My Bicycle & IJourneys From My Doorstep
“Travels at Home”
Every morning I set off on a journey, up at sparrows and down the street on my bicycle, exercising my imagination as much as my legs. By the time I return to the house an hour or two later, having witnessed the sunrise and put however many miles of town and country beneath my wheels, I feel as though I have been places, seen things, travelled in the grand old sense of the word. I bring along my camera and tripod and try to capture something of the simple joy of a bike ride and the light humanising touch of a bicycle on the landscape.
(Click to View)
No Results Found
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
A collection of essays and travelogues
National Geographic & I
I was a ropey-armed kid roaming the backroads of Carroll County, New Hampshire on Schwinn Varsity ten-speed when the May 1973 issue of National Geographic lobbed on our doorstep and fired my adolescent imagination with a story about two adventurous couples who were cycling the Alaskan Highway. Even today, all these years later, I can still see some of those photographs in my mind’s eye – the inset shot of the four of them pedalling straight into the camera, their touring bikes loaded up for distant places; the picture of the guy straddling his bike in front of that tacky sprawl of hometown signs and mileposts somewhere up in the Yukon Territory, looking as though he were making up his mind where he might go next; that picaresque image of the girl playing her harmonica one-handed as she spun along a stretch of wide-open Canadian highway, free as air, with life and the open road stretching out in front of her.
The Alaska Highway story was included as an accompaniment to a larger feature about the cycling boom that was sweeping America in the early Seventies, but I felt as though it had been written especially for me. Like the rest of the America described in that feature, I was discovering the jaunty freedom of being out and about on a bicycle, and in my case imagining myself setting off for distant places one day, and writing about it in National Geographic.
A lot of kids have such daydreams, I suppose, but I never let go of mine. Although it took many years and numerous detours in life and career along the way, eventually it happened. Leaving a well-paying job as a senior writer for Time Magazine, I set off by bicycle alone into the Australian outback, returning nine-months and 10,000 dusty miles later and filing my first stories for National Geographic – a three-part series, as it turned out, only the second in the magazine’s history. Later I wrote a book about the journey, Cold Beer & Crocodiles, which was also published by National Geographic.
It was the start of what has proved to be a long relationship with the National Geographic Society, one which has taken me all over the world and allowed me to see and experience things beyond even the wildest expectations of my fourteen year-old self. Although I have never written another cycling story for the magazine, I have written a good many others. Here are a few of them.