Beyond the Bike

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

Stage 1: Kampala to Kigali -Taking Khalid Home.

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Kampala (Uganda) to Kigali (Rwanda): 552km; September 13th - 19th.

On Sunday 13th September, we left Kampala accompanied by the KGB (Kampala Group of Bikers), Kasoma (bamboo bike maker) and  his apprentice Khalid. It was such a pleasure to finally meet Kasoma and for him to see his beautiful bike being ridden through Kampala.  Leaving the city was not the nicest ride, mainly due to the sheer number of heavy trucks but we were soon on the open road which undulated wonderfully through the countryside, every hill we went up we then had a similar length descent and thus a rest: my kind of hills!

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Solon to Syriza or How to Save Greece

Solon to Syriza or How to Save Greece
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In my first blog on lessons from the financial crisis, I highlighted the importance of history in Economics, looking back to the Great Depression and even further to when China was the world's largest economy. But, as Claire (a Classics teacher) keeps telling me, most of the lessons we need for contemporary society can be obtained by studying the ancient civilisations of Athens and Rome. Thus this is the first, but hopefully not the last, Economic Cycle blog written by her, although she freely admits it has been shamelessly plundered (with his permission) from a truely fantastic lecture by Oxford Classicist Peter Thonemann. I think it is a great read and perhaps Angela Merkel and co should think about some of these ideas... 

Only a few years ago most people’s image of Greece would have been beautiful beaches, whitewashed houses, vile drinks and those causing riots were most likely to be drunken Brits. In 2015 Greece summons up a whole new set of images: mass homelessness, teachers and nurses becoming dependent on food-banks, riots, an economic collapse and a social breakdown more rapid and more violent than anywhere else in the western world since WW2.

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

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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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Re-introducing the Economic Cycle: Lessons from the Financial Crisis

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Welcome to the Next Revolution of the Economic Cycle! For new readers, I’m a former city economist (2001-2009) turned teacher who decided back in 2011 to cycle my tandem bicycle back to London from South Africa in an attempt to understand a bit more about our dismal science. The blog used serendipitous encounters with locals to tell the stories of economics in Africa. Topics ranged from how economists value life (based on a high speed accident with a taxi in South Africa) to how religion and mobile phones have shaped economic development.

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A BIG thank you!

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…

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Stage 16: A tour of France & Home...

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…

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