Across Continents

Ken's Blog

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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Degrees of separation

September 18th, 2011

That Emily Chappell

1 September 2011. Setting off around the world. From the UK. But not me. I left 2 September 2009. Rather, Emily Chappell. Truth is, I’ve never actually met her. And probably won’t for quite a while. Instead, obliged to follow her progress through her blog thatemilychappell.com. A good read.

But what’s really got me intrigued is, well, degrees of separation. For I learnt of Emily through a close friend in Wales who works with her father. And then there’s the other long-haul riders she’s met or been in contact with. The likes of Alistair Humphreys. Shared associations. And Caroline Gilbert. Chance encounter with her in New Zealand just a few months ago.

The world is getting ever smaller…

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Catching up with Mark

June 11th, 2011

Catching up with Mark from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Introducing Mark. Someone Ken had met at the end of his first day on the road back on Dartmoor, UK.

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Chance encounter…

September 16th, 2010

I promised to drop in for a cup of tea. Perhaps even a short stay at her B&B. I’d returned to Johns Information Cafe, in part inspired by my earlier conversation with Edelgard and Gerd, to get more of a measure of fellow travellers. A chance comment about the Welsh language had led to an introduction to Marge.

She’d watched a documentary about the Silk Roads over forty years ago. But only now finally able to fulfill her dream of experiencing them for herself. Heading west through China, following the trading routes to their conclusion in Turkey. Her B&B entrusted to a good friend for a few months.

Then home. A few miles from a small Welsh coastal town. New Quay. "Yes" I said, smiling. "Amusement arcade still there? Just up the hill from the Black Lion Public House?" I enquired. I’d lived there in the second half of the seventies.

Summer holidays divided between messing about in boats in the harbour, cycling along quiet country lanes, and devouring "Famous Five" books. Forty five pence each. Proper adventure. Went back there a few years ago. Brief stop, cream tea and on to Poppit Sands Youth Hostel further along the coast. By bicycle.

[To find out more about Marge’s B&B and self-catering cottage, visit her website www.llaincottage.co.uk]

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