From Lucca with Love

It was this time last year we travelled to Italy for Craigs birthday celebrations. A city apartment in Lucca, a roll around the Tuscan hills with our guides Alison Testroete and Enzo Della Corte of the Lucca cycling club.  It was as sensory feast of culture and cycling.  The Tuscan countryside is everything you see in the adverts.  Rolling roads,  peppered with terracotta villas, vineyards and the signature Tuscan Cypress trees.

What a difference a year makes. Such a venturesome want has never been … so…desperate.  No other time in our lifes has  ‘Freedom of Movement’  been so understood and when borders re-open we hope that our wheels will roll again in the beautiful Tuscan hills.

Yet until they do, we have been clearing out the digital vaults ( with the rest of the house) and taking solice and comfort from our video archives and flung together a few edits. 

It’s a rolling joke in the BCR that Im partial to photo or two (yeah that guy). This is not a vanity project or a neglect of being …I  simply enjoy pictures and movies.  A collection and catalogue of memory’s that not only serve as a reminder to a feeling, smell, sound or notion, but a period of life….that all to often can get taken for granted.  Words can’t paint a picture but  picture can paint a thousand words. 

Cycling around Lucca

In the mornings before our big bike rides a few of us would rise early and post Espresso  ride some laps of the city walls.  A beautiful time of day to see Lucca come to life and Mario Cipollini do his workouts.  One of my own songs about cycling flung in to soundtrack. “Man in Yellow’

 

Our full descent from San Baronto. 

Home to Lenoardo De Vinci’s birthplace.  A brilliant cruisy descent we undertook after the Giro had passed through. Simple edits, No filters, No flashy zoom cuts.  We are allowing the videos to roll out like the Tuscan countryside itself.

 

When you do get rolling. Stay Safe and enjoy.

Daz

 

 

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Rolling with 12

On the road

I recently got my “summer” bike back from a custom paint job. Big cheers to Magnafibre Alloa for a great job and Michael from Alloa Cycle repairs for the rebuild(more to follow on another post). It’s not been on the road since October but It hasn’t taken me long to fall back in love with it’s airy, slammed curves.  Don’t get me wrong I’ve totally grown to enjoy the comfort and rather more relaxed riding position of my recently acquired Titanium winter freedom machine, but the fun factor? Well it’s just no where near as nimble, responsive or quick on the flats and descents as my Specialized Tarmac.   Thus with the belting weather I’ve been getting out as often as I can.  Of which, I’ve been particularly liking the morning summer commutes.   When I can get my arse out of bed early enough, i’ll head east (instead of north) to take an extended commute on as big an anti clockwise curve to work, as time allows. Riding into the rising sun with sweeping views of the Firth of Forth, whilst central Scotland rouses from it’s Golden slumber’s has a certain buzz to it.  Particularly on colder mornings where the fields, gardens and Golf courses sparkle like glistening gold waves as the sun liberates the early morning dew and occasional frost. STUNNING, see the photo slide show below. On days like these I Just want to keep pedalling, Keep  pushing that anti clockwise curve left like a freaky cycling Zoolander.  Needs must though. Bills need paying and wine needs a tasting, so  eventually a turn to the right and dismount is required.

We also recently rode the Aviemore 100 but that story will come in separate blog.

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Listening to

I’ve been making up playlist’s for my page on Spotify,  some new tunes of my own to follow. But hears a sneak listen to my June list

Reading.

War of Art – Steven Pressfield. This is a yearly re-read for me

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Story goes like this. Towards the end of 2016 the missus and I planned a ‘romantic’ weekend break to the south of Spain. Two parts romance, one part decompress after one of the most intense work and family periods we had navigated.

On this journey of romance, partying,  inevitable soul mining and long deep conversations over Pintxo’s and Vino came an epiphanal moment .  The understanding that there is an aspect of being that’s helped keep me sane through the intense preceding months; an escape vehicle seldom seen but one in which I could dive like Bonds Lotus Esprit in Octopussy ( Rarely do i surface to a vessel full of sea sirens though).  That vehicle for me, is creativity & playing.   It keeps  me squared up, when all the outside and inner  forces are trying tae form a hexagon .  Yet until recently (<2years) I had been depriving myself, stopping myself, relying on the contribution of others for these artistic surges to come to life and thus the only thing that i was prolific in creating was frustration. Then the few times I did shake my own thing, I guarded it fiercely from the public eye, for reason’s I didn’t know why.

Anyway, whilst in the South of Spain (sans kids), we visited friends and Property Impresarios Leane & Graeme Carling at their new Villa in Fuengirola. That weekend they were putting the finishing touches to their own creative project.  Their first book ‘Property Superstars’. A book charting their rise from office jobs in Central Scotland to  becoming the largest Independent property dealers in Scotland.   Chapeau. Over one of the many bottles of wines that weekend, the chat was of inspiring books and I asked Graeme.  ” Read any good ones lately?”  His answer was almost a reflex, like an Andy Murray cross court return of serve it was so lightning quick.

”  Yes….it’s called War of Art.. Steven Pressfield, ammmmazing book, must read”   He asserted.

The book he referred to is written by Steven Pressfield  who’s fiction includes The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, The Afghan Campaign and The Lions Gate, but it is his non fiction work.   The war of Art, Turning Pro and Do the Work that have transcended into cult classics. .

War of Art It’s about turning the tables on yourself. It is succinct. Yes a self helpy book, although minus the woo woo bullshit philosophy of cast it to the universe and the universe will deliver.  This is more on the Stoic path.  No waiting for Muses and inspiration. Just start, do the work and you’ll find your flow, inspiration and at times Muse on the way.  As Graeme intimated a must read for anyone with creative urges, especially those that need a good boot up the arse to just get their shit done and out there, like I was.

>click Here to find out more

We spoke more of the central theme which can be captured in two lines from the book: “Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance.”  in other words the side projects, songs, books, pieces of art or even start up’s we want to do, but never get the finger out to do.

Instantly I was curious about this “resistance”.  Could resistance be the guarding, the denying, the delay in starting, the reliance on others, the annoyance at others reliance on me, that I was  all to frequently deferring to as an excuse against, getting shit done?……it was like a bomb going off in my head.  A collision course was now set with my earlier creative epiphany. Out came the phone and ordered it was and through the letter box  it lay when we arrived home. I devoured it in a couple of sitting’s.  With each page the self inflicted creative weight was lifting from my shoulders just like the morning dew off the grass of my summer commutes.  If it wasn’t for a combination of both book and epiphany,  you wouldn’t be reading this blog right know.  I would still be citing many excuses against creating that cycling blog idea, turning that melody into a tune, that Snowboarding movie.  I remember before we left that weekend saying to Leane.  ”  yi know I’ve always wanted to write a book”  My Tour of the highland series is essentially that.  A riders eye view at playing the endurance athlete for a three days.

Further reading are Steven Pressfields other cult classics on the creative topic.  These should be read in order listed below.

  1. >>War of Art
  2. >>Turning Pro
  3. >>Do the Work

There you go three book recommendations for the price of one



Drinking

I Latina Carménère

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 18.35.30This little beauty was corked last wine Wednesday in the Murray house.  I first tried this on our launch night at the Acoustic Cafe.  Danny of the Kennedy brought this along and splashes me a glass and when it came back in stock in his Naked Wine membership, the offer was made to grab a few and there was  no way I was declining.



Watching

We recently watched and recommend >>THE BIG SICK. A comedy loosely based on the real life relationship between comedian Kumail Nanjiani and writer Emily V. Gordon and the cultural differences they faced in an interacial relationship.  Sounds shit, but is really gid.

Totally appealed to my sense of humour.  Check it out.

Get  Reading, drinking, Listening and Rolling…..Short life advice: Probably best do that in reverse order.

Daz

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Rolling with 3

THIS WEEK-Daz

On the bike

A couple of rides this week.  Both almost culminating in me puking.

First ride. Up Alpe D’huez on the BKOOL virtual simulator.  Quite a few bends on that eh? Got dizzy cycling in circles in ma man cave!!! Almost fell into the wardrobe at one point . I wonder if I did? would i come oot o it a cyclist? Still faking it till I make it(there) though.

The second ride was suffering in the pissing rain on a cold Saturday morning afternoon, with a belter of  hangover. ( I had tae pick up my van at Croy train station. 17 miles away.). All seemed liked a great plan the day before!!

Continue reading “Rolling with 3”

Tour of The Highlands – PART 3

Morning sun streams through the bathroom window,  casting a naked alien like shadow against the wall.  I’m stood in the bath tub and ready to shock my system with some cold exposure therapy i.e. an icy cold shower.

Five minutes earlier I had awoken, stock still and anxious to see how my body had recovered from yesterday’s exertions.  A quick body scan later and the news was good, not great…just good.  It doesn’t feel ma own. Aye, It’s stiff and aching, but it’s a good ache and it feels better, even a little bit stronger. Although that could still be the after effects of last nights Peroni’s right enough! Continue reading “Tour of The Highlands – PART 3”

Tour of The Highlands – Part 1

Day 1 Part 1  INTRODUCTION  CLICK HERE

wee burl

It’s 5am on a Saturday at the end of May and we find ourselves in a Wig-Wam in the Trossachs.

My phone is playing a piano arpeggio. It’s cheesy but better than those needle to the eyeball beeps of the default alarm.

I bolt upright, Frankenstein like.

It’s here, day one of the Tour of the Highlands.

My hand pads the bed to find my phone.   I thumb the home button and stop the alarm.
It’s been a shit night’s sleep; tossing and turning all night long in this Wig-Wam/sauna. I am half-baked with excitement, half seared by the heat. I remember being fully compes mentis since four am. At least that is when the cockerel started cocka-doodle-f*****g-doing. Continue reading “Tour of The Highlands – Part 1”

Ride To The Sun

019Sportives and mass-participation events are ubiquitous these days. Pick any weekend between April and October and you’ll have an innumerable choice of organised events at which to indulge your passion for turning pedals.
The ubiquity, and increasingly monetised nature of much of these events leave some looking for something a bit different, though.
It’s this search for something different that now has me pinging through deepest Midlothian, at 20mph……at 1 in the morning! Continue reading “Ride To The Sun”

Rolling with 1

On the bike

Getting back  intae the fitness malarkey after the New year. Weathers not been conducive tae enjoyable cycling just now, so it’s been 2 “Virtual” rides on the turbo trainer and 2 lunchtime runs  this week.

Highlight being a virtual ride up the Majorcan bucket lister  ‘Sa Colobra’ climb on BKool simulator.  Almost got wiped out by a bus aswell or should I say , whoever filmed the footage almost did. Continue reading “Rolling with 1”