Cycling Europe Day 47: On Traveling Alone

I am so excited I can barely contain myself!

Just for a second, when I saw this, I thought I was cycling near Benha, Egypt, in the Nile Delta region. It's an area on our route when we go to visit my father's village.

Just for a second, when I saw this, I thought I was cycling near Benha, Egypt, in the Nile Delta region. It’s an area on our route when we go to visit my father’s village.

I am so excited that I cycled more than 50km farther than I intended today so I could be that much closer to tomorrow’s revised destination.

I wasn’t going to say anything until it actually happened. I wanted to keep away the evil eye. But I’m too excited to hold it in any longer!

So…Cursed be any who gives my family the evil eye.

There! Now I can tell you!

Guess what?

My husband Colin is coming tomorrow!

And he’s not coming for a short fling of a weekend like he did while I was in France. He’s coming to cycle with me till I reach my final destination or until I get too tired to cycle any longer!

Someone gather up all the excitement that’s spilling all over the place and making an absolute mess!

This was my ultimate strategy while planning the trip.

Colin could not take endless time off of work to join me for the whole thing. But he wanted to join me for part of it. He wanted to come with me at the start. He had two reasons. He wanted to get me off on my way and make sure I would be all right on my own. He also felt that he’d enjoy cycling in that part of Europe more.

I insisted that if he could only join me for part of the trip that he leave it till the end. (more…)

Cycling Europe Day 24: Holding On To Memories

“How does one hold on to a memory?” I asked myself while walking along the marina



in Cannes, France. The sky was blue, the weather was warm, the sun was shining, the waves of the Mediterranean lightly rolling. I was feeling content. It had suddenly hit me (not for the first time) how fortunate I was to be able to go on an adventure such as this, to see the places I have seen, and experience the things I have done. How do I hold on to this moment of content so that I can recall it later for many years to come?

The cycle today was by no means an easy one. I cycled 125km from Saint Maximin la

I cycled through a mountain to get to Cannes.

I cycled through a mountain to get to Cannes.

Sainte Baume to Cannes. It involved 872 long, hard meters of ascent and 1111 blissful meters of descent. Basically, I had to cycle over a mountain to get to Cannes. But the moment I saw the Mediterranean I forgot the pain of the previous hours. It’s such a strange thing when that happens. I cycled lazily along the coast for awhile. Everything was so beautiful. Seeing the sea reminded me of one of my other passions: scuba diving. And it got me to think how amazing it is that I can experience life in so many different ways: by bike, diving underwater, hiking and hill walking… I am truly fortunate. Alhamdullilah. All thanks be to Allah.

I haven’t seen many cyclists in France; no where near as many as I had seen in Spain. Some French cyclists I’ve seen don’t wear helmets. I saw a lot of cyclists in Arles. There must be known bike routes in that area. I saw several cyclists climbing the mountain with me today to Cannes as well.

The French don’t seem to be as good-tempered as the Spaniards. I’ve been thinking that the Spaniards might have the right idea with this siesta thing. Shops and restaurants shut down at 1:30pm in Spain and re-open at 5pm. Maybe that’s why I saw more cyclists on the road there: they have more time for leisure activities. In Spain, the cyclists really cheered me on. Motorists beeped happy beeps for me and waved as they passed. In France, the cyclists barely nod their heads in acknowledgement, if that, and the motorists are just angry, aggressive folk. I think the French should consider taking a siesta, getting some sleep, maybe having some sex… They really need to lose the temper and loosen up! (more…)

Cycling Europe Day 13: Everyday Stuff

Getting terribly lost a few days back evidently had its advantages. Today was the day I



was most apprehensive about before the trip. It was going to be the longest in terms of distance. But in the first few days I got lost once in the mountains and ended up cycling 156km and another time I got lost and ended up cycling 186km. Today’s 143km next to those seemed like peanuts. It’s strange how the mind works that way.

It’s all relative, though. I was thinking today that as I got on my bike this morning my friends were just starting to sit at their desks at work. And when I finished, my friends were just finishing their work and getting ready to head home. Now imagine sitting at your desk that whole time while cycling with different speeds and gradients. You do get toilet and snack breaks, but they need to be quick because every minute lost not working is added on to the end of the day. You also need to make sure your desk is within sight during your toilet and snack breaks lest someone thinks of stealing your valuable work.

I’ve been getting up just before 5am everyday. I try to sleep more but I never can. I get anxious in the mornings. I wake up, wash, start gathering all my stuff together in the panniers, and have breakfast as soon as the nearest restaurant opens. I haven’t been very happy with the breakfast portions here. Usually I’m given a croissant, some tea, and orange juice. When possible I’ll add bread or cereal or whatever I can find available. I then gear up my bike and try to be on the road around 8am. By then it’s light enough outside for me to feel safe.


Nadia’s Ten Tips for Healthy Living

Anybody and everybody is writing about healthy living nowadays. Much of what is out there is common sense and you have to

My husband, a friend of ours, and I cycled from London to Paris this year. Having a short-term goal will motivate you to keep exercising.

My husband, a friend of ours, and I cycled from London to Paris this year. Having a short-term goal will motivate you to keep exercising.

wonder why someone has written a whole book about it. More of what is out there is just a load of crap. Generally, I think too many people have turned healthy living into something that is way too complicated for someone who wants to start on the road towards a healthier lifestyle.

So, since I am an anybody and I have accumulated some personal experience on this topic over the past few years, I thought I would share my own tips on how to live more healthily.

1.    Your goal should be gradually shifting into a lifestyle change and not finding a quick fix solution. One of the first things you need to do is completely remove the word diet from your vocabulary. YOU ARE NOT STARTING YET ANOTHER DIET. Your goal is not to lose a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time. Your goal should not even be weight loss. Your goal should be to become healthy. This will inevitably result in some weight loss. But stop focusing on your weight and start focusing on changing the way you live.

2.    Lifestyle changes do not happen overnight. (more…)