Ritzy Cafe, Brixton

Listening to some people on the other side of the cafe talking about cycling: cyclists breathe in less pollution than car passengers apparently, according to a woman who sounds like she knows what she’s talking about, though often the people who sound like they know what they’re talking about are the ones who don’t. It’s because of the height, she says. Cyclists are higher up, unless they’re children or recumbants, so the air they take in is better quality, whereas cars take in air from lower down which is where the pollution hangs.

Number 12 bendy bus, London, UK

On the number 12 bendy bus heading up to town a gang of ticket inspectors backed by police get on at Trafalgar Square. One of them scans my Oyster card, which seems okay – I assume he can tell whether or not I swiped it on this bus, which on this occasion I did. (The other day, coming home when the bus was packed and I had to stand among people eating fast food and shouting into mobiles, I decided not to fight my way past them just to swipe 80p off my card.) Someone on the back seat doesn’t…

McLeod Ganj, Himachal Pradesh, India

Yoga: Observe what the body is doing and feeling. Observe without making value judgements. I observed my thighs hurting. I tried to observe the pain without it bothering me, but that’s not so easy. I remember trying to do the same thing when I was cycling.

Dum Dum to Kolkata, India

A knock on my door at 9am. I get out of bed, put a towel around me and open the door. Time to check out, says an angry looking guy with some sheets. As I put the paniers on the bike a boy of about ten stood and watched, then out onto the street I get some more attention, and spend a bit of time answering questions like where am I from? where am I cycling to? how much did the bike cost? I take my camera out and take a picture of a cow and some people sifting through…

Lasqueti Island, British Columbia

People keep asking me when I’m leaving and I keep saying I don’t know. “So you’re still here”, someone said the other day. I’ve been helping to build a house out of wood, wood from trees cut down to clear space for the house, though I’ve been living in a small cabin (shack) next to this. I’m getting to be pretty good at hammering nails.

Lasqueti Island, British Columbia

Corrections to the previous post: The island is not 12km wide, it’s much narrower than that. More like 5km, though there is a possibility that there exist spatial distortions so you can travel for hours along the same road without getting to the place you think you ought to be getting to, especially if you choose to travel by bike – not a good choice on Lasqueti once the sun’s gone down, as I discovered last night.

Vancouver, British Columbia

I went to Stanley Park today, just half an hour’s walk from downtown, and had a look at the Pacific Ocean. Back at the hostel now I’ve been searching for maps on the internet showing where I’ve been. Here’s one which shows my route through the Okanagan Valley about a week ago (click on the map to enlarge it). It was raining most of the day I cycled down to Kelowna and the bike needed attention. I tried cleaning it up but the pedals were grinding as they went round, and the handlebars had developed a slight wobble. I spent…

Vancouver, British Columbia

Total distance travelled: 6649km.107 days since starting from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 11th July.Rest days: 26.Cycling days: 81.Average distance per day: 62.1km.Average distance per cycling day: 82.1km.Maximum distance in a day: 132.6km (to Winnipeg – flat and no wind).Minimum distance in a day: 24.8km (to Thunder Bay – a semi rest day).Distance travelled today: 118.8km. I arrived at about 10:30 this evening. It started raining as I hit the outskirts of Vancouver. I remember someone telling me a while ago, with complete certainty: it will be raining when you get to Vancouver. The cafe I’m in is closing now so…

Kelowna, British Columbia

This is Rogers Pass, the toughest bit of the Rockies. It wasn’t that steep, but the hill was very long. I kept thinking I’d got to the top. There’d be a small downhill section and I’d think I’ve done it, I’ve got through Rogers Pass… but then it would start going up again.

Kelowna, British Columbia

I’m over the Rockies and into British Columbia where it’s been raining pretty consistently, except for yesterday when it wasn’t. The video camera got wet a couple of days ago and made the colours run into each other like wet paint, but it seems to have recovered now.

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