Beyond the Bike 2015/16 - Bamboo with a View.

Stories from the people, places and personal challenges encountered by riding a bamboo bike through Africa and Asia.

Claire has spent the last ten years as Classics teacher (Head of Classics at Rugby School for seven years and most recently teaching at Colfe’s School in London). When Stuart asked her (on their second date) if she fancied cycling to China it sounded like the obvious next step, despite being a cycling novice! She will be riding a bamboo bike...

Claire has spent the last ten years as Classics teacher (Head of Classics at Rugby School for seven years and most recently teaching at Colfe’s School in London). When Stuart asked her (on their second date) if she fancied cycling to China it sounded like the obvious next step, despite being a cycling novice! She will be riding a bamboo bike made by a social enterprise in Uganda. She has been learning Mandarin and it is hard to say which she has made most progress in – cycling or Chinese – both proving very challenging at times.

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How do you train for a 10 month+, 10,000km+ bike ride?

annemustoe

People keep asking me this and I really do not know how to answer. Those who have done similar things (Stuart, on his last trip, Tom, the Hungry Cyclist) say that you cannot really train for something like this - 'the training is done during the first couple of weeks'….this is a very nice idea and I do hope it is true! I am really hoping that the places we go and the people will meet will take my mind off my sore legs and bum!

Some people would go all out and be super bike fit - think of Mark Beaumont who recently cycled Cairo to Cape Town - over 10,000km - in less than 42 days. Luckily  we are not trying to break any records!  Then the other extreme is Anne Mustoe who, as a retired headmistress cycled around the world and wrote some brilliant books about her adventures.  Stu and I are somewhere in-between these two, well, I am closer to Anne and Stu to Mark, but hopefully we will work things out, and maybe even write a Mustoeque book afterwards…

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Warm up ride 1 - With the Hungry Cyclist in Burgundy, France

mekong

Can a wine-tasting tour of Burgundy count as a warm up ride Stuart?

Yes, apparently it can! So, we decided to spend two nights with Tom Kevill Davies aka The Hungry Cyclist at his new lodge near Beaune - www.thehungrycyclist.com This turned out to be a great idea for several reasons; Tom is really lovely, interesting and knows lots about the local area, wine, food, cycling etc. The lodge is a lovely old mill house (which sleeps 10), with beautiful gardens, a swimming pool, and gorgeous views across the vineyards in Auxey-Duresses.  The food and wine are obviously amazing.  Possibly more importantly for us it turned out that Tom cycled up the Mekong River a few years ago and so he was able to give us lots of advice. He even found his old map of Laos which he kindly gave us and a great contact (a Canadian restauranteur!) in Luang Prabang!  His advice to get on a boat along the river in North Laos seems very sensible to me, especially when he told us how hilly and rough the roads are there.  Stu has said I am in charge of the Asia section...

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