Across Continents

Ken's Blog

All for a good cause

May 31st, 2012

I’d found myself quietly pleased with Saturday’s inaugural talk – “Two Wheels, One World” – about my travels around the globe with my two-wheeled steed. People seemed to laugh in all the right places, for it was always going to be much more a collection of illustrated anecdotes than a simple travelogue. Lots of questions. Goodly sized audience, giving the venue a rather convivial atmosphere. There’d been wine, albeit not for me until much later, and a fantastic spread to help take the edge off the alcohol. Even joined by my local MP, same chap who’d cut the tape as I’d set off towards France almost three years earlier. But, best of all, we’d raised almost £390 for The Outward Bound Trust. And a few offers of further speaking engagements.

[With especial thanks to Pauline and Bob, Jon and Helen, Jenny, Anton and Linda, Sue and Roger, Tony and Sarah, Nikki, David, Sarah]

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Two Wheels, One World

April 13th, 2012

For more information about the Silver Street Centre, including location and parking, click here. See you there!

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Fade to black

February 19th, 2012

Trusty steed in China

Found myself wondering what’d take the longest. Riding around the world, or reaching my fund-raising target – at least twenty thousand pounds – for The Outward Bound Trust. The cycling part of the challenge might now be complete, but there’s still a long, long way to go.

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In fact, eliciting donations seems far harder than the pedalling – no, not seems – actually it is. You can help of course by making a safe and secure gift to The Trust via my JustGiving page – simply click on the button below. Can’t miss it.

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What next then? Forgive me, but it’s only been a week or so since I came off the road. No more refrigerator living. So, plans a little fluid, but beginning to comfortably take shape. Enough for me to be able to share a brief flavour at least.
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It’s all about sharing, encouraging others to pursue their own challenges. Getting them to realise they can achieve much more than they think they can. How you may ask? The main-stay will be giving talks about the whole experience – collections of (hopefully) amusing anecdotes rather than dry chronology – if you’d like me to come and provide an evening’s entertainment, do get in touch via my contacts page – click here.
Brown bear - Grizzly - in captivity - near Anchorage, Alaska
I’ve also a small writing commission for a very august charity. Plans to appear at the Royal Geographical Society’s autumn Exploration weekend next to the equally prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Keen to develop the website into a useful resource for fellow long-haul touring cyclists, compiled with an engineer’s eye – as well as my City & Guilds qualification in Bicycle Maintenance, in real life I’m also a Chartered Engineer.

Sleeping under the stars - Gobi desert - China
And a book? Consider me a bit harsh if you must, but I’ve read a good number of travelogues and the sort, and vanishingly few meet the Gold Standard – that of wider public appeal. Beyond family, friends and devoted cycling fans, or whatever else the mode of transport might be the author used. And a book isn’t a blog. A very different beast. A significant undertaking.
Chinese truck stop - Western China
True, I’ve got the notes for a book – almost 1,800 posts for starters – but no illusion about the sheer amount of effort required to even have a chance of producing something I’d be content to put my name to. And it’d have to offer something different to the many passe accounts out there. Fill a gap in the market. And, much to my own surprise, I’ve an inkling of an idea.. something where the precursor is to have ridden around the world. Which narrows the competition just a bit…
Azerbaijan border sign - in Republic of Georgia
Futuristic musings aside, I’m hoping to appear on 10Radio’s Friday morning Community Show on 9 March 2012. Discussing the transition back to a more conventional existence, as well as touching on what I’ve learnt. And I’ve an idea presenter Pauline won’t let me out of the studio without checking out my legs… All in the best possible taste. More details to follow closer to the show.
Sunset at Deadmans Lake, Alaska
Oh yes, and contrary to the advice from the then Employment Secretary Norman Tebbit back in the 1980’s, I’m getting off my bicycle to find work… But for now at least, time to bring the daily blog posts to a close. It’s been great fun, and I’ve certainly enjoyed the writing – do hope the various stories have been as much fun to read!

So, thank-you for all your love and support

Yours appreciatively

Ken, and his trusty two-wheeled steed Emma

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For a good cause

August 7th, 2011

Don’t think I’m giving too much away if I say my Dad really likes visiting the US. Might sometimes have teased him that other countries are available. But I’m beginning to get it, to see the attraction. At least in Alaska, for, as ever a bit ahead of my blog, that’s where I now am. Remarkably friendly people. And very generous, in so many ways. The full story will start to unfold in a little while, once tales from Australia are complete.

Been in Alaska for a little over a week, and already received a substantial donation, entirely unsolicited, for The Outward Bound Trust. A gift from friends – and I do mean that rather than simply acquaintances – at the Bent Prop Inn Hostel in Anchorage. Had me speechless, albeit briefly.

Avid followers of the blog may remember I’ve been carrying two mascots along the entire east coast of Australia. Wallace the Wallaby and Skippy the Kangaroo. They’re now on their way back to Blighty, destined for good homes. Skippy off to live with Mandy Bool, as she kindly made the largest donation during my travels in Australia. And that wasn’t her first.

marsupials

Wallace, however, may be obliged to sell The Big Issue for a while, until such time as someone makes a donation – no matter how big or small – with a suitably witty comment. For full details click here. So, please dig deep and help The Outward Bound Trust continue it’s great work with young people. In the meantime, I’m off to sketch out some Sarah Palin jokes…

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Family affair

April 3rd, 2011

Pair - web

Skippy has teased out some very generous donations. Hugely appreciated by Emma, my trusty steed, and I. And The Outward Bound Trust. But most of all, by the young people able, as a result, to undertake nothing short of life-changing courses with the charity.

Skippy’s a socially aware critter, conscious of tough economic times back in Blighty. So time to introduce fellow marsupial Wallace the Wallaby. Like a kangaroo, just smaller. Far less chance of one disembowelling you. So no need for the gloves.

Wallace can be yours for safe keeping. Once we’ve got the Australian continent in the bag. Plan is to give Wallace to whoever leaves the most witty comment when making a secure donation via my JustGiving page. Doesn’t matter how much you give. Few pounds. Or a lot more. Because it all helps. Just need to make me smile. The most.

Inevitably the legal types require some terms and conditions. Conveniently, these are the same as for the awarding of Skippy to a good home. See 5 March 2011 blog entry entitled "Hostage to fortune". With one important difference:

"Awarding of Wallace

Wallace will be awarded to the person making an eligible donation, between 9 April 2011 and Ken’s completion of the Australian stage of his expedition, deemed to be accompanied by the most witty comment. Ken’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into."

Please remember, the making of a donation is considered to be acceptance of these terms and conditions.

[Neither the awarding of Skippy or Wallace to a good home is considered to be a lottery as defined by the Gambling Act 2005. But, even if it was, then it’d be an incidental non-commercial lottery. Which doesn’t require a licence. Or registration with a local authority. So, either way, perfectly legal. Well, this is an ethical venture. So you’d expect me to consider these things]

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Hostage to fortune

March 5th, 2011

Introducing Skippy. The gloves a touch of irony. Fight like girls apparently. No concept of the Queensberry Rules. But this particular marsupial shortly to be a very well travelled kangaroo. Accompanying Emma, my trusty steed, and I all the way down Australia. Popping up in the odd video clip or photo as we go. Already done some TV work. No, really.

Skippy - web

Alas, no room in the bag for Skippy to venture into Alaska. Need the space for extra rations. Instead, she’ll be given to a good home. That of whoever donates the most to The Outward Bound Trust during my time in Australia. Otherwise its sausages. With baked beans. You have been warned. So, please read the terms and conditions below and then click here to donate. Help the funds roll in to enable young people to unlock their real potential.

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Terms and conditions

Eligibility

To be eligible to be considered for the award of Skippy:

(a) Donations must be made via Ken’s JustGiving.com page (http://www.justgiving.com/acrosscontinents), together with

(b) A valid e-mail address, visible to Ken as the page owner.

Donations are made strictly in accordance with JustGiving.com’s own terms and conditions. They are not payment for a ticket, goods or services, nor are they refundable. Under any circumstances.

Donations made by, or on behalf of, Ken’s immediate family, employees and agents of The Outward Bound Trust are not eligible for consideration for the award of Skippy.

Awarding of Skippy

Skippy will be awarded to the person making the largest eligible donation between 6 March 2011 and Ken’s completion of the Australian stage of his expedition. In the event of there being more than one such donation, one will be chosen at random. Ken’s decision will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Notification of the award

The person awarded Skippy will be notified of their success via the e-mail address provided when making their donation. If the address is no longer valid, or no reply is received within 14 days, Skippy will be awarded to the person making the next largest donation.

Failure

Whilst every endeavour will be made to ensure Skippy makes it safely across Australia with Ken, and subsequently to the person making the largest eligible donation, no liability will be accepted for failure due to cyclones, flooding, loss, theft, electronic problems such as website corruption or e-mail delivery failure, misplacement of the marsupial by Australia Post etc.. Remember, donations are just that. Donations.

Acceptance of the terms and conditions

The making of a donation is considered to be acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Applicable Law

These terms and conditions are subject to English Law.

Safety note

Finally, note that Skippy is not suitable for children under 3 years of age.

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Back on the road

April 11th, 2010

ac globe - refreshed

Spring. It was good to be back on the road, driving hard along the old Silk Road from Trabzon into Georgia and the Caucasus. No sign of the camels, but lots of Turkish lorries so I kept my eye out for large road kill. Emma and I felt refreshed, the same, we thought, that could be said of our website www.acrosscontinents.org.

Lots of fresh, new content. More videos – with the obligatory shades and mug of tea of course, radio interviews, photos, even a map of my intended route through the Caucasus and the ’Stans. And more to come – Bishkek beckons!

If you’ve not already done so, you can sign up for for automatic blog updates, delivered straight to your e-mail account – click on blog, enter your e-mail address and press ’Subscribe’ – simple. Or join me on Facebook – link on my home page – lots of fresh content there as well. And to find out more about the UK charity, The Outward Bound Trust, I’m raising funds for, either follow the links on my own site, or just click here.

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