Friday, 22 March 2013


For those who think I'm super motivated, read on.....

So onto the all important question of motivation.. nope I'm not talking about the motivation to cycle across America ( chance to see some great sites.. check... raise some money (hopefully) for a good cause ... check... Peace and quiet of solo cycling... check) , I'm talking about motivation to get on my bike in wind, rain and snow and pedel for 4-5 hours on roads I have been up and down so many times I've lost count with no real aim but to complete a specific mileage and get home.

It's been lacking in the last month or so and I'm trying to work out why when clearly it's going to make my life in October that much easier.  I've used all the excuses under the sun... It's wet (yes but it might be wet in Chicago), i'm tired (ditto reply) i haven't got enough time (I could be on my bike instead of writing about it on this blog) and none of them seem good enough.

I'm keeping up my fitness by going climbing regularly - only slightly warmer mind you- and have just got back from walking in the Brecons but i need time in the saddle to recreate the feeling miles on my legs in preparation.

So any suggestions would be welcome ....

My plan is to wait for a day where the rain is at least not threatening to batter me off my bike and just go, hopefully if I keep doing this it will become more of a habit and as time presses on and the day to depart comes closer maybe fear of failing will be the motivational factor that I need... until then I will keep plodding motivationless onwards until one day (hopefully soon) I will start to enjoy it again and the thought of sitting on my saddle will be one i look forward to!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

How it all began...

For those of you remotely interested, i realised that i had jumped ahead slightly and hadn't given any time as to how this idea started and grew to the point where I found myself booking flights for America!

I had already done South to North Wales in 2011 on my MTB and was signing up for Snowdon and Ben Nevis the following year... in a passing conversation with Kat (LHS Chief Exec) she jokingly suggested that I cycle between the two... little did she know that that was the start of all this... the idea took root in my head and the following year I found myself standing at the top of Nevis having cycled 472 miles from Snowdon to get there!

At the gig on the Fri night before Nevis climb i was chatting to some people, when someone asked what I was doing the following year...

Jump back to a facebook conversation with Lily Elsayed.... I have always wanted to cycle across America (half jokingly)... well I know someone who wants to drive Route 66, they could be your support vehicle, came the reply...

Initial laughter.. then ideas started spinning round my head, a few mapped out routes later and the idea was solid in my mind.

That's the power of suggestion at work!  So unless you want to me to cycle round the world, climb Mt Everest (although that i would happily try), or get lost in the jungle of Bolivia whilst trying to cycle the length of S America, don't suggest it as a passing joke... it  will start off as a vague idea, form into an outline and end up as a fully formed plan, with tickets booked and lead more stress for those that get worried about me doing these things solo (see previous post)....

So saying that someone mentioned an Alaska bike/walking endurance challenge, then i saw a picture of the Alaska highway.... so it looks like another year's challenge... ahhgggg better get this year's over with first right????

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Time flies when you are planning.....

209 days to go... yes that is 209 days until I fly out for the great unknown... well chicago anyway to begin my journey over 4 weeks to Santa Monica Pier.

I have spent the last 6 months since my last bike ride planning this in my head and now the plans are slowly starting to come together... a few bumps in the road aside.. it has gone well.

So to address the bumps...

I am now doing this solo... not a problem in my book but this seems to be a big hurdle for a few of my (very good and well meaning) friends.  The big problem in their book is the danger aspect of being female and cycling solo.  I try to cite examples of those who have done similar things before and survived to write books.  I say that I know people in the USA who will help me in an emergency... I say that I could just as easily be hurt or worse cycling in this country.  All these arguments fell on deaf ears and were met in some cases with glares!!   Now i know they mean well, and it comes from worry but I will be fine.  It's not as if i haven't undertaken some bike touring solo already (Snowdon to Ben Nevis and South to North Wales, ok so it's on a bigger scale), and I'm not going to some war - torn country or the jungles of Belize or Everest (though I'm not ruling any of those out for the future!).

However if I wanted my life to be bearable for the next 209 days, i had to think of a solution to ease their worries.  Enter SPOT, a device that will enable me to send messages to friends and family to let them know i am ok , without the need for a phone signal.  It can call emergency rescue wherever you are in the world to your exact GPS location and can track where you are at any given time.  Expensive but well worth the lessening of glares and the guilt at making them worry!

Next bump...  Am I capable of this ???  So now i have to carry my kit, which means buying a bike that is more durable and less light and speedy, making the task harder.  Cycling 100 miles a day is not a problem for me... cycling for 2/3/4/5 days in a row of 100 miles a day, bit tougher but still doable in my book, cycling 100 miles a day for 4 weeks, we shall see....

Time to train....  Anyone that knows me knows that I have little spare time... I seem to have something to do most days.  Fitting in work, climbing, studying, Alarm gigs, and some sleep take up most of my time.  The key will be organisation and just getting on with it.  Easier said than done but I must fit in time to train otherwise I'm in danger of keeling over more than a few miles from Santa Monica!!!

So those are the bumps.. now to concentrate on the positives....

I have booked my flights, so no turning back.
I have mapped my exact route.
I have started to organise a gig in LA at the end of the ride and have the incredible Joe Silva playing with a couple of other musicians TBC
I have done some training
I have done a bike maintenance course (just in case)
I have wonderful friends and family that will support me even if they are worried
I am going to get to see America the proper way
I will raise money for a good cause and hopefully sign people up to the bone marrow donor's list along the way!!!

So watch this space for updates, a day by day blog of the agony when I start, and other musings of a long distance cyclist!