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{ Category Archives } on my bike

I like riding my bike.

history lessons

Somewhere in Australia in a dusty forgotten box I have a hefty steel compass that was one of my great-grandfather’s tools of trade. My great-grandfather was nominally Czech because his family home was in Opava near the current border of the Czech Republic and Poland. But he was born in the late 19th C –  […]

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the roses of sarajevo (or: scars)

Walking through the woods, foraging for mushrooms, I suddenly freeze. Is it safe to step here? This is not an idle fear. Parts of Bosnia have yet to be cleared of land mines and while most of the danger areas are known and marked accidents do still happen from time to time. My dubious grasp […]

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bosnian barbeque

It is only two days after attending a party, uninvited, on the Croatian Bosnian border that I find myself inadvertently gate-crashing another gathering. But this time I am the very first guest to arrive. In fact I arrive before the hosts do. It’s the end of a long hot day in the mountains and I […]

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the trouble with exes: ex-empire, ex-communist, ex-yugoslavia

The evening with its fading light is my favourite time of day and the midsummer gloaming affords a slow lingering glow to bask in long after the brute force of the sun has gone. But tonight my pleasure is tempered by unease. I’m approaching the Croatian border with Bosnia. All land borders are scored into […]

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leaving the citadel

Most people in south-eastern Europe don’t like the term ‘the Balkans’ and don’t use it to refer to themselves. And there is no real agreement as to exactly what area the name refers to, even amongst people who do use it, so I’m going to try to avoid it. If there is a single thing […]

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western europe: connections and disconnections

I have to confess that Western Europe passed by in a bit of a blur and the experience was a little strange. On one hand it was just like home, I mean I’ve actually lived in a lot of these countries and have friends, family and even possessions, dotted about the place, but on the […]

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dispatches from europe: france (via rhona)

The trouble with following rivers, I decide, standing astride my bike on the banks of the Rhône, somewhere a just little north of Lyon, is that you are always at the lowest point in the landscape. And, without a moment of subsequent regret, I turn my back on the river and abandon the ViaRhona. But, […]

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dispatches from europe: france (the camargue)

Sitting in a seedy-ish cafe on the outskirts of Arles drinking coffee and recharging my camera and laptop batteries is a welcome moment of relaxation. It’s all go go go, my European cycle touring style. ‘Stealth’ camping in these densely populated unfriendly ‘developed’ countries requires late stops and early starts and cheap eating means bleak […]

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dispatches from europe: spain

Spain. Spring. The time of orange blossom and nightingales and rapidly changing weather. I’m travelling hobo style, sleeping under bridges or creeping into the inadequate shelter of orange and olive groves. My tent and sleeping bag have fallen, via Australia Post, into the hands of the Spanish customs and no appeal to reason or compassion […]

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adventure cycle-touring handbook

Authored by the inimitable Harriet and Neil Pike, with contributions from lots of other experienced cycle tourists*, the all new updated version of the Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook is finally out.   *Including me!