The writing of a cycling blog whilst the cat sits on the keyboard.
I haven’t done this before. Nor have I written that much in the form of an essay since back in the day whilst at uni, in the days when six thousand word essays on early modern history could still be handed in to the secretaries office, hand written.
Truthfully this blogging idea is a tad daunting. The idea of writing publicly is not something I have considered before. However it is also true that I am also quite up for trying my hand at writing once again.
What it is I intend to write about in this Blog Page
This blog will combine themes which are important to me. It will concentrate on cycling and combine that with history & culture, and all those places you can happen-upon whilst you’re sat on your saddle.
The type of cycling I will write about will be what I will call the adventurous kind. I have never been a competitive cyclist. I do use all the paraphernalia and I look the part, but I prefer not to be a sporty cyclist. I prefer long routes, nightly stops, explorations continued over stages & whether I am on my tod or with a small group of friends these routes are often remarkably unplanned. The routes tend to just happen in their own way, and I find that quite satisfying.
The history & culture that will be encountered in the blog will be that of Andalucia. I live in a region that is extremely rich and dense in the subjects and themes of historical & cultural interest. Just as Andalucia is rich in these areas it is also rich in all types of physical geography and landscapes. Andalucía has many mountain ranges, a great river basin, wide open flat lands, lush agricultural lands, desert & of course coastlines.
So here I am introducing myself to anyone who fancies a read.
When I left London behind (not on bad terms it must be said – I am still very loyal to London), I also left behind the life of an urban cyclist. Gone were all those fast moving twisting turning rides down the Euston Road or Whitechapel High Street; the hurtling whirls around the Aldwych roundabout, or the Elephant. Those mammoth runs, done daily and hardly noticed, between Seven Sisters and Brixton via Hackney, and back. Of course it goes without saying I miss those Critical Mass rides from the Embankment, especially the big ones during the summer.
There is still a part of me who misses all those rat-runs through London, the internal “knowledge” which I accrued and all that it incurred. I sometimes still wonder if I still retain that sixth sense needed to be a “successful” London cyclist in the 90´s.
I have been here in Andalucia for almost twenty years now.
However, as I said, I have been here in Andalucia for almost twenty years now., and cycling here is another thing altogether. D´locks have been changed for panniers and the full set of waterproofs once worn twelve months of the year now only sees the light of day now and again.
My introduction to Andalucia was a cycle tour that I made from Malaga to Lisbon in 2001. I rode with my mate Mike who was a cycle courier back in London. We had the return flights booked from Lisbon, so we knew we had two weeks in which to reach our goal. From the very first day the ride was a revelation to me. Over that period we rode through the Montes de Málaga and then crossed over the Sierra de Cadiz, then we cruised along the flat roads of the Golfo de Cadiz and once in the Algarve we turned north. I still remember with clarity the mountainous horizons I saw from the saddle and the strange looking woodlands, the infinite roads and the small towns that we happened upon.
The experience was such that I knew I had to return and when I did, I stayed. Since then, and many winding, twisting, turning roads later, I have made a small space for myself in the cycling fraternity here. I have spent many years working in bicycle workshops here in Sevilla, keeping rusty relics on the road or enjoying the process of a hand build for a special customer. I have also taken part in running a small club in Sevilla where beginners & veterans were all welcomed. The club brought new touring buddies together and the wheel revolved again.
I have returned to many of those strange roads that I first rode in 2001, these roads which are now familiar to me just as the names of all the towns are now familiar and have accrued their own personal resonances.
As I pedal I Sometimes think about that other bloke, the urban cyclist, who rode along these roads for the first time, but the nostalgia doesn’t stay too long, because there is always a turn I haven’t seen before, and a road not taken, a lane or a track which will lead to who knows where. The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit into place on the mental map and a new “Knowledge” is gained.
I am now proud to open out these initial experiences I had almost twenty years ago to new adventuring cyclists. Now I have gone native and I would love to introduce to you these panoramas, cultures & histories. I would like to take you down along these roads, tracks and lanes, and into the landscape.