Josie Dew

Welcome to the official website of Josie Dew: cyclist, writer and cook.


Operation Pram Push – The Walking Wagon Arrives! And so does the Mountain Buggy buggy – otherwise known as the Operation Pram Push pushchair. (This update: July 21st 2014)

Time is racing on and Operation Pram Push is still in full swing and the almighty Walking Wagons from Holland have arrived. Last weekend I took one of these wagons for a test pull-and-push with Molly and Daisy and Jack. And there they are, the distant South Downs ahoy! In 3 weeks time we will be up there with Anoek and Mila and the juggling Goose (see previous postings for explanations) camping and walking with these fantastic monster wagons and pram in an attempt to travel the entire 100-mile length of the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne.

Just to get to grips with the wagon we started off on a sturdy piece of tarmac...

...before heading for a bit of rough and tumble.

Molly acted as the guard, standing on the footplate on the rear, taking tickets and asking all passengers to 'move right along the bus now please'.

Plunging into the woods we came across the best see-saw (or tree-saw) in the world...

...which, aided by Gary, bounced up and down about 5-foot in the air. You don't get fun like this in a health-and-safety padded playground.

I will be raising money on Operation Pram Push for the charity Dreams Come True which helps children with terminal and serious illnesses. I hope to raise enough money to give the charity a Nihola Trike (like the one I use on the school run) so that some of the children can experience the fun and freedom of cycling.

Thank you to anyone who would like to sponsor us at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/dewuk

Or you can text: DCTC08 – followed by the amount of your donation to 70070

Eg: DCTC08 £5 to 70070

ADDED EXTRA: OPERATION PRAM PUSH UPDATE JULY 21ST 2014

Testing testing. The new Mountain Buggy pushchair arrives! The best pushchair I could find that should be up for the ups and downs rigours of Operation Pram push is the Mountain Buggy Terrain which comes with extra sturdiness and extra bounce. So a big thank you to Mountain Buggy for providing me with one for the pram-pushing voyage that begins next week. And ditto to the Dutch Walking Wagon brigade for the two Walking Wagon Rambler Explorers. So here I am with the girls and young Jack posing with our new assortment of wheeled wagons.

More posing...and even a bit of pulling! It's beginning to dawn on me that I could be biting off more than I can chew. This Walking red Wagon is currently unloaded but even attempting to pull it a few feet up this slight hill and I was thinking this Operation Pram Push lark could be hard work!

So this is the pram-pushing plan so far: Start in Winchester August 1st and push to Eastbourne. Camping all the way. The builder husband to meet us at intervals bearing emergency supplies of food, water and nappies. The whole jolly escapade will take about a month. The conventional route appears to start the South Downs Way at Eastbourne and end at Winchester. East to West. It makes more sense to me to do West to East for the following reasons: 1. The start is quite close to home so should disaster strike or the more pocket-sized members of the team be suffering from lack of fatherly tenderly moments, he can leap into his van and be with us in a jiffy. Or so we hope. 2. Not walking all day with the sun in our eyes, or should the sun not be shining, not walking all day with the prevailing wind and driving rain in our faces - not that it's allowed to be anything but perfect weather, thank you very much. 3. East to West is a better incentive for the junior members of the party to head from town to sea - thus with every footstep getting ever-closer to fairground rides and ice creams on the beach.

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Operation Pram Push (aka Operation Walking Wagon)

Operation Pram Push is now in full swing. Dutch Anoek, who is a prominent pram-pushing member, has made a postcard of all the pram-pushing party. As mentioned in the previous Operation Pram Push update, Guust is of course Goose to us English lingo-speaking dwellers.

And here is the aforementioned Anoek and Goose in action with one of our glorified sledge-on-wheels that we will be pushing and pulling and heaving and hauling up and down Downs. (We're taking two of them). Like Anoek and Goose these sledges are very Dutch and are actually called Walking Wagons (see www.walkingwagon.com for more info if you're interested in carting large amounts of clobber - and children - about by de luxe wheelbarrow). Our Rambler Explorer, as this model is known, is topped by the very lovely Mila (Anoek's daughter) who is sunning herself a treat. (Long may the sun last as I have a terrible habit of attracting the worst-weather-on-record everywhere I go).

Here is the Rambler Explorer wagon again on a Dutch cycle path with Goose at the helm. (I have yet to see, push or pull one of these wagons but Anoek's trying to get them sent over the North Sea to me within the next couple of weeks - so keep atuned for Blighty-based snaps...)

All I can say is who needs a Range-Rover-style pram like this when you can have a Dutch Rambler Explorer for transporting precious offspring?

This is currently how I'm transporting my offspring of a precious nature (Jack) around in by bike-trike - cocooned amongst a thicket of fat foam.

Other people have different methods for transporting their children about by 2 or more wheels as demonstrated by this mother in Portland, Oregon.

Or there again, you may prefer the thigh-balancing-hope-I-don't-drop method of baby-on-bike-carrying as seen here in Brooklyn, New York.

But I think the baby-in-a-bucket method (as seen here in Mubai, India) has to win hands down for sheer ingenuity on the economical and practical front.

PS. A very big thank you to Marcel and Gerjan at www.walkingwagon.com for sponsoring our jolly jaunt (at least we hope it’s going to be jolly – it will certainly be a little tricky) along the South Downs and for providing us with 2 of their fine Rambler Explorers).

PPS. A big thank you also to Paula at Raindrops who has just kitted out Molly, Daisy and Jack with a fantastic array of wet-weather gear for Operation Pram Push. Raindrops is a local company I discovered in an industrial estate a half-an-hour bike ride up the road from me and they specialize in outdoor clothing from Scandinavia. Hopefully we won’t be having to sport any of Raindrops rainy wear as I like to think it will be sunny all the way, but best to be prepared in this pram-pushing walking-wagon game.

For more on Raindrops see: www.raindrops.co.uk

PPS. Thanks to New York Steve for the last 3 pictures.

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Operation Pram Push (Number 2)

Here is the Nihola trike in action! Gary (my burdensome ballast) is holding aloft the certificate I have just received at the finish of a local charity bike ride. (I was raising money for Molly's primary school). I am looking a bit out of puff as I am very pregnant with Jack who was born not long after this ride. It was lucky I didn't give birth to Jack on one of the 1:4 hills on the ride - although the trike's front box could have doubled up as a useful emergency birthing suite.

The pram-pushing plan so far:
To push young Jack (who will be 11 months old by the time we set off on Operation Pram Push) in a pram the 100-mile length of the South Downs Way during Molly’s summer school holidays (start date: about 25th July. Finish date: end of August/beginning of September).

If the pram-pushing mission goes to plan Jack will have his 1st birthday on top of a Down. And Molly will have her 8th birthday on top of another Down.

Molly has quite sturdy cycling legs so hopefully she will be able to walk about 4-5 miles a day up and down a Down.

The conundrum is 4-year old Daisy. How many miles of Downs does she have in her legs? On current walks she has a fixation with collecting a lorry-load of feathers and leaves and sticks and stones and rocks the size of her head. And there’s only so many rocks my pockets will hold.

Ideally Gary (the building husband) would come too so that he could carry his fair share of rocks. But he’s too busy building in August to come on a merry goose chase with us over hill and Down. Gary thinks the whole idea is crack-brained which is quite reassuring as he thinks most of my ideas are crack-brained. And he’s probably right. But that’s no good reason I tell him not to do it.

We will be camping most of the way  which means a lot of clobber attached to a pram and to some sort of trans-Antarctica sledge on wheels.

How am I going to manage all this singlehanded? Well, I’m not! As I won’t have my husband I need a  temporary husband who I seem to have found in the form of a temporary wife called Anoek.  Anoek is Dutch and lives in Utrecht and she seems strangely enthusiastic about the whole idea. She also has a 4-year-old daughter (one week older than Daisy) who is coming too. I think Mila also likes to collect rocks so it may be an idea to take a dumper truck with us on this pram-pushing escapade. Hence conundrum Number 2. How to move two four-year-olds forwards? Plus a Molly. Plus a baby.

Anoek thinks she has the answer. Anoek has a sort of husband called Pek and who the girls call Jesus (he looks like Jesus). But as Jesus doesn’t like walking or camping he’s staying put in Holland. So Anoek is coming on this pram-pushing circus with her temporary husband called Guust but who the girls call Goose as we English can’t properly pronounce Dutch Guust (it involves a lot of throaty garglings). I have yet to meet Goose. All I know about him so far is that he has a wife who doesn’t like walking or camping and that he has a beard and teaches PE. Oh, and he also juggles. I think it is Goose’s juggling acts that Anoek thinks will fascinate the girls so much that they will run after him as he walks along juggling. And as they run mesmerized by the sight of so many airborne balls they won’t notice the Downs pass beneath their feet. And so the miles will pass. Or so we hope.
I will be raising money to buy a Nihola trike (like the one I currently use to transport Jack around in – and pictured above with Gary in it) to donate to the children’s charity Dreams Come True. This charity makes dreams come true for children with both life-threatening and long-term illnesses. If anyone would like to sponsor me (and a big thank you to those who already have) please go to: www.virginmoneygiving.com/dewuk

Operation Pram Push would probably be quite easy (and fast) if the South Downs Way tracks were country lanes like this as Molly and Daisy shoot along like rockets on their scooters and Gary and I have trouble keeping up with them. But that's the joy of the South Downs Way - it's footpaths and bridleways not roads. So the tricky predicament remains: how to keep the girls moving forwards?

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Operation Pram Push

Before I gave birth to my small fleet of mini cyclists I never used to plan, I just let things happen. I would be cooking away (I used to be a cook) or writing away (I used to write more than I do now) when I’d suddenly just fancy heading off on my bike with my tent. I’d have a rough idea of the country or continent I wanted to cycle to. I’ll cycle to Sweden, I’d think. And then I’d end up in Poland via Iceland. Or I would set off cycling to New Zealand, and end up cycling around Japan. Or I’d aim for Alaska and veer off course to Hawaii. Or I’d head for Patagonia and end up riding across America. It’s not that I got lost or couldn’t map read, it’s just that I would find a road that looked more interesting than the one I was on and then head off to see what was down it. I liked leaving things to happy chance. When I woke up in my tent in the morning I never knew where I would go  that day, or what I would eat or where I would sleep. I liked that sense of unpredictability and uncertainty. It keeps you on your toes and makes all senses alert. I had no phone, no iPad, no iPod, no computer. Just a map, a compass, a Swiss Army knife and a shortwave radio. Simplicity in a bag. The ultimate freedom.

These days I’ve got to be a bit more organized. After thirty years of gallivanting about the place by bike I now have other people to think about: 7-year-old Molly, 3-year-old Daisy and 7-month-old Jack. Oh, and Gary (the builder). As Molly is at primary school, any chance of cycling anywhere is now concertinaed into the far-too-short state school holidays – which still comes as a bit of a shock to my pre-children days of unlimited time.So the plan for this Easter was to go cycling somewhere with offspring in tow for the official 2 weeks (or 3-4 weeks if we got ‘lost’). Gary would have had to come too for the extra trailer pulling power and for the extra pair of hands (3 children requires all hands on decks at all times plus multiple eyes in backs of heads). But he’s too busy building to head off on a wild goose chase with me and the rowdy herd of small people so I’m going to Dorset instead.

My plan then was to head off cycling somewhere around Europe for the summer school holidays. But ditto the same problem: Gary is too busy building. So I thought what can I do by myself with the girls and Jack? And be close enough to Gary so that he can occasionally lay down his tool belt and come and see us. Cycling with them all is quite a handful and as there are some pretty awful drivers in this country I’d probably return home a shadow of my former self.

So my new idea is to go on a pram-pushing escapade along the whole of the 100-mile South Downs Way. The advantage is that there is no motor traffic up there to cut me up or overtake on blind corners, and Gary can get doses of us with relative ease. Molly, I think, will be able to walk about 4 or 5 miles a day up and down Down. Jack, although heavy and ambitiously filling nappies at the rate of knots, is too young to be stubborn. And not being mobile on his legs yet just has to be pushed or pulled or towed or carried. The only stumbling block is how to motivate Daisy to put one leg in front of the other. Or more to the point, how to put one step forwards and not 5 steps back – as on current walks she keeps running back the way we’ve come to pick up feathers and leaves and sticks and stones and rocks the size of her head.

So it’s a mission with puzzling complexities from the start but one I feel I’d like to take by the horns. I know some people can do the whole of the South Downs Way in a day, but I think it will take me and my merry hindrance of offspring about a month. (That’s if we can do it at all). And we’ll be camping all the way. Which means a lot of clobber attached to a pram and some sort of trans-Antarctica sledge on wheels. How am I going to manage all this single-handed? Well I’m not! I need a temporary husband which seems to have arrived on my doorstep in the form of a temporary wife. Well, not quite my doorstep. A bit further away than that. In Utrecht in the Netherlands to be precise. She’s very Dutch and she’s called Anoek and she has a daughter called Mila who is exactly a week older than Daisy. And Mila wants to come too. So she is. Hence conundrum number 2. How to move two 4-year-olds forwards. I think I’ll sleep on that one.

Here are a few recent snap shots of prams to finish off:

Traveling light (yes, really!) with Jack in pram. And there they are - the distant South Downs.

Daisy trying to look innocent despite hiding several of her favourite rocks about the pram.

A picnic expedition to the local graveyard.

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A new year with a new-ish baby on a not-so-new trike-bike. (Plus bike talk Olympia London 25th January 2014).

Young budding cyclist baby Jack is expanding fast. He is now 4 months old and has luckily taken kindly to being carted about in my customized and ever-useful Danish Nihola trike contraption. It took me a while to work out how to carry him about by pedal power but when he was a few weeks old I hit on a solution to this tricky cycle conundrum. After removing the bench seat that comes with the trike as standard issue fare I padded out the interior with bulky 3-inch-thick wads of foam. Among all these walls and floors of foam lies Jack in his little red carrycot fixed in with a criss-cross of fixed-point webbing straps and topped with a heap of cosy blankets. The fact that he usually falls asleep within moments of take-off is a promising sign that he seems quite content with being whirled about by tricycle wheels. Here 3-year old Daisy is at the helm of the trusty Nihola.

That's not Daisy with Jack as Jack's-in-the-box.

As the Nihola trike is currently full of foam and a frolicking baby there is no longer any room on board the box for Daisy. So she is now towed behind the trike by trailer. So the three-wheeled trike has become a five-wheeled articulated apparatus of magnificent proportion. Forget the rage of 4x4s. The way forward is by 3x2s!

Although most motorists pass our 3x2 with a suitably wide berth there is often the odd driver who overtakes far to fast or too close for comfort. The solution is to either emigrate to Holland or fix the front of the trike with some rather fine weaponry to teach the negligent motorist a lesson they won't forget - as demonstrated here by Frederick Simms who, for the 1899 Automobile Club Richmond Show, fitted a Maxim machine gun to his motor quadricycle. Way to go! - as they say in various necks of the woods around the world.

PS:   I forgot to say I’ll be giving a bike talk next weekend at The Adventure Travel Show at Olympia in London Saturday 25th January 2014 at 15.30-16.00 in the Adventure Auditorium.

To buy tickets for £6 (saving £4 off the door price) just quote ‘JOSIE DEW’ when buying online at www.adventureshow.com or when calling:

0871 230 7159

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The third bus is born!

The third bus is born (see comments on last post ‘Just say no to school and yes to sunny cycles to the sea’ to see why it’s a bus) – otherwise known as little Jack Frank Appleton, a young apprentice for Gary (the builder).

And here he is - third in line to the throne of the Circe tandem. I thought it best to give young Jack (age 2 days) a test on board the elongated mount to see how he will shape up on the school run.

I was going to write more but time is limited to mere seconds on the computer these days. Nappies need changing, babies need feeding (I hear the cry) – ditto girls and builders. The feeding bit that is. Will update this space soon…

Still on a baby front theme how's this for the Range Rover-loving family who wants a Range Rover-style four-wheel-drive pram for their newborn? (Spotted by my brother, a motorcyclist, at Goodwood's Festival of Speed). I think I'll stick with my three-wheel-drive Nihola Gay trike (picture to follow - once I've changed the next the next nappy and returned from the next school run).

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Just say no to school and yes to sunny cycles to the sea!

Unlike last summer this summer unusually turned into a summer – at least for a while – day after day of hot, cloudless, steamy days. Good timing for those children at private schools as they could be outside to enjoy the week after week of sunshine, but bad timing for those still stuck in the state school system as they had to be locked up in dark classrooms for an extra three weeks. Molly, who goes to the local village primary school, was one of those children itching to be out in the sun rather than carted off to school every morning. The only benefit was our bike-train (eleven-and-a-half-foot long tandem with trailer) school run which gave her a happy sunny burst of cycling in the morning and afternoon – plus after getting back from school at 3.45 she was then outside playing with Daisy and the chickens until bedtime. But no matter how much late-afternoon playtime Molly had to let off steam it still felt wrong to see her disappear every morning behind a closed  door in hot and glorious weather.

So one morning Molly was sitting in the kitchen in her school dress eating scrambled eggs and toast, the already hot sun blazing in through the wide open windows, when I said, ‘Molls, do you want to go to school this morning?’ She looked at me a little quizzically before I said, ‘Or shall we go on an adventure?’

The next thing I was on the phone to the school to report, ‘No Molly today!’ I didn’t lie, I just said no Molly. Simple as that. Half an hour later the bikes and trailer were packed with picnic and beach paraphernalia and we were off on our merry way.

Molly on her Islabike at Bosham harbour.

More Molly at Bosham with Daisy in trailer.

On the path to Itchenor ferry.

Still on the path to Itchenor ferry.

Here it comes!

All aboard!

Still aboard - with bikes and trailers.

Trying to keep up with Molly on the Salterns Way.

Shaded picnic in a clammy 32 degrees.

Half a day later we make it to the beach at West Wittering.

This, or school? Not a difficult choice for Molly.

Back on the jetty at Itchenor, waiting for our ferry man. You hail the ferry by looking up and down the harbour for the little blue and white boat, and, once spotted, you give a hearty wave to the captain and hope he's spotted you.

Still waiting...

Ferry ahoy!

Back on dry land on the other side.

And then we rode home.

Miles cycled: 21; Number of ferries: 2; Number of sandcastles built: 33; Number of mini surfboards bought and stashed to the trailer: 1; Number of clouds spotted: 0; Number of people who said to me, ‘You’ve got your hands full!’: 2; Number of times the ferry man said to me, ‘Try not to give birth on my boat!’: 2 (I’m 3 weeks away from giving birth to mini cyclist Number 3); Number of days off school: 1 lovely one!

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NEWS JUST IN!: CHICHESTER CYCLING FESTIVAL BIKE TALK IN JUNE. And Bikes and more bikes – in various shapes and sizes.

If anyone finds themselves at a loose end in Chichester (nice cathedral!) on the evening of 20th June and you fancy coming to say hello to me and pinch my tyres and feel the bounce of my saddle I’ll be giving a CYCLING AROUND THE WORLD AND CYCLING WITH OFFSPRING BIKE TALK. It’s taking place at:

Friend’s Meeting House, Priory Road, Chichester, W. Sussex, PO19 1NX

Thursday 20 June 7.30 – 9.30pm

To be emailed a ticket (£5 or £2.50 for under 16) contact: cycle@chichester.gov.uk

or tel: 01243 534694

Any problems with getting tickets then email me here on my website or send a comment in this update.

Meanwhile, sorry about the lack of nothing for a while on the updating of my website front but it decided to go on the blink, which was quite useful really as it meant I could spend more time on my bike and less time tapping away on my laptop. To understand these computerized things that are well beyond me (I like headsets and bottom brackets) I had to pin down Pete, my man in the woods. This was easier said than done as he has been a bit tied up lately buying chickens (not the trussed oven-ready ones but the more useful egg-producing live version). As luck would have it Pete popped up out of the blue last night and taking my mouse in hand (the one with the little red light up its bottom not the sort the neighbour’s cat pounces upon) he clicked this and twiddled that in the places that needed clicking and twiddling and Bob’s your uncle (or possibly chicken) I’m back on air. Before I launch into my usual two-wheeled waffle I just thought I’d test the system by giving you a burst of bikes and trikes in various shapes and sizes before things crash again and disappear into the ether:

Large airborne sculpture cycled past last year outside Emden, Germany.

One of my smaller steeds.

Our school run four-by-four

Our school run four-by-four doing a 3-point turn.

Our school run three-by-one: a Danish Nihola trike (containing Daisy with bear) towing Molly on a tag-a-long trailer bike.

Daisy out-for-the-count in Burley d'lite bike trailer.

Daisy out-for-the-count in bathtub-like cabin of Nihola trike. (Bikes - and trikes - are a boon for keeping noisy offspring quiet).

Molly dismounting from our three-by-one at school on an icy and snowy morning.

Our 3x1 arriving at school with a 4x4.

Daisy travelling at full throttle on her Islabike scoot-a-long

Molly disappearing at speed on her Islabike sandwiched between high hedges.

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Bike Talk Bonanza and we finally make it to Denmark!

A big thank you to all those who came and supported my Around the World by Bicycle Talk which I gave in the local village hall to raise money for Molly’s primary school. So thank you to all the locals who came and especially thank you to those who came from quite far afield like Selsey and Portsmouth. We managed to cram 175 people into a not-very-big hall and that helped me raise £1515 (some money still to come) to get cycle-training going at the local village school.

Meanwhile, here’s the last batch of pictures (see previous posts for other snaps) from our family cycling jaunt last summer when we rode 800-odd miles from Holland to Denmark with an unwieldy road-train of tandem, bike, trailer and endless panniers and bags of various camping paraphernalia:

Click on pictures to enlarge!

Wet but happy camping dans Deutchland.

Tending to potty duties beside a windy chilly dyke. Gary has formed a wind barrier with his jacket to fend off the gale blowing around more sensitive areas.

Playground camping near Busumer Deichhsn

More camping among more stuff. Here most of it is packed, but a lot of it isn't. Our caravan-camping German neighbours found it an amusing spectator sport watching where everything would go (including the girls). When all clobber and every girl was packed away or sitting in position our neighbours gave us a congratulatory box of very tasty schoko waffelrollen (rolled up wafer biscuits with chocolate tips for the uninitiated in German chocolate biscuit design).

Taking a breather in the very lovely Friedrichstadt.

One night we didn't camp and had a treat - a sofa-bed in a small hotel. It was a bit of a squeeze.

A seaside playground stop at Schluttsiel.

Another seaside stop to investigate grounded jellyfish.

Milkman - German style on an all-weather-thrown-at-you open-topped narrow-gauge railway. He was traveling at impressive speed and was just returning to the small town of Dagebull. He had been delivering his goods out across the thin sea-washed spit to the island of Nordmarsch-Langeness.

Molly in free and happy mode on top of a dyke (and not keen to go back to school.)

Morning ablutions - camping style.

Camping and yet more stuff. Field near Klanxbull.

Don't fancy driving your vehicle somewhere? It's easy in Germany - just drive onto a train, sit in your vehicle, have a snooze, read a book and let the train take the strain. Near Hindenburgdamm.

Denmark here we come! It's just down there although it looks the same as up here.

The Deutsch-Danische border. No border sentry guards or passport control - just a big rock and a lot of wetland and airborne geese...

…and more long flat sheep-filled cycle paths…

...that is until the long flat sheep-filled bike paths ran out and the gritty dusty roads began.

Nice churches though!

Same church, different end. This church is at Ballum which is just north of Badsbol-Ballum and Buntje-Ballum and Rejsby-Ballum and Norrehus-Ballum and west of Husum-Ballum and south of Forballum which in themselves are south-west of Skaebaek, just in case you were wondering. (By the way Badsbol-Ballum should have one of those little Danish circles above its first 'a' but I can't find such an exotic addition on my computer.)

A very wet and windy ride near Harknag.

But we dried out a treat in a Danish campsite camping cabin.

On the day Molly was supposed to be back at school we were still several hundred miles away on the wrong side of the North Sea and having a fun time looking around Ribe open-air Viking museum. Who needs school when you've got a longhouse to hand?

Voila! La DFDS ferry from Esbjerg to Harwich.

Queueing up behind the motorbikes waiting to board the ferry we met the only other cyclist (riding a bottle-green Thorn with Brooks saddle and Carradice panniers) and his name was James. James is what one of my fans looks like and apparently he knew all about me and had read my books, but I knew nothing about him. Though not for long. James was a good northern sort from Lancashire. Earlier that year he had finally decided to pack in his job as a fork-lift driver at a company he had been working at for 18 years. Then he took off on his bike and with the help of a few ferries cycled up to near Trondheim in Norway. He was away all summer and had one of the best times of his life, fishing and wild camping and learning a lot about Norway. We were hoping to have more chats with James once on board but we never saw him again - that is until we had disembarked at Harwich. 'Where did you go, James?' I said. 'I'm not too good on ships,' said James. 'I have to lie flat out!' James gave us his address and said if we were ever riding Preston-ways to give him a ring. 'If I'm not around,' he said, 'Mother will be at home.'

On board the DFDS Dana Sirena - with bikes tethered well for the rocky ride.

England! Molly and Daisy flaked out on the train home. Gary's brother met us at Harwich and took Gary and all the bikes and bags home. As we couldn't all fit on the bench seat in the van, the girls and I went home by train. The next day Molly was back at school.

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Frosty, Snowy and Slippery School Runs and a Bike Talk for the locals and not so locals.

We've had some cold and...

frosty and...

potty-bound school runs lately with

sudden hazy bursts of morning light.

Then it snowed so out came the Nihola Gay trike contraption

where Molly sits on the back of the trailer-bike pretending to pedal. Everyone seemed to have their 4x4s out but we had our 3x1 and made it to...

school in fine sliding fashion - even shooting past the long line of queuing cars. Very satisfying!

It’s snowed a lot more today – school’s been cancelled (hoo-rah!) so we’re buried under about half-a-foot of snow plus hefty deep snowdrifts in which the girls completely disappear from view.

But before it snowed Molly was in fine spirits flying along on her Islabike, which Daisy found to be a fine spectator sport.

Then Molly shot out of the tunnel of trees so fast that it made Daisy veer straight across the road on her scoot-along and land in the hedge.

Meanwhile, if anyone is at a loose end on the night of Thursday 31st January I’m giving a bike talk to the locals and not-so-locals. I gave a bike talk to the children at Molly’s primary school the other day and then I was going to give a bike talk to the parents in the small school hall. But it now seems to have escalated to the village hall up the road.So if anyone is interested and is not too far away, here are the details:

AROUND THE WORLD BY BICYCLE

An illustrated talk by Josie Dew

Thursday 31st January 2013 at 7pm

At Milland Village Memorial Hall

Milland, W. Sussex GU30 7NA

If I can work out how the village hall digital equipment works I hope to take you on a whirlwind tour around the world describing what it is like to cycle alone across America, around Japan, Iceland, Hawaii, New Zealand and North Africa among other places. I will also be showing pictures of my two trips last year – cycling 1000 miles across Holland, Germany and Denmark with Gary, Molly and Daisy.

Tickets £10

(All proceeds go towards raising money for Molly’s school – Hollycombe Primary School – in particular getting cycle training going and buying any equipment to encourage cycling and other sports)

Ticket price includes a glass of wine or soft drinks, as many of my homemade biscuits and chocolate flapjacks as you can eat (doggy bags can be provided for the still-hungry) and a free puncture repair kit.

To buy tickets please visit the school, the local village shop or send a cheque or cash directly to the school marking your envelope ‘Josie Dew Talk’. Please also provide an email address and/or phone number in case the school needs to contact you. Please make cheques payable to Hollycombe School Fund.

All queries please contact:

Hollycombe Primary School

Wardley Green,

Milland,

Liphook,

Hampshire GU30 7LY

Tel: 01428 741332

office@hollycombe.w-sussex.sch.uk

THANK YOU!

****I’ve just had an email from Alex at charlottestandems.weebly.com wondering if I can recommend them to anyone who might need a tandem. Charlotte’s tandems is a charity that lends tandems to people with special needs or disabilities so that they can enjoy the wonders of cycling. I’ve looked at their website at their range of tandems is impressively multifarious! *****

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