La Loire a Velo, Cycling the Loire Valley in France. A photo Essay.

This is not a wine or chateau guide in case you were wondering, I don’t drink so there’s not much point. In my early twenties I twice picked grapes in Aloxe-Corton, Burgundy, which was a wonderfully timeless experience and I drank more than enough of the local produce on that trip to satisfy my curiosities. I often thoroughly research my travels in advance, but this time I wanted to travel with as few a preconceptions as possible to see what I could see from as fresh as possible perspective. I do though know France fairly well, and buried deep in the architecture of my brain is French language ‘O’ level (age 16 language qualification in the UK) which when in France miraculously starts to re-surface after a few conversations. So beyond the logistics of getting to Lyon in S.E. France from Totnes in S.W. England (not insignificant: four trains, a ferry and an overnight stay) and mapping basics, I decided that language skills, the fact that it is a well marked popular route, the plentifulness and generally high standard of French campsites and it being summer ought to be enough to just go.

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Cycling the Rhine Valley: from the source in the Swiss Alps to the mouth in Holland. A Photo Essay.

In June 2022 I cycled from the source of the River Rhine in the Swiss Alps to the mouth at the Hook of Holland, 1378 km over 18 days. From the narrow, high energy, rushing white water alpine source to the steady, slow and powerful current meandering in lowlands, the river and this route has many stories to tell. The Rhine effortlessly combines multiple roles: as source of leisure with people swimming, cruising, floating and lazing around, as a more gritty industrial transport system, as a hydro-electro power source and as a place of nature conservation. It effortlessly criss-crosses national borders around Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Lichenstein, sometimes in the same day, wonders into France and then lazily oozes into Holland and the North Sea. I mostly followed the Euro Velo 15 route.

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Yoga in Chiang Mai, and how I got from practicing Gentle Yoga to Vinyasa Flow Yoga over 30 Years.

Khru Annie Bliss practicing on one of her retreats in Northern Thailand.

I’ve been practicing yoga for more than 30 years and have explored much of the full spectrum of practices available in that time. My development in practices of the asanas has in many ways been the wrong way round (compared to many people), moving from gentler slower forms of practice in my 30’s to more dynamic vinyasa flow practices as I’ve moved into my middle 50’s . Practicing in Chiang Mai in recent years, and with one teacher in particular, has been a big part of the reason for this.

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Cycling in Chiang Mai , The Buddhist Highway Code.

In Thailand some people like to go diving, zip wiring, sky diving , bungee jumping , bamboo white water rafting and more; but actually just cycling round the city of Chiang Mai and environs was quite an adventure. Plus it’s free, in fact more than free as it got me round without the use of Grab taxis (like Uber), red cars (public bus of sorts) or any other paid transport. ‘Wild Cycling’, if you like, with generally benevolent and courteous other road users, but a few predators to be understood and avoided, sharpened my senses as much as any expensive extreme sport. The roads may seem chaotic, even dangerous at times, but there is a learnable code in place (with random exceptions to watch out for).

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Learning Thai massage over 25 years, my experience.

Sunshine Massage School, Chiang Mai Thailand.

In my late 20’s my initial simple desire was to learn Thai massage as it was the best massage I had received, and it fitted with my developing career path in Yoga at that time. Perhaps naively I thought I would do a couple of courses and off I would go. I wasn’t really expecting to embark on an amazing adventure of lifelong learning , with lots of confusion along the way and to become immersed in another culture and worldview ; but I’m grateful I chose this route, am all the richer for it, and hopefully my clients appreciate it too.

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London to Glasgow, a UK cycle ride for COP 26, 2021.

Below is a blog I kept during a one week cycle ride from London to Glasgow (510 miles) to arrive at COP 26 in late October 2021 and make our cycling point . The ride was created by a collaboration of individuals and Adventure Uncovered/Brake the Cycle, two environmentally conscious adventure companies . I’ve left the blog mostly unedited in the form I tapped it out on my phone for social media each night whilst curled up in bed, just added a few useful links.

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