Swearing up the Steep
Ludo (he/they, Pisces sun, Sagittarius rising, Aries moon) - white enby transmasc queer, from the north, apprentice bike mechanic Humaira (she/they, Virgo sun, Virgo rising, Aries moon) - queer desi femme, Muslim, from the north/midlands, ex-academic
Us: two queers from the diy-punk world where your main mode of transport is cycling and you first learnt to tighten your brakes from the same dog-eared cycle maintenance zine that was passed round from squat to shared house to community centre. September 2019, we started in Edirne and ended in Budapest, with our main highlight being the Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria. When planning the tour, we figured we’d have to implement a serious training programme in order to be able to manage the terrain, but only managed a training cycle from Dumfries to Ayre before leaving. 238 miles through the Rhodopes probably doesn’t sound like much to seasoned cycle tourers, but getting our bodies up the mountain elevation was no mean feat. There’s the feeling of freedom from being on a bike: the extreme contrast of feeling like you might actually be killing yourself to the euphoria of doing more than you thought was possible to do.
Bike or Hike? To or Fro? Having our cake and eating it on the SWCP October 2020. I’ve just hit 60. We’re in ‘Tier-land’ and a wrist problem means I have limited time in the saddle. And we love a challenge. So, we decided to be as self-sufficient as possible in our van, and walk the South West Coastal Path (SWCP) one way & then cycle back to our starting point each day. Best of both worlds so that we could experience the route each way. We started in Minehead, Somerset ; the SWCP is the longest of Britain’s National trails at 630 miles and ends in Swanage, Dorset. It covers some spectacular coastal scenery and is anything but flat. The cycles back to the van were a great contrast, often through farmland and villages, which offered a different flavour of the area. Exmoor is certainly hilly! We cycled the flat (but windy) section between Croyde and Westward Ho in both directions; our longest cycling day at 55 miles
One major challenge was the inclement weather as Storm Alex battered the South West with high winds and rainfall. As compensation, we marvelled at many rainbows and tested out our wet weather gear. Each day walking was different, even though we were by the coast, as the scery changed from gentle woodland walks to dramatic cliffs, and wide open sands to rocky harbours. We walked 9 -18 miles/day and the cycle back was comparable. We reached Lands End after 19 days and then came home; the evenings were drawing in and it takes a surprising amount of time and organisation to do the transfers. And another lockdown was looming. But the silver lining is… we still have Lands End to Swanage to explore and are really looking forward to being able to complete the trip in 2021!
Heather and Simon Milligan
H-e-ll-o My dearest v-e-l-o. V-e-l-o I’v-e l-o-ved And I’ve h-a-t-ed And I’ve a-l-o-n-eed And I’ve been f-r-e-ed. My V-e-l-o. I’v-e l-o-ved Life partners, Or thought they were. You’ve taken me places You’ve taught me things. V-e-l-o my L-o-v-e. I can hardly say what you M-e-a-n to m-e. With your chain that sets free You always spoke straight to me. My v-e-l-o My l-o-v-e It was meant to B-e I see cle-ar That it’s all downhill from here. My veloer, Even when we brake we’re together You make me fly, Like I, Was a child once. V-e-l-o I can’t ever wait to H-e-llo ns ) desig Lots of L-o-v-e. (stolen & s d r Wo Yours always, lm Mike E wStoryRide 7 #Ne 8 s r e M-E. @Elm