Across Continents

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Spokes on a wheel

December 4th, 2011

I’d not meant to startle her. Just asked if her surname was Wilson. It was. How did I know, she’d asked, hastily looking to see if it was on a luggage tag. It wasn’t. Mine was an informed guess. Chance meeting with Ann in the locker room of the hostel in Santa Monica, striking up a conversation before joining her for breakfast. First of the day.

Ann was a fellow long-haul cyclist, had quite a few years on the road under her belt. But it was her tales of Bulgaria that’d aroused my curiosity. Had her bicycle stolen in Sofia. A story I’d heard before, I was sure. Recounted to me by Myles, a fellow Englishman. We’d ridden together from the city towards Turkey.

The previous evening I’d bumped into Aerind – pronounced Avon – with whom I’d camped at Kirk Creek. He’d arrived at the hostel a little ahead of me, his bob-trailer the source of much cursing as I’d struggled to stow my trusty steed in the small cycle store room.

Ann was heading off by bus for a few days, and I’d another breakfast to go to. Off to nearby Santa Monica pier to meet up once more with Esther, my host in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, eighteen months or so earlier. Now living in LA.

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The Stronger Sex?

December 7th, 2010

Pam - web

Pam Goodall. Ann Wilson. Anne Mustoe. Closer to home. Somerset. Astrid Molyneux. Ingrid Criddle. Household names? Celebrities, a brief foray into the limelight then gone, certainly not. Rather, they have shared in a far greater endeavour. Cycling across entire continents. Some the world. Englishwomen. Alone.

That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of the male species who have completed similar challenges. Faced hardship. Adversity. It’s just simply that I’m aware of more women. Not very scientific I admit. Nor is the observation it confined to those with bicycles. Louise in Dunhuang. Angela I’d met briefly in Xi’an.

I’d been intrigued by the demographics. Men mostly in their twenties. Women often quite a bit older, a good number in their second half century. Which just shows you’re never too old to chase a dream. To go out into the world. Do something bold.

[Pam Goodall’s account of her ride around the world – “Riding It Out” can be found on amazon.co.uk. You can read about Astrid Molyneaux’s exploits on her blog at www.cyclingfullcircle.com. Ingrid Criddle can be found at www.justgiving.com/cycletoistanbul. And to find out more about Ann Wilson and Anne Mustoe, just pop their names into a well known search engine]

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