Tyretracks: adventure bicycle touring
Tour du Mont Blanc
The West Country
The Great Divide
This website showcases some of the wonderful places I have travelled to, through, across and around on a variety of different bicycles.
The aim is to encourage you to have an adventure yourself, to help with the planning where possible, and on a personal level, for me to look back on the trip and to enjoy it for a second time.
I first went on a bicycle tour at the age of thirteen, cycling in the Outer Hebrides with my parents. It rained a lot. After quite a break, I had the opportunity to get back in the saddle when Fraser proposed a trip to Southern Peru.
Since then I've toured throughout the Americas and Europe, often taking off-the-beaten track routes by mountain bike. It was during my extended trip in South America that I decided to write this website. Our daughter, Elsa came on her first tour, also to the Hebrides, aged 9 months and has taken to it with enthusiasm. The trips must necessarily be conducted at her pace, but we have not found that slowing down has reduced enjoyment.
Angus: I'm working as a doctor in London and wondering when I'll have time to take an extended trip again. Re-living old memories instead.
Malin: my wife, plant biologist at Kew Gardens, rode with me on most of the recent tours.
Elsa: our daughter, aged 2. A delight, most of the time.
Fraser: working in the City, getting progressively less fit and trying to make up for it by buying nicer and nicer bikes. Andrew and I had to carry his gear in 2003 on the Divide. Nowadays we'd have to carry him.
Andrew: my companion in South America and on the Divide. Seems to be maintaining fitness despite working in New York City and recently rode on his own from Syria to Italy.
Jesse: American, teaching in London. Has only mountain biked twice - at the SSMM 24 hour race where it poured with rain. Unsurprisingly, prefers the road.
The purpose of this section is to provide information on those routes that the maps and guides have missed, or for which bike-specific details are sketchy.
Of course the world changes; some dirt roads are paved, others become overgrown and are lost to the forest. Since I travelled to South America, at least two of my routes have been destroyed in rather more spectacular fashion by volcanic eruptions (Tungarahua and Chaiten). This happens with even more frequency on La Reunion and is one of the main tourist draws of the island. How often do you get to ride on still-warm lava after all?
With luck much of this information will prove useful, just don't take it as gospel.