeche: a photo essay

Posted May 15th, 2007

dsc_2683.jpgWe’ve returned to La Chatte Gitane, a peaceful corner of the Ardeche where our friends Bert and Patricia happily give us tasks like building stone walls and weeding the garden in exchange for room and board. This really is paradise for us, a quiet place to relax and take a break from our bikes. It’s spring here and everything is beautiful so today we took some pictures and put them into a groovy new slideshow program we found. Just click on the photo to start. We may add more shots over the next 3 weeks.