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TRAVEL
the only way to Scilly

Saharan Margins
The Tunisians are not used to free-range travellers, particularly cyclists.
They can't imagine why anybody wouldn't want to be zapped from one
'touristique zone' to another by convoys of white 4x4s.

John Stuart Clark crosses an ocean of sand

Modena Mode
The only helmets are worn by the young American Mormon missionaries
one sees around town. Favourite activities to be combined with cycling are
smoking and talking on your mobile phone.
Sue Darlow encounters a bike culture despite itself

The Slow Road
At Kaueranga I divined, in midst of a young forest striving weakly to
achieve its former glory, the ghosts of mighty kauri trees felled a century
before. There I pitched my humble tent and laid my bicycle down.

Ken Rubeli is in no rush to see New Zealand

Paradise Found
Where the uptight English have always felt the need to nurture nature,
and wrap a protective velvet cordon around our places of beauty,
the Scots have never worried for their landscapes so.
Guy Procter skirts the lovely lochs of the Trossachs

Tombouctou
Women were turning like bees, trying to sell dried fish, beignets and sweet potatoes
from the summit of their heads. Huge mamas, fattened by richness, magnificently
dressed with bright and colorful tissues and turbans, tried in vain to betray the
law of gravity, slipping with their shining shoes on the narrow bridge.
Claude Marthaler at the center of the world

The Way to San José
I'd planned on spending just a couple of days in this paradise, but was
finding all sorts of weak reasons to stay another day. Doing nothing
had become a time-consuming process.
Lynette Chiang knows the way

The Odyssey
This is a primordial place, too remote for all but the most hardened
rambler, that calls on your soft city body to return to its womb. Near
the source of a stream that springs like Mother Nature's tears from
the depths of the earth, the track gradually diminishes...
Geoff Maxted, goaded by Jack Kerouac, goes on the moor

North to Phongsali
Bends at the bottom of hills concealed potholes, herds of water
buffalo and children, of which I hit only the potholes.
Paul Greening pays a visit to Laos

Woman Alone
The rope flashed ahead of me, then with glorious precision settled
over a fencepost to my right, so silently that the bird perched there
didn't ruffle a feather. It barred the road ahead; I came to a stop.
Ruth Jarvis doesn't fancy being wrangled by a Chilean cowboy

Lenin's Breakdancers
We meet a doctor running a market stall and a pilot driving a taxi.
Others are struggling to fulfill their dreams, however eccentric they may seem.
A peculiar looking man accosts me on his bicycle.
"I am Victor. Victor the inventor!" he announces.

Cass Gilbert crosses the Chinese border into the Motherland

The Dutch Fashion
The light was smoky and golden and made me understand why Breughel
paintings look the way they do, and when the kids clanged their
handlebar bells at each other it was just a noise of pure joy.

Cynthia Gorney & family tour Holland

High Plains Drifter
Put away that image of sinewy, focused super-beings, man and machine
in perfect harmony. That's not us. This is the tale of two men
who didn't cycle the length of Chile.

Volcanoes, deserts, and pies. Dave Atkinson in Chile

Crossing the Pyrenees
It is difficult really to explain the hold that cycling eventually has over people.
In the winter months, just to look at my touring bike hanging there upside down
in the shed brings a profound sense of well-being, and anticipation
...
Ken Worpole cycles from Bordeaux to Barcelona

Just Do It
You didn't worry about your first bike rides. You didn't fret over equipment
and gear sizes and whether you had the maps. You just went. And I bet that
to this day you remember every one of those childhood expeditions.

Les Woodland on the art of the spontaneous tour

Where is Beautiful?
If the giant catfish beneath Japan was to lift its tail gently and pivot the country ninety
degrees clockwise, the Boso-hanto Peninsula would resemble a foot, with Narita situated
in the middle of the ankle. My slaphappy plan was to head for the arch of the foot
before rolling on along the ball and round the toes.

Josie Dew does Japan

Playing Chicken, Central American Style
Zero to 60 and back to zero all within a split second. Great specs for a sports car,
but rather deadly for a marathon cyclist. To make things worse, I'm presently being
humped by my bike. I'm basically the meat in a helmet-less, shirtless,
sunny-side down sandwich of scratched and bruised bacon over raw asphalt.

Marty McLennan catches a bus in Guatemala

Return of the Toxic Avenger
The garbage has burgeoned into a small mountain community with a richly preserved geologic
timeline much like the striated, exposed walls of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado,
or the multicolored, sedimentary layers of Utah's Canyonlands. Only with a cataclysmic
desolation that feels like a postindustrial, Bauhausler wasteland.

Steven Jurczak in the Garden State

The Problem with Paradise
The reality of travel seldom matches the daydreams. The tragi-comic disappointments
are well-known: the sense of disorientation, the mid-afternoon despair,
the arguments, the lethargy before ancient ruins.

Alain de Botton on why our holidays go awry

The Shah and the Wheelman
The Shah asks if people ever hurt themselves by falling off bicycles; and the answer that a fall
such as I would have experienced might possibly result in broken bones, appeared to strike him as
exceedingly humorous; from the way he laughed I fancy the sending me flying toward the irrigating
ditch was one of the practical jokes that he is sometimes not above indulging in.

Thomas Stevens makes an impression in Persia

Hell on Wheels
You used to see people riding around the city on bicycles and imagine that under their clothes
they must all look like Jane Fonda. A person would have to be in excellent physical
condition, you mistakenly thought, in order to navigate the roller coaster hills of this town.

Jan Richman in San Francisco

In Search of Spring
I did not stop at Shere, "the prettiest village in Surrey," and I saw no reason why it should not
bear the title, or why it should be any the better liked for it. But I went to see the Silent Pool.
Until it has been seen, everything is in the name. I had supposed it circular, tenebrous,
and deep enough to be the receptacle of innumerable romantic skeletons.

Edward Thomas, poet in motion

The Best and Worst of RAGBRAI
It is the oldest, longest and biggest bicycle ride in the world. It has been held without
interruption, through heat waves, droughts, floods, even the Reagan Administration,
for the past 30 years; always starting in a town on or near the Missouri River on Iowa's
western border and ending at a town on the Mississippi River, on its verdant eastern shores.

R Bruhn and 20,000 friends bring Mardi Gras to the Midwest

Bicycle Haiku
Ride across America
go easy, look hard

Kevin Kelly

Japan on a Folding Bike
They were henrosha - pilgrims doing the 88-temple circuit of Shikoku, a historic trail
which atones for the 88 earthly sins. (What are the other 81? Clearly the Japanese
are not as strait-laced as many people think.) It takes weeks to do on foot, though
I was to run into people doing it by bike, public transport, motorbike, and car.

Rob Ainsley in his usual form

The Big Ride
The honeysuckle in the Cornish hedgerows, the call of the elegant curlews gliding
alongside us over Scottish moorlands. We moved in silence for fear of
breaking the spell. I never wanted those moments to end.

Simon Levermore on the great British end-to-end

 

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