I was just about to update my website in March when the sun came out. And it seems to have been out ever since. If the sun shines I find it impossible to turn on my computer when I could be riding my bike instead, so bike-riding has won the day. Or more like, won the past eight weeks – as that’s how long it’s been since I last turned on my computer. Which is not very useful for communication purposes but lovely for cycling!  I know you can get phones etc which you can email on in the palm of your hand, but I don’t fancy any of that. I’ve had two mobile phones in my life and the one I have now is same one I had when I cycled around the coast of England and Wales ten years ago. And it’s the same one that survived some of New Zealand’s worst weather on record when I cycled around the country in 2004. It does all that I want: make a phone call (which I do about once every two weeks) and text. Anything else I’m not interested in as it would take up time when I could be cycling or fiddling with my bottom bracket.  But now it’s half-heartedly raining, so here I am turning on the flickering screen of my computer. 

My last update was about the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan.  I mentioned how, during my 6000-mile cycle tour around the country, I had met a wonderful man called Eiichi Kato, the managing director of Hotel Boyo in Kesennuma, a large fishing port which has now been almost totally destroyed by the tsunami. Mr Kato had not only insisted I stay for free at his hotel but also, on account of my ‘fine example of bicycle muscle strength’ (as he put it), got straight on the telephone to Hisateru Shimada. Mr Shimada was a journalist friend who worked for the local paper, the Sanriku Shimpoh Sha. ”Certainly this will be making for Number One newspaper news!’ exclaimed Mr Eiichi Kato excitedly. Obviously there was not much hot news about, as before I knew it I was being instructed to chiizu (say ‘cheese’) into the camera lens of the paper’s photographer. 

On my return I had kept in contact with Mr Kato so when the tsunami struck in March and I was unable to get hold of him I was concerned about what might have happened to him and his family. I wrote a bit about this on my website and shortly after I had a reply from a man who had read my books about my time in Japan. 

‘I have been read The sun in my eyes and A ride in the neon sun since 2009 Slowly,’ he said. ‘I am Japanese man living in Tokyo and like bicycle riding, found your seeking person, look for Web sites. Eiichi Kato is living in Hotel Boyo in Kesennuma. Hotel has used as asylum by local refugee. Top of name is Eiichi Kato, relief your mind.’ 

Closer to home and on more solid ground, Molly learnt to ride her bike on the day of the Japanese earthquake. It’s a big moment for any parent when their child suddenly finds that point of balance and takes off on two wheels into the wind.  Next stop Africa. 

Molly starting off on a scoot-a-long stabilser-free Isla bike while using Daisy as a useful slalom post

Molly scooting at speed

Molly taking off on her little Isla Bike - her first bit of proper cycling

Meanwhile Daisy has spent most of this year being carted about either in the hefty Nihola trike-bike contraption or on the back of my Roberts in the bouncy child seat. 

Now that Daisy has discovered what her legs are for, the Nihola trike makes a good playpen when stationary

Molly about to push us off on a ride

Snoozing babe on board: Daisy missing all the best scenery again

Back home and still asleep