Beyond the Bike

Stories from Stuart and Claire's original & recent journeys….

Stage 15: From Tuscany to a Car Park in East London...

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...

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Stage 13: From Red to Dead & Rising again…

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…?

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Stage 12: Operation Carry Ben Collins…

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….

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Goldigging in Sudan...

Faisal sells ful (Arabic equivalent of baked beans on toast) & chaai (tea) in a windswept shack on the side of the desert road in northern Sudan. In his spare time he digs in the local area for gold…

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Faisal with his latest find

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Monetary Policy in Africa.... not for the faint hearted

When my old boss told me that observing UK inflation flying above 3% would be an exciting moment in my career as an economist in London, I knew it was time to leave. Most African policymakers, meanwhile, would be delighted to see single digit inflation. I’ve discussed the challenges of formulating monetary policy as well as for the broader economy with two central bankers en route so far…

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The Importance of Remittance Payments & Mobile Banking in Africa…

Joseph is 29 years old and makes a living selling vehicle parts in the dusty trucker town of Igawu in Southern Tanzania. When he approached me during my breakfast and flashed 2 fresh $100 bills, I was naturally interested to know where they came from. I offered him a ride north to find out…

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