Splashing time

It was a breath of fresh air to lead a family bike HF holiday in Derbyshire. Here we are enjoying the ford next to Hognaston.

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Reunion with Danube ferry captain – first met on bike trip 2 years ago

It was a joy once again to lead a group  from HF Cycling down the ‘Danube Radweg’  to Vienna once again.

Nibelungen Denkmal- Tulln

Nibelungen Denkmal- Tulln

July 2016 saw may fifth lead on this route (it’s becoming a habit!)  and it was especially good to encounter the same ferry captain  at Ottensheim who we’d met on my first trip back in 2014.

Ottensheim, just above Linz, has a quirky ‘cable ferry’ which needs no motor but uses the power of the current to move the boat from bank to bank.

Alastair and ferry captain.

Ottensheim ferry captain reunion July 2016

Ferry captain (dubbed Popeye by cyclists) May 2014

Ferry captain (dubbed Popeye by cyclists) May 2014

This July we had superb weather an a great group. IT was great to ride with Peter, Linden, Hilary, Phil, Andrea, Chris, Judith, Aileen, Bryan, Cathy and of course Suzanne.

Talking of Suzanne, she offered her own impressions  of the trip in the Skedaddle Blog. 

Here is a short montage of pictures to jog memories of rides and whet appetites of anyone who has not yet taken the Danube challenge.

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From Italian Mountains to the Sea with 3 Steves and 2 Mikes

What a great trip this has been! Starting in the Dolomites we hurtled downhill to Lake Garda  on a route with stunning views and very little flat let alone uphill.

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A real joyful start to any trip.

Garda

From Riva di Garda we took boats to the southern end of the lake then wound our way to ‘Fair Verona’ – I’d only heard of this place thanks to Shakespeare.

Group of cyclists in front of Roman arena at Verona, Itlay

What a spot! Arrival in the city centre means photo stop by the Roman Arena – still used for performances today.

After the obligatory view of Juliet’s balcony and some impromptu amateur dramatics we followed the river Adige towards the wonderful walled town of Montagnana. It was only a tiny bit hilly on the next day when we made it to Padua with its enormous central piazza.

Then……. well I was van driver on the last day so for me Venice will have to wait for another time but the group went through the city and took the archipelago of islands with short ferries to the magical port of Chioggia where we toasted the week with Proseco.

croppedGroup

In addition to the Mikes and Steves, we had Manuel, Judith, Kathy and Penny.  Great cycling, great landscapes, super culture, wonderful food and a very nice group of fellow riders.

Chioggia on our last day – we didn’t want to leave!

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Mille grazie to the folks at Skedaddle Italia for the arrangements.

 

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Trulli great trip to heel of Italy – Puglia

Bike sign

Six months after after my first visit to Puglia leading for HF Cycling , I was back again with a great group of bikers.  We rode two days near Alberobello (famous for pointed stone houses called Trulli).

We then took the train and had four days riding from Lecce to the southern tip of the Salento peninsula at Santa Maria de Leuca.

The montage below tells (some of) the story!

 

Special thanks to the guys in Newcastle who make HF Cycling work.  There’s quite a team but Kay, Eilidh and Jess were staffing Mission Control at Skedaddle and Fran keeps us tweeting.

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Giant Prize and huge honour

I was gob smacked to learn last night (27 Feb) that I had won the Saddle Skedaddle Guides competition.  A great honour as they are a great outfit and the others entries came from fellow guides who are very prolific social media users as well as great group bike leaders.  The other entrants  are all listed at  the Skedaddle Twaddle Blog but I’d like to mention fellow prize winners Richard Blackmore for the amazing Lands End John O’ Groats blog  and to Tom Owen for his instagram and  Blog content – with a great Lakeland feature including a mouthwatering cheeseboard pic! mmmm .

Tweets and tubes

 

I guess this is the sort of persistent you tube, tweeting and blogging that helped me win a bike! Yep a Giant road bike .  

Watch out for Al in Lycra!

May not be  a pretty sight!  

 

 

 

Along with  about a dozen other HF cycle guides we joined the Skedaddle crew a year back when the two organisations joined forces to market and deliver bike holidays. There has been some great co-operation and I have certainly enjoyed this year’s #Guides Week at HF Derwent Bank house near Keswick where I met (and in some cases danced with)  long standing HF colleagues and and made lots of new Skedaddle friends from UK, Italy and Spain.

I just have to say that the awards as based finally on votes on Facebook so thanks so much to everyone who did support me (and to those who passed the word).

Finally I am always in two minds about competitions as they can be a bit divisive in singling out individuals and I’d hate this to have that effect – the HF leaders who joined me on the transfer list to Skeddadle are a great bunch as are all the Skeddadlers I’ve me so far. Here’s to great team working.

 

Merci, gracias, grazie mille, danke schoen.  

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Pedalling in Puglia

 

Map of Puglia with bike route markedThe first week on October proved a great time to ride the heel of Italy – Puglia.  A good chance to dust down the Italian I learnt for the HF walking tours in Tuscany

 

Working with fellow guides Doug and Danilo  we had a   group of 12 cyclists who rode over 300 kms right to the end of the peninsula. All nicely organised as part of the HF Holidays and Saddle Skedaddle partnership with local support from S-Cape in Italy

 

We started in at the town of Alberobello famous for these rather strange stone buildings with stove roofs called Trulli  – all made without any mortar!

 

Trulli houses in Puglia

Trulli houses in Puglia

 

 

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Dovedale with adult bike group

A great weekend cycling from Dovedale

 

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