An Irish Interval in My Midlife Gap Year – Part 1: 3 – 7 October 2015

It’s my 132nd travelling day and I awake in Dublin. Saturday 3 October 2015 Dublin is overcast and cool this morning. I wake at 8 am and have breakfast. When I booked the Adelphi Guesthouse, I thought the breakfast was included but when I checked in last night found that the providers of my tiny €99 room with a shared bath, in a place which bills itself as a B&B, charge extra for breakfast. My look of disappointment led to the receptionist throwing it in for free. If you present yourself as a bed & breakfast, which they do, then charging …

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Riding in Germany & Switzerland: Cruising towards Zurich Wrapped in Anxiety

Monday 21 September 2015: Bad Bellingen to Bad Säckingen At the beginning of my ride, back in June, there were farmers selling cherries and strawberries, they were rolling hay in the fields. Now there are apples everywhere, nuts falling from trees and the only crop still in the ground is corn, just about ready to be picked. It’s as beautiful a day’s riding as I’ve had. It’s sunny and warm but not hot. Under a big upturned bowl of blue sky, I follow the river for a while then traverse the city of Basel. The city provides directional street signs …

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Riding in Germany: Cruising along the Rhine from Strasbourg to Bad Bellingen

I awake on day 117 of my mid-life gap-year in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France and keen to get to Germany. Friday 18 September 2015, Strasbourg to Ottenheim Admittedly, my morning coffee may have been a little strong. But the day is clear and I am leaving France. I’m jumpily excited. My legs bounce at I breakfast. As I begin my ride, I’m initially on the road and I am pumping, pedalling hard for the border. I switch to the footpath where I can, just to slow myself down, calm myself a little bit. I reach the Rhine and …

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Riding in France: Reims to Châlons-en-Champagne and a train to Strasbourg

We arrive on the 114th morning of my mid-life gap-year as I awake at Hotel de la Cathedrale in Reims, France. Tuesday 15 September 2015 I wake to an overcast day which quickly becomes a steady rain. I breakfast in my room, setting up the camping stove and a Mini Moko in the shower stall – I must have my coffee, but I don’t want to risk burning the place to the ground. I’ve been doing for a while when staying in hotels – shhh, don’t tell them. I spend the morning working through plans and details, sending emails, and just fifing …

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Riding in France: Missing home between Noyon and Reims

We arrive on the 110th morning of my mid-life gap-year as I awake at Hotel Le Cedre in Noyon, France. Friday 11 September 2015 The day starts lazily. When I’ve paid good money for a nice hotel room I do like to make the most of it by languishing about in the comfortable bed, relishing the fact that there’s no tent to pack away, that I don’t have to carry my kit to a distant ablutions hut. So, I lie in bed, watching the BBC. Hearing English-speaking voices but not having anyone to talk to makes me lonely. Spending yesterday …

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Riding in Pounding Rain is Better Than Sitting at a Desk: Scotts Head to Crescent Head (Day 11 – Thursday 30 April)

Many reading this might think this sounds miserable. You might think this was on par with the tough day on the Crawney Pass or the challenges of getting over the Moonbis … but, no. I was happy.

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