To those who made me smile, laugh, took an interest in what I was doing, helped when I needed help, THANK YOU
Be aware before reading on, that the book is now in the copyediting stage and typos and grammar will be ironed out before book publishing
1 Being soaked to the bone was no fun at all
2 It's surprising what a person can do when only that person can
3 Couldn’t get through, but I wasn’t one to give up easily
4 You have no limits
5 Captured the unwanted attention of a bull, but back on the horse
6 Lost and found
7 Everything I’d imagined
8 The shits and giggles
9 Old Bill on my case
10 Unbelievable panty-liners
11 Realising that the poorest people have the biggest smiles
12 I could buy this, or do that
13 Not a sausage
14 Got a little wet
Many an incredible story may have been told about young courageous men and women cycling the globe in search of adventure, covering vast distances at speed each day with not a care in the world, sleeping wherever they could pitch a tent or find someone willing to give them a free meal and bed for the night, who intentionally looked bedraggled to resemble famous adventurers of old, with men sporting wild hair and beards that could clear dusty streets
Well, this incredible story is a little different. It’s about a gigantic 350-pound middle-aged working-class husband and father who was never a regular cyclist and who knew nothing about bicycle maintenance and repair. And yet, without a single day of bicycle touring practice, I loaded up a shiny new bike with everything I thought I’d need and a whole lot more. I then cycled out of Cheshire to see the world, solo, self-financed, no support network, and without any fixed route plan other than “I’m going that way.”
What could go wrong I wondered
Chapter 1 eBook
Chapter 1 PDF
Being soaked to the bone was no fun at all
Built like a brick shithouse as a result of decades of heavy manual labour in the building industry, weight-training, and the odd bacon butty, cycling was never my hobby.
In 2016 at a BMI-busting 350 pounds, my doctor suggested that an occasional short bicycle ride would relieve some pain in my lower back, so I took his advice and bought a cheap second-hand bike. I was 53 years old at the time, and I hadn’t owned a bicycle for decades.
I lived near the coast in Tanlan, North Wales, and I started taking occasional short rides along a coastal promenade and pathways, avoiding the roads as best I could. I enjoyed cycling for a few miles from time to time to grab a coffee at a cafe on the prom and chat with a few people I met along the way. Every so often, I’d chat with young bicycle tourists who were following the coastline, and I loved to hear all about their adventures, as it seemed a great way to travel.
I started reading bicycle touring stories written mostly by middle-class university-educated young people with support networks and few responsibilities and even sponsorship in some cases. Although I admired those young people for their achievements, I wanted to hear from parents and spouses and the middle-aged working-class like me. After a little digging on some social media platforms, I found that people of all ages and backgrounds were on incredible adventures all over the world. There were people on unicycles, tricycles, bikes with trailers, and all manner of unusual pedal-powered contraptions. Some were in their twilight years, and a few had disabilities. Interestingly, a few were not only seeking adventure but were hoping to find the reason for their entire being.
I hadn’t had my hybrid bicycle all that long when my wife Sue and I moved to England. I was still 53 and couldn’t get bicycle touring out of my head. So I decided to take my doctor’s “occasional short ride” suggestion to the next illogical level. I was between jobs, and I’d saved enough money not to have to rely on the goodwill or charity of others.
I told my wife Sue and daughters Chelsea and Chloe, about my vague plan, which was that I was going to ride out of Cheshire and the UK and just keep going. “But are you not going to practice, Dad?” my daughters asked. They thought it would have been a good idea to take a shorter ride first, such as the length of Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats. But I wanted to see how far and for how long I could ride without any practice at all. I felt it would add to the adventure, and I was excited at the thought of learning as went. A few people I spoke with said I wouldn’t get very far without a good deal of practice and some repair and maintenance skills. But, that can’t do attitude made me more determined.
I planned to keep going until something beyond my control stopped me, or I reached a point where I felt I’d done what I wanted to do. I might have ruled out practising, but I knew I’d still have to prepare in other ways. I imagined a bicycle tour of just a few weeks requiring few financial risks and minimal planning. In contrast, a trip of what could be many months, a year or much longer would be a completely different beast. I’d have to write a will and get a new passport with plenty of extra pages, just in case. I’d need treatments against viruses and other illnesses such as rabies, yellow fever and malaria. I had no idea where I might end up, so I thought it would be a good idea to be covered. I’d also have to work out what clothing I might need, and I had no doubt the list of equipment would be lengthy.
I started looking at bikes, and there was so much choice. I needed the equivalent of a Shire horse, not a racehorse, as it needed to carry my weight, as well as around 100 pounds of gear along not just roads, but tracks and trails. It would also have to be easy to maintain and reliable. I spent weeks looking at different bikes from all over the world, and I couldn’t find a single one that had a weight-limit compatible with me. After a lot of reading about the pros and cons of different bicycles and parts, I chose the KOGA WorldTraveller expedition bicycle.
I was inspired by Mark Beaumont’s video of his record-breaking cycle around the world on a similar model KOGA. Mark told me in an email that “There is no better pace to see the world” and from what I’d read, I could believe it. I loved the colour choices of the Worldtraveller, and the build looked masculine and capable of carrying my weight. Though at over £4000 with the panniers and spares, it wasn’t cheap.
After ordering the bike from Cyclesense Ltd in Tadcaster North Yorkshire, it felt like an eternity before it was ready for me to collect. Though it didn’t take long at all, I was just so excited and itching to get going. While I was waiting for delivery, I purchased all the gear that I thought I’d need, and then some. The bike and bags and all the gear weighed 143 pounds, and the total weight, including me, was just shy of 500 pounds.
The night before the first day of my adventure, my mum was feeling a bit upset and worried. She said it was because she thought I wasn’t scared of much and was a little accident-prone as a result. I was “a little accident-prone” for sure. Sue and I were living in Liverpool at that time and less than 20 miles from mum’s, so I decided to spend the evening with her and leave from there the following morning. Chelsea and Chloe lived near mum’s, so I was able to see them that evening too.
I had already said goodbye to Sue, which I thought was a good idea instead of letting her realise I was gone when the lawns had grown three feet deep. I promised her I’d phone each day if I could and hopefully have her fly out to spend a little time with me at some point, somewhere. Sue wasn’t happy about my adventure, and she was worried something terrible would happen to me. She planned on keeping herself busy, and I made sure she had a brand new push lawnmower and lots of new gardening tools, and a big toolkit and drill. I was thoughtful like that.
After a restless sleep on mum’s settee, I carried out the last checks on the bike to make sure I had everything, and it was all secure. I had no idea how the bike was going to feel or handle with the bags fully loaded, and I couldn’t be sure that all the weight wouldn’t buckle the wheels if I hit a pothole in the road. It looked tough enough though.
It was the 1st of August 2017 when I said goodbye to my teary mum as she stood in her doorway out of the rain in the dull early morning light. Then just one mile into my ride, I stopped on a footbridge, and I could see the streets where my daughters lived. I imagined them sound asleep, and it upset me. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I felt my chest tighten as I said “goodbye I love you” under my breath before I cycled on with the rain hiding my tears as they rolled off my face. I had no idea when I would see my wife and children again. I was fully aware that it was my choice to go, but that didn’t stop me from feeling sad.
Less than five miles into my journey, I bumped into an old friend, Fran. I hadn’t seen him for decades, and he was crossing the same bridge but going the other way on his bicycle to work. It was great to see him and chat for a few minutes. A little farther on, I passed a roadside café and the thought of Full English breakfast and a few minutes out of the rain seemed like a good plan, so I turned around and filled up. That first day, I cycled 24 miles in the rain to Yatehouse Farm Camping in Middlewich, where I eagerly set about pitching the tent and inflated the air mattress and pillow.
It felt great to put everything together for the first time. I'd previously set the tent up in the garden to make sure it was complete and undamaged, but I hadn’t slept in a tent for more than 15 years. I also bought a gear-shed attachment, which was a small extra room that clipped onto the frame of the main tent. It added a lot of extra space to keep wet clothing and the bike out of sight when wild camping. It also meant I'd have more room in the main tent area away from anything wet. I had no use for the gear-shed on the campsite, the bike was given a place in a greenhouse locked to a table.
The campsite owner looked at the sign hanging off the rear of my Ortlieb rack-pack. It had details of JUMP Children’s Charity, my website and social media channels, and he asked if I was going to cycle completely around the world. I told him that I hadn’t ruled it out, so he asked me how far I’d cycled to date. He then burst out laughing when I told him it was my first day, and then I burst out laughing with him because I must have looked like I’d been cycling for months. He handed me a bag of fruit and said I could stay at the campsite free of charge, which was kind of him.
The ground at the site was soaking wet, so I thought it would be a great idea to pitch the tent under an old apple tree for shelter. During the night, I was battered by water that had built up on the leaves, but I drifted off quite quickly. I wasn’t asleep long though before I awoke to what I could only describe as a feeling of someone pushing a long knife straight through my right thigh, and the pain was excruciating. It jolted me so severely that I hurt my back in the process of sitting up too quickly in the restricted space of my sleeping bag. I was then feeling pain in my back and cramp in my left leg. The cramp had appeared for good measure. Neither of those extra pains came close to the pain in my right thigh, and it was concerning.
Once the right thigh pain eased, I lay on my back for a few minutes. It then started again, and I struggled to hold my voice from waking other campers. I had the sleeping bag unzipped at that point, so I raised and squeezed my knee until the pain went away. I thought I’d torn a muscle from doing far too much on my first day and felt that I’d ended my adventure while still in Cheshire. I was devastated. I lay there feeling more than a little sorry for myself but soon fell asleep. I awoke the next morning in a large puddle of rainwater because my tent was in a dip, but on the plus side, the thigh pain had pretty much gone, so I decided to continue. My first day had turned out far harder than I thought possible and all I could think about was my daughters suggesting I should have had some practice.
It was still raining as I set out, and the wind was coming hard at me. Even so, I managed 28 miles that day which was a massive achievement for me as I hadn’t ridden that kind of distance since my teens. I booked into a hotel because I couldn’t find a campsite within reach, and I was desperate to dry some clothes and have a hot meal.
Being soaked to the bone was no fun at all, but only to be expected in England in the height of summer. My waterproof clothes didn’t help much because they were the sort that trawler people used out at sea, thick heavy rubber. I was too big to be able to buy cycling or sports waterproof clothing from sports stores, so I had to wear whatever I could buy online. I was fully aware that being up to 5XL might cause all kinds of problems as I progressed through my adventure. I purchased lycra padded cycling shorts online from China that were more like 3XL. To squeeze into them, I had to cut the elastic edging on thighs.
Even so, it was still like trying to get 350 pounds of sausage meat into a 200-pound skin, and the reasons why I wore baggy shorts over the top. In only Lycra, I wasn’t a pretty sight, and I pictured mothers dragging their children and pets off the streets and closing the curtains or blinds as I passed through towns and villages. Maybe a little exaggeration, but I had myself laughing at the thought. Soothing new-found muscles and getting into a big sprung bed that second night was pure bliss. I had every faith that, at some point, my muscles would settle in, the sun would shine, and I would become less embarrassed about how I looked in tight clothing.
The following day as I cycled along a canal towpath, I came across some young bulls stuck in the water up to their middles. The rest of the herd stood around, unable to do anything but stare. I pedalled on at a good pace for three miles until I came across a pub where I approached the manager. It turned out she knew who owned the young bulls and she told me everything would be fine, so I continued on my way towards a campsite I’d located. The rain was relentless, and I was still suffering sore muscles. I also had another feeling I didn’t expect to feel so soon, a sense of real freedom. I had everything with me that I thought I’d need to see my adventure through, and I had no time constraints.
At the campsite, I washed my clothes in the shower and hung them out on the washing line that I'd tied between a tree and the tent. Sadly, it rained all night, and the next morning I had to beat everyone on the campsite to the washroom dryers. With everything dry, a lady named Sue and her son Kai had set up their tent with some friends next to mine the night before, and they made me a nice coffee before I packed up and set off. The sun was shining as I left, and I had the wind to my back. Later that morning, I cycled right through the middle of a beautiful wheat field on a flattened path a tractor had made. I stood the bike in the middle and snapped an image that I thought would always remind me of my adventure.
Wild camping was something I was looking forward to, though I didn’t expect to be doing it so soon because I felt sure I’d have no trouble finding campsites. My problem was that I wasn’t able to cover vast distances each day, so campsites were few and far between. If my range had been between 50 and 100 miles a day, I would have had no problem. That first night of wild camping was at the end of a very long and hard day, a typical day up to that point. I struggled over my first bumps and hills, and I eventually ran out of steam.
I stood at an opening in a hedge that led to a farmer’s recently cut field. I couldn’t see anyone nearby, so I waited for the last cars to pass before I quickly pushed the bike through the gap and set up my tent behind the hedge out of sight. It felt nice to get out of my sweat-soaked heavy clothing, followed by a scrub with a packet of wet-wipes, before diving into a dry sleeping bag.
I attached the gear-shed to the tent and hid the bike inside, along with everything else I didn’t need in the main tent area. When choosing a tent, weight, space, weather resistance and strength, were all critical factors, so I did a lot of research before selecting the MSR Hubba Hubba NX. Being extra-large, I decided on the two-person version.
Cooking was not on the cards at that point because I rarely cooked a proper meal at home if I was on my own. I'd grab snacks or make something simple instead. I could appreciate how nice it would have been for a couple of people to finish a ride, put a pan on and cook some simple food, then sit chatting for a while before crashing out for the night. Cooking a meal-for-one behind a hedge in a field didn’t sound like fun to me, more like a chore, followed by washing the dishes and tidying everything up.
The next morning I was back on a towpath. It was often hard work when a towpath turned to a narrow muddy trail, so I struggled a bit but managed to keep from falling in the water. I met my first bicycle tourist on the towpath, Lara, who had been cycling for days in the opposite direction to me. We had a great chat, and I was very impressed with her story.
I had been on the road for nearly a week, and it was a great feeling to make it to Banbury between Coventry and Oxford. Later the next day, I stopped at a grocery shop owned by a Sri Lankan family that had fled Sri Lanka due to civil war. The husband asked me if I'd like tea or coffee, and I eagerly said yes to a coffee. I waited outside the shop for a long time, and I wondered what was taking so long, but it turned out that it was the first cup of coffee they'd ever made. It was the best coffee I’d had in a very long time and it was much appreciated.
Before I knew it, I'd passed through Oxford, and the few hills I had encountered to that point were not too harsh, but I did have to stop a good few times to catch my breath and rest. I was reluctant to push the bike up hills because I suffered nerve damage to the whole of my right side, and quite often when I thought I’d lifted my right foot off the floor when walking, I hadn’t. I’d go arse over tit, and the last place I’d want to land was in a live lane. I had fallen over so many times that Sue couldn’t help but laugh. She said it was incredible to watch a 350-pound man floating to the ground like an autumn leaf. I was hardly anything like an “autumn leaf”, but I learned over time to hit the floor as softly as I could to protect my damaged spine. I would fall in ways that would give me the least amount of pain, much like a stuntman or martial-artist would, but not as gracefully. Sue once watched in horror as I rolled about 15 feet along a footbridge before she burst out laughing, and I ended up laughing with her.
I couldn’t risk falling into live traffic if I stopped on the side of a hill, so each time I paused I tried to make sure I was leaning left, putting weight on my left foot. My right leg was also much weaker than my left, and the beauty of cycling was that my left leg helped to keep the right leg moving and took up the slack. I was also aware that when cycling on the right side of the road abroad, I would still have to lean on my left leg and into live traffic, and the thought of that concerned me a little. I hoped that by then, I’d have learned a few tricks that would keep out of harm's way.
The reason for the nerve damage was that years before, I worked for a facility management company, and I was part of a team installing a lane closure on the M6 motorway in Birmingham. I heard a rumble behind me as I stood on the hard shoulder, and I turned my head in time to see the front of an articulated lorry, just before it struck me. I was lucky to survive but ended up with permanent spine and nerve damage throughout the whole of my right side. The driver accepted liability, but I was dismissed from my job on capability grounds, as I could no longer carry out my duties as before. The accident had a considerable impact on not only my income at the time and physical health but also mental health in the form of PTSD and situational anxiety. However, it wasn’t too long before I was back on my financial feet.
My health was a big reason why I chose the Rohloff Speedhub for the bike. It was an internally geared hub, and I could set a gear I wanted by turning a twist shifter on the handlebars, and not have to turn the pedals like with a derailleur set up. Getting nearly 500 pounds moving again on the side of the hill was relatively easy, and the spokes in the rear wheel due to the hub where shorter which added to the wheels strength. The force that I put on the rear wheel and gearing, and the whole of the bike from a standing start or hill start must have been off the scale, after all, I could leg press over a 1000lb for reps, despite my right leg being weaker than the left.
And so, after yet another comfortable night in my tent, I was just 22 miles north of Woodstock, and I awoke to another dull rainy day. I packed up the soaking wet gear and headed out. Later that day, I arrived at a campsite to find that tents weren’t allowed. It was motor homes and caravans only, so I offered to pay the motor home pitch price, but still no joy, so I headed to a hotel five miles away. Once booked in, I had a hot bath, washed some clothes, and then dove into lovely clean sheets.
The next morning I got a clicking noise, and I couldn't tell whether it was coming from the pedals or the rear wheel, but I could feel the vibrations in my right foot, so I made a phone call to the dealership. We agreed that the noise could have been part’s settling in, which was entirely possible, given that the bike was brand new. Though I did have my doubts.
I pottered along that morning, taking in the scenery when all of a sudden, I found myself getting off the road as fast as I could in a panic. A truck had gone past me with a loose trailer strap that swiped my arm. I managed to hold myself together as I darted off the road and took shelter out of the rain under a large oak tree. The situational anxiety I suffered was concerning being close to large vehicles as a pedestrian. The rumbling of wheels and the draught as they passed would have me cringing.
My enlarged heart was pounding out of my chest as I stood staring out at the chaotic traffic. I focused on the roads two-foot shoulder I'd been riding, and on just how narrow the road as a whole was. Trucks flew past at high speed, and rainwater sprayed up into a dense mist. I seemed to focus in on every little thing, yet moments earlier, I was riding along like I didn’t have a care in the world. I knew cycling in traffic would be a massive challenge. I also knew that I would have to fight that mental state and physical limitations, so I gave myself a good talking to and continued on my way.
I was soon ready to take on my biggest range to that point, the Chiltern Hills. I found a campsite in Wallingford, and it was the perfect time to call into a bike shop to get some professionals to look at what all the clanging and grinding was. The noise had become so loud that people standing by the roadside would look to see what was coming. A bike built for world travel might not even get me out of the UK, I thought. The staff at Rides On Air bike shop in the town got straight to work on the bike, stripping the pedals and cleaning out the bottom bracket. The reason they went for that area rather than the rear of the bike or the Speedhub, was because I told them my dealership thought it was likely grit or sand in the bottom bracket.
The staff found nothing wrong with the bottom bracket, but made me a great cup of coffee and didn’t charge for the work. As I cycled from the bike shop to the campsite close by, the noise had stopped. Back in my tent at Bridge Villa Camping and Caravan Park, I tried to plan my route through the hills. I was in the perfect spot to be able to cut through the Chilterns without any significant climbs.
Using navigation apps on my iPhone and Garmin Edge Explorer 1000 took some working out. The Garmin turned out to be a complete waste of money for me, so it just sat in the bottom of one of the pannier bags in case my phone packed in. I couldn’t get used to it, and much preferred Google Maps and Maps.me. When people asked what route I was taking or how I mapped my route in advance, they’d be visibly shocked to hear I had no physical maps or any rigid plans at all. I would say “I’m going that way” and point south. The lack of solid route planning seemed a bit scary to some, but to me, it meant more adventure and a more significant challenge.
The shocked expressions regarding routes were nothing compared to facial contortions when they were made aware that I hoped to cycle many countries. Some tried to hide their reaction, but most couldn’t summon the strength to hold back from looking me up and down. I was sure that I caught one person managing to scan me from head to toe with just one eye while maintaining eye contact with me with the other. Given my build, I must have looked a highly unlikely bicycle tourist.
The next morning all seemed well as I cycled out of the campsite in the rain and onto a muddy farm track. It wasn’t too long before I got on to some tarmac, and six miles later in torrential rain, I found a café in Goring that served a full English breakfast. It was just what I needed to warm and cheer me up. While I waited for my breakfast, a man with his son approached my table to ask about my adventure. He pointed at my bike and asked if I did any camping. I said “yes I did”, and I looked over to the bike and pointed in the direction of where I'd strapped my tent. To my horror, it wasn’t there. I couldn’t believe it as I dashed over to the bike to make sure.
Because the tent was wet that morning, I strapped it to the rear rack underneath the rack-pack, in the hope the weather would brighten up and dry it out. The strap holding the tent had come off, and the tent had fallen off during the six miles to the café. Just as things couldn’t get any worse, my breakfast was on the table. I didn’t have time for breakfast, I had to find my tent before someone else did, so I grabbed the black pudding and bacon and started back towards the campsite, constantly scanning the road, hedgerows and ditches.
I was eventually just a few hundred yards from the site, and I could see a red lump in the middle of the muddy track I started the day on. It was my tent. I couldn’t believe it. When setting out that morning, the farm track was bone-shaking, and I slipped a few times, ending up with the bike on its side. There was lots of thumping a banging as I rattled along the track, so I didn’t notice the tent falling off and hitting the ground. After that mishap, I made sure always to loop the handles of the bag containing the tent, over the seat post.
At the point of finding my tent, I had travelled 12 miles in the rain to get to where I started, but I wasn’t at all devastated, I was happy to find the tent. I then had to start heading back for my breakfast six miles away. A couple of miles later, the rain became so heavy that every car that passed created a wave that soaked me. I took cover in what looked like an old wooden bus shelter. I sat there soaking wet, feeling sorry for myself and trying to use my phone’s touch-screen with wet crinkly fingertips. A truck pulled up, and the driver came over and asked if I was okay or in need of a lift. I must have looked a right sorry state as I sat there wondering if my fried bread had soaked up all the tomato juice and gone mushy. I told him about the café, and it turned out he was going the same way. I had no problem taking the lift because I’d already made the trip once, and back, and nearly halfway back again, a total of 14 miles of cycling and I was starving.
We loaded the gear and set off back at the café, where I was horrified to find that my breakfast had vanished. I explained my situation to the staff, but I got blank stares. I hadn’t told them to keep it warm for me, so it was my fault they cleared it up. I didn’t want to shell out on another one, so I kept going in the hope of finding a campsite in the afternoon. The rain wouldn't let up and seemed to get worse, and as I'd had such a bad morning, I decided to book into the first guesthouse I came across, and what an excellent guesthouse it was. The lovely owners at the Weir View in Pangbourne gave me a significant discount. I looked like a drowned rat and they felt a little sorry for me. They even put cardboard on the floor in their elegant kitchen so that I had a place for the bike. I had a nice hot bath and dove into the fluffiest of beds, but not before a burger and chips at The Swan gastropub across the road.
After a hearty breakfast, I was soon through the Chilterns and the clicking noise on the bike was back. I called into Pedal On bicycle shop in Tadly where the staff made me a coffee and stripped out the bottom bracket, with no charge. They couldn't see in issue with the bottom bracket. I loved how caring some bike shop assistants were with me, and it was much appreciated. Strangely, each time I stopped for a while, the noise vanished. As I cycled in the direction of Portsmouth, I passed through wheat fields, over rivers, past lakes and thatched cottages in tiny villages. It was beautiful.
While riding my last big range of hills, the South Downs, I met some guys at Holden Farm Camping who were touring on motorbikes. We set up our tents close together and got a fire going after a few jars at a pub. I enjoyed the company and we had a good laugh.
I was nearly at Portsmouth, where I planned to catch a ferry to France, and I was feeling a little nervous. I contacted the dealership to express my concerns regarding the noise the bike was still making from time to time. I asked whether it would be a good idea to bring it back up to the shop while I was still in the country. I was told not to worry, and that even if I encountered problems, there would be plenty of bike shops in France that would be able to help.
I fought with myself as to whether to cross to France or not. I also started thinking that I should've gone with a bike that had a simple setup. Cantilever brakes instead of discs. Derailleur gears and chain instead of the Speedhub and carbon belt. A configuration that most bike shops could work with almost anywhere in the world. I was also feeling a little nervous and sad about leaving loved ones for months or even a year or more. I wondered whether I was having second thoughts and looking for ways to blame the bike for ending my adventure.
So much had happened since leaving home, and in such a short time in miserable weather, that I wondered whether or not bicycle touring was for me. Just two weeks in and my feelings were all over the place. I imagined that arriving in another country with my bike would be the actual start of the adventure, and I wouldn’t be returning for some time. I had to decide what I wanted to do, as the ferry to France was leaving from Portsmouth the next day.
For those thinking of starting bicycle touring, visit our Bicycle Touring for Beginners Facebook page.
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Cycling Journal, Diary, Log Book
If you're looking for a great journal to take on your next tour, take a look at the one I've created for my bicycle touring adventure. I'll upload the details soon.