It was only 60 miles back to Penrith. The train was booked for 6 that evening so leaving Kielder mid morning would be more than enough time we thought. The 50mph headwind was hardly ideal, but we weren’t going to let that deter us. Although strewn with fallen debris from the past few days of hurricane-like weather, the first few miles of quiet and rolling lanes allowed swift progress through the striking Northumberland countryside.


That progress came to an abrupt halt at Wark Forest, where tarmac turned to gravel, and gravel turned to cement-like slush. Oh and the wind. If being completely blown off our bikes wasn’t enough, I then received a light shower of urine from a unnamed riding partner who had somehow failed to account for the wind when relieving himself. Thanks Jordan.

Pannier_Kielder_10112015_33 Pannier_Kielder_10112015_36

The depths of the forest provided a brief respite from the wind but the gravel track worsened and a sign reading “not suitable for motor vehicles” couldn’t have stated anything more obvious. As we rode from one lake-sized puddle to another, it was no surprise that a bemused farmer on a quad bike stopped for a chat. That 5-mile stretch through Wark Forest took over an hour to ride and we all agreed it was one of the toughest bits of riding we’d ever done. God knows how Tom Donhou and George Marshall rode across Iceland in much worse conditions the month before.

Pannier_Kielder_10112015_43 Pannier_Kielder_10112015_45

I’ll skip to the end. We made the train, but there may have been a short minibus ride somewhere in between. That’s the reality of cycle touring on a deadline, if you’ve got to get back to work the next day then you don’t have much choice. It’s not all tailwinds and Tuscan landscapes, but none of us will forget that ride for a while.


Shot this beautiful Donhou adventure bike complete with Revelate Designs luggage for Pannier last week.


The idea was simple enough – go riding with the mysterious, Strava ‘KOM’ destroyer “Kong Fufu” and shoot some images of him for a Café du Cycliste blog post. Chasing him up a ‘Hors Catégorie’ climb whilst trying to take some half decent photographs was anything but…

However, once he agreed to slow down (considerably) so I could keep up, we had a great afternoon riding some of the fantastic, if lung busting climbs around Utelle in the southern Alps. No one knew who this anonymous rider beating most pros up the well known climbs of the Alps was, so the idea behind the blog post was to show that this Kong Fufu was, in fact, a real person and to reveal a little about who he is. His identity, however, was to remain a secret.

The best thing about it is that cycling isn’t even his main sport, he much prefers, and says he is much better at mountain running. So whether on the road or on the trail, Kong Fufu will kick your ass going up a mountain.

CdC_19102015_395 CdC_19102015_401 CdC_19102015_236 CdC_19102015_429 CdC_19102015_296 CdC_19102015_437

Sunrise at Skalafell, Iceland

untitled_15092015_16 untitled_15092015_19

A few frames from Iceland converted to black and white. You can view the whole Lookbook here.

CdC_Iceland_01102015_1831 CdC_Iceland_29092015_2196 CdC_Iceland_30092015_301 CdC_Iceland_01102015_2771 CdC_Iceland_01102015_2796 CdC_Iceland_01102015_2858