Nearly two months after arriving back permanently in England’s Green and Pleasant (& wet) lands, I’m delighted to note that we have now met or should I say SMASHED our fundraising target. Including gift aid, Beyond the Bike has raised more £115,000 for its partner charities, thanks to YOU!! So where has that money gone, you might ask…Tags: UNICEF, right to sight, alive & kicking, beyond ourselves, Beyond the Bike, Stuart Block Read More
Burgundy to Blighty. June 25th – July 14th, 975 km.
Coincidentally, I’ve started writing this blog whilst watching the Tour de France’s 16th stage: a ball busting 197km in the Pyrenees with a couple of hors-categorie (beyond categorization) climbs. Whilst my final week in France included a 221km day & involved a British team showing the locals a thing or two about cycling, the similarities end there…Tags: Beyond the Bike, beyond ourselves, Stuart Block, tandem cycling, beyond cranleigh, kawama school Read More
Siena to Stratford, May 5th – 18th, 1250km
People talk of false starts. I’ve never heard of a ‘false-finish’ but I was searching for the equivalent word on May 18th. On that grey spring day, I found myself unexpectedly cycling an African made bamboo bike with 150 other cyclists within a couple of miles of my old workplace in Canary Wharf, the first time on English soil for exactly 10 months...
Olympia, Greece to Siena, Italy. 1350km April 23rd - May 4th
My beloved Thandie has done herself proud over the last 9 months, managing to carry me & some 150 stokers 11,000 kilometres through Africa & the Middle East. But the prospect of doing more than 1300km, with over 10,000m of climbing in 10 days on a 30kg steel bike didn’t appeal. This made the decision to dump her for a lighter, younger & better looking model all the easier…Tags: rob heck, Dallagio Cycle Slam, dallaglioflintoff2012, Stuart Block, beyond ourselves, Beyond the Bike Read More
Dahab to Tel Aviv, 1st -18th April, 990km
The route for this stage would take me along the northern most part of the Great Rift Valley from the Red to the Dead Sea and north along the Jordan Valley. Named as such for geological reasons by the 19th Century British explorer John Walter Gregory, it has also sadly marked somewhat of a political & religious rift through the ages. What better time to visit than during the Jewish Passover & Christian Easter…?Tags: beyond ourselves, Dallagio Cycle Slam, israel cycling, jordan cycling, Beyond the Bike, Stuart Block Read More
Luxor to Hurgarda, 290km March 19-21st
I have endured some tough physical challenges on the journey so far: the hills & dirt roads of Kenya, the heat in South Sudan & headwind in the Nubian desert. But when Ben Collins, founder of Beyond Ourselves, announced that he would be joining me for a few days in Egypt, I knew I’d need all the strength & support I could find….Tags: Stuart Block, Beyond the Bike, beyond ourselves, Egypt, Cycle Hurgarda, Cycle Luxor Read More
Khartoum to Luxor, 1470km & a ferry ride up Lake Nasser. Feb 19th – March 11th
People love to talk about ‘Africa’. Yes it is a single physical continent but its human diversity- nearly 3000 ethnicities have been divided, often arbitrarily, into 48 nation states - makes generalisations difficult. As such, sub-saharan Africa is often what people mean when discussing Africa. For me, there was certainly a step change in culture arriving in Sudan, a change accentuated by the fact that we had arrived by plane, rather than bicycle from the continent’s newest country…Tags: beyond ourselves, beyondthebike, Stuart Block, dallaglioflintoff2012, cycling sudan Read More
650km Feb 3rd - 11th. Six months ago, I neither expected to be in South Sudan or indeed singing the French & Scottish rugby anthems to live accordion & bagpipes in the middle of the African bush. But it felt appropriate timing given that the 2012 six nations were kicking off on the same weekend that I headed North. Coincidentally, six different nationalities joined me & Thandie on the road to Juba…Tags: south sudan cycling, bamboo bikes, uganda cycling, beyond ourselves, Stuart Block, Beyond the Bike Read More
Nairobi to Jinja: 1050km, Jan 4th – 21st
In 1999, I was invited to play cricket for the wealthy philanthropist Christopher Ondatjie in Devon. Despite only scoring a single run, he kindly gifted me a signed copy of his book ‘Journey to the Source of Nile’, documenting his attempt to recreate some of the great Victorian explorers’ journeys in search of the cherished source. Given the logistical problems of getting an overland visa for Ethiopia, going to see the start of the world’s longest river and explore some of the places Mr Ondatjie described were certainly incentives to head west, rather than directly north from Nairobi…Tags: will rudd, rob ravilious, moses kipsoro, cycling kenya, beyond ourselves, beyond cranleigh, Stuart Block, beyond the bike Read More
Dar to Nairobi; 950km, November 28th - December 10th.
Fun isn’t always fun. So Jim Blyth, a Chamonix mountain guide told me in 2010. During Type 1 fun, you enjoy both doing the activity and reflecting on it. Type 2 isn’t much fun at the time but you enjoy looking back on it. Type 3 is neither. I explained this to my new stokers Rob Heck & Emma Watson Mack as we planned the next stage over a Kili (local beer) in Dar. Our aim was to avoid Type 3 and get close to the real Kili before Rob would have to go back to work…Tags: olympic cycling, Africa Cycling, emma watson mack, rob heck, beyond ourselves, Stuart Block, Beyond the Bike Read More