London to Copenhagen by bike

In the second week of January I had a call from the Managing Director at Unreasonable Group offering me a new part time position - due to some internal restructuring within the Boulder based start up, the new role will see me working with a small team to deliver the two week programs in Asia, the US and the UK until the end of December. Which means I have a few months off work! YES!!

I believe I may have still been on the call, when I Googled "How far to Copenhagen by bicycle?". I had been thinking I wanted to visit my friend in one of the coolest European cities and since there was no pressure on how long it took me to get there, I had the luxury of choosing how to travel. I've done several bike tours before in France, Spain, Ireland, and the west coast of the US, so I didn't thinking riding to Copenhagen would be a big deal. Sure it was my first solo bike tour and sure, it's February, but I can wrap up warm and drink lots of tea. 

I immediately began planning the route from the floor of our flat in Bristol, simply dividing the total distance of about 1000 miles (along the north coast bicycle route - not shown here) by 70, which would be roughly how many miles I hoped to ride a day. The result was about 14 days, so I checked if my buddy in Copenhagen was around on that weekend I was due to arrive, and worked back from there. My route was mapped, bike was serviced and my panniers packed. 

I got the train with Ross to London. He went to work and I set off on my bike from Paddington station and rode south to Crawley Down.

 

This where I stayed for my first night on the road - with a friend's parents.

A warming homemade fish pie followed by stewed fruit and ice-cream, it was then that I knew everything would be ok. The next day I cycled to the South Coast, before cycling East to Hastings where I'd stay with my cousin, her partner and their baby for chilled weekend with them. (And I quickly took a one week detour to Portugal flying in and out of Gatwick, getting the train to and from Hastings, for a romantic holiday with Ross!). From Hastings it was around 50 miles on to Dover where I caught the 2pm Ferry to Dunkirk in France. It was 20Euros for the Air BnB that night and it was one of two nights I paid for accommodation on the entire two week trip. The following 11 nights I would stay with Warm Showers hosts across northern Europe. 

What is Warm Showers? It's a fantastic network of touring cyclists globally, who make themselves a profile and much like couch surfing (although exclusively for touring cyclists) you can offer or ask for a bed. I was looking for the later. I can honestly say that the genuine hospitality I experienced from individuals, couples and families during the entire journey was for sure one of the highlights of the trip. People would welcome me into their homes and offer me somewhere to store my bike, either a hot tea or cold beer, a warm shower, a bed for the night - sometimes a couch with the dogs, other times a spare room or mattress on the living room floor - but always a treat at the end of a days cycling. They'd often make dinner, share conversations about bike touring and adventures around the world, I'd sleep well and be up in the morning and out the door usually by 9am and usually after coffee and breakfast with my generous hosts. 

The weather was also surprisingly great for the time of year. I mostly had dry days and those that were windy were for the most part windy in the right direction. Awesome. I was cycling north east and the wind was usually south westerly blowing me along the straight and open county roads. The landscape was flat almost the entire way. I had some hills in Denmark on my last two days and enjoyed the ups and downs. I ate like a horse - eating whatever my hosts had laid out for breakfast, stopping two hours later for coffee and cake, then again for lunch from a super market or a local cheap cafe, and then arriving with my hosts for the night - bringing with me wine, flowers, chocolate or whatever I could find in the last hour of the day as a small gesture. 

On my first day in Europe I cycled from France over the border into Belgium without even noticing. Once in Belgium I rode to Bruges and enjoyed a couple of strong Belgian Beers on the main square, took a look at the canals and bought some Belgian chocolate as a souvenir for Ross and some for me and my hosts. Seeing me try to get my cleats clicked in, or ride over the cobbled streets with those two beers in me would have been a funny sight. Crossing my second border (also unknown to me), I was in The Netherlands where I rode across all of their apparently famous dikes, protecting the low lying areas from flooding. I stayed overnight in both The Hague and Amsterdam. Still in The Netherlands I crossed the 20 mile long dike (3 miles of which were No Hands). I couldn't have been more lucky with the weather that day - a strong tail wind in my favour I managed to maintain a speed of 25mph for a bit! In Germany I rode through Hamburg and Lubeck. Eventually then I got the ferry from Germany to Denmark where I rode my final two days to Copenhagen. Can you believe it, I got a flat tyre just an hour south of Copenhagen - after pedalling over 900 miles, crossing 5 countries! And because I was complacent and didn't remove the sharp flint from my tyre, it punctured the second inner tube too, which I repaired quickly to make it to my friends house in the city before dark. 

I had The BEST welcome from my friend who was as happy to see me as I was here. Needless to say, we had an amazing weekend. A homemade banner was held enthusiastically by my smiling friend hooting and hollering on the corner or her street. Followed by champagne, home-cooked dinner with red wine, and a full weekend exploring the city. I flew home on Monday last week after discovering the train wasn't feasible. 

Now I'm back in Bristol planning the rest of the year. We're moving to a new flat in a couple of weeks, training for the Ultra Marathon we've signed up for in Austria this June, and then Ironman Wales in September. Not to mention all the programs with Unreasonable! Don't think I'll be short of things to keep me busy. 

More from me soon. 'Til then! 

 

 

If this isn't inspiring I don't know what is

This past ten days, I have been investigating how to bring more art into my life. Crafting, making, painting and creating is something I've done since I was a little girl, even today I spend my free moments doodling and drawing. Yet for one reason or another, I've never given it time other than painting gift cards for friends and family. 

Today, I remembered the talk of an amazing chap called Tom Fishburne a.k.a "The Marketoonist". I met him when he told his inspiring story about quitting his job at Method (after being inspired himself at the inaugural Do Lectures 3 years prior) to follow his heart in to cartooning. We were in a tipi in Wales at The Do Lectures in 2011. I was there volunteering and remember his talk vividly. In fact I remember putting my hand up in the auction for one of his signed original paintings of the event, the bid got to high and alas, a more wealthy bidder won the prize. Good for the fundraiser though! Here's Tom's Do Lectures experience in his own words accompanied by the slides from his talk.

I left a great job, at a great company, in a recession, to become a cartoonist. Today, I’m here to share the story of finding my story, in the hopes that it helps you think about yours.
— Tom Fishburne

Tom's cartoons carry powerful messages which he sells to brands as a communication tool. Cartoons cut to the point, entertain and have a poignance which can't always be put into words. His work now gets viewed by hundreds of thousands of people and is featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal and more. It's inspiring because he's made his passion his work and I'm excited to share with you Tom's talk in the hope it ignites a fire in your belly, like it did for me today. 

 

 

An Annual Event (x2)

In December 2015 we were in Falmouth Cornwall and reflected on the years prior.  

One year on, we have been from Cornwall to St Davids, to Boulder to California, back to Wales, off to New York, Colorado again and now we are starting the next chapter at our new home in Bristol.

It was, December 31st, 2016 and after a romantic dinner for two in the sweet Italian restaurant on the ground floor of our new flat, we scrolled through our RossandAlice joint Instragram and our individual Facebook timelines cataloguing the highlights of the year. It was a special two hours in the countdown to the new year, to look back and remember all the things we've forgotten or not revisited for a while. With mostly huge highs and some lows, here's what we captured. 

ABtimeline

Top Moments in Women's Action Adventure Sports

A friend called Zennor, named after the place in Cornwall (Hi Zennor if you are reading this!) sent me this link which highlights the best moments in womens action adventure last year. 

Some great click through links and articles to look at for the young female adventure enthusiast out there. 

http://mpora.com/articles/top-10-moments-womens-action-adventure-sports-2015#Y9IuyCLKcKRI7yqD.97

Go get it girls!

Photo from Blog - not sure who took it - sorry photographer!

Photo from Blog - not sure who took it - sorry photographer!

A few cards I made... more coming soon

Each card is an original hand-painted card. No prints or copies made. 

I'm going to get some more photos of these cards soon showing them 'on set'.

They are going to be sold with a square brown envelope and a clear plastic protective wrap and then quickly sent out in the post to  you. 

I'm thinking of about 3.50 including P&P for UK orders. Sound reasonable enough?

Here's to the rise of Multipotentialites!

Watched another great TEDx talk from Emilie Wapnick speaking last spring from Bend, Oregon last night. 

It seems to be a week of being reassured by others that having many skills and interests is totally ok. One doesn't need to have a calling or a career that's clear as day in order for them to be successful in life, in fact we need people who can be dynamic, fast learners, combine their learnings to create new ideas, merge subjects and be very creative thinkers. After all some of the most successful work teams are made up of specialists and generalists. Or what Emilie Wapnick likes to call 

MULTI -

POTENTIAL- 

ITES 

"Multipotentialites"  

And I like it!

She talks of the three super powers that Multipotentialites have in her talk below - watch it - it's great.  


Jill of All Trades - that's me alright.

I just finished listening to another fantastic podcast from Tim Ferris about the Top 5 Reason's to be a Jack of All Trades. Or in my case, Jill of All Trades. 

I was sat in a classroom at 16 years old and told to pick my four A Level subjects. 

As a young student I was totally flummoxed (great word) at having to select my subjects, which I was lead to believe would define my future.

Two years later it was all about searching university prospectuses, scanning endless lists of potential degrees available and I felt the same confusion over what subject to choose. Where to specialize... 

I settled on what I thought was the most exciting option... to leave home and go work in Mexico, work as a kayak guide, learn Spanish and travel around Central America at 18.

My life has continued on a similar path. Amazing adventures with interesting people, a host of different jobs and exciting experiences including producing the Do Lectures in wine country California, Sales Director for one of the best surf resort in the jungles of Costa Rica, Office Manager at the home of Outdoor Adventure sport Coasteering, Escaping from Alcatraz, Ironman Cozumel, and working on the world's first accelerator dedicated to girls in poverty.... and that's all in the last 3 years. 

The Jill of All Trades maximizes her number of peak experiences in life. She has an insatiable pursuit of excellence, unrelated to material gain.
— Tim Ferris

I was listening intently, snuggled up on the sofa feeling quietly happy about the roller-coaster my life is and how those incredible and random experiences have all been important in me becoming more of a generalist, much less a specialist. 

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
— Robert A Heinlein

Tim was saying "Jack of All Trades, Master of None" is a load of rubbish... and actually we, the generalists, survive and thrive. Good news! There are so many gems in this podcast it could become a weekly listen for me. Click the image to listen to the podcast. 

If you could become world class at half a dozen skills, each in 6 months of less, which would you choose?
— Tim Ferris

hello spring

I just went surfing at Penhale here in Kernow.

We have been in most weekends since moving here but this morning was the first surf without gloves or a hood since surfing at C street in Ventura last August.

It is an absolutely beautiful day here in Cornwall and I'm excited for all that this place has to bring in summer. Barbecues, fires on the beach, camping, sunset and sunrise surfs, coast path running and more.

We have one more week in the caravan then back to St Agnes for another month before finding somewhere to settle in for the summer season. 

Enough for now, must get outside and enjoy the sun before heading to work at The Scarlet later this afternoon. 

Happy Easter everyone!

Thanks to Lewis Clarke for the photo 

Thanks to Lewis Clarke for the photo 

JUMP!

Here's a two minute introduction to us, from a dear friend of ours called Duke Stump. 

This was just seconds before we went on stage to give our Do Lecture 

I wanted to share the introduction because the time he talks about brings back the memory which is a happy one but it also reminds me to just jump! Even if you're not sure about something, go for it and build your wings on the way down. 

 

 

Our Do Lecture

There's a few mentions of The Do Lectures elsewhere on my site, so I thought I'd share the talk that Ross and I gave at The Do Lectures USA in California in September 2013.

We had been on the road, cycling from Canada to Mexico for a few months already when we stopped in at the stunning winery Campovida in Mendocino County to volunteer at 'DO USA'. As I'd volunteered at DO Wales for every year previously, it felt right to come and help out over the pond, especially as our cycle plans forecast for us to be cycling through that area right around the time of the event.

No forecast could have predicted though, that on the first afternoon of the event we would be up on stage speaking ourselves. After all, the speakers we've met from The Do Lectures over the last 5 years have become our mentors, people we have a huge amount of admiration and respect for - so to be up on stage where they had stood sharing our own inspirational story was such an honor. 

At this point though, I must add, we were invited to speak just 2 hours before our slot on stage. There had been a last minute cancellation from an adventurous speaker whose journey had been significantly delayed. So we escaped from volunteering for the afternoon and using a whiteboard, started mapping out what the hell we were going to say, pulling photos off our Facebook walls and wherever else we could to illustrate the journey we'd been on. Where do we even start?!  Unlike the other speakers who had had months to prepare we frantically got to work to give the biggest talk of our lives to date. 

We rushed into the barn with 2 minutes to spare - enough time to catch our breath, compose ourselves and hear the most touching introduction from our friend and mentor Duke Stump.