U.S. West Coast 2012

A Fork In The Road — Group Politics In Northern California

I wasn’t sure how to bring up the subject. It seemed a thorny one, fraught with emotion. So I took the only approach I really knew, which was to speak my mind and deal with the consequences later.

Preparing an epic seafood dinner

U.S. West Coast 2012

Breaking Away — Going Solo On A Social Journey

I finished up the last of the pancakes, washed my plate, strapped my helmet over my Buff and set off along Highway 101 under a clear blue sky. It was shortly after sunrise and the air was clear and chill. A pickup truck zipped past on some early-morning errand, but all else was quiet, still and serene. I’ve always loved this time, just after dawn, riding through a world more or less entirely my own as the rest of civilization still drifts between slumber and the insistent tug of the daily routine.

Shady redwood forests

U.S. West Coast 2012

Riding In More Rain — Towards And Along The Oregon Coastline

Ben and I left Portland at lunchtime on the 9th day. The departure was a tough one. We rode south-west into a fresh onshore breeze, clouds collecting in the distance, stopping briefly to look at the Spruce Goose and fill up with water. The wind grew stronger, and after a couple more hours’ battling we pulled into a roadside cafe in order to take a break and fish for a sleeping spot.

“You must be the cyclists!”

Stuart accosted us halfway through a bowl of quite excellent clam chowder. He was in his sixties, white haired and bespectacled. He was slender as a bean in a nation of supersize bodies, a Geocaching logo on his faded baseball cap, dressed for working outdoors, and, with a look of curiosity and mild amusement on his face, his appearance somehow set him apart.

I trusted him immediately.

Philosophy Of Travel U.S. West Coast 2012

Portland — Why I’ll Remember The People Over The Place

I would love to say that this will be an account of the wonders of the city of Portland. Because here is another city of the north-western States that manages to effortlessly exude its own particular flavour from the moment one begins to wander the downtown gridwork of avenues and cross-streets.


Bikes Equipment Gear Reviews

Kona Sutra Touring Bike: Long Term Road Test & Review

UPDATE: In April 2014 I published my review of the 2014 Sutra, which supersedes this model. Click here to read it.

Full disclosure: Kona supplied me with their flagship Sutra touring bicycle for my U.S. West Coast ride in 2012. In return, I agreed to supply feedback (good or bad), photographs, an objective write-up here on my blog, and a video review (coming soon). Thus my opinions about the Sutra are published in absolute honesty; I’m not obliged to endorse the bike unless I feel it deserves it.

I wouldn’t test anything that didn’t fit my criteria on paper first. The Sutra did indeed fit my criteria on paper for this, primarily a road tour of a developed nation. It’s been a pleasant surprise to ride and has exceeded my expectations.

Kona Sutra 2012 Touring Bike