Night of the Long Rides – Preview


I’m not an event organiser so taking the somewhat reckless decision to organise an event is a bit of a scary experience.  Obviously I’m excited at the Tour de France coming to my home city but as I mused to myself over a pint, the Tour is a race and not a tour.  A tour is something different all together, a wander at your own pace taking in the sights, sounds, cultures, food etc of wherever you happen to be riding through.  Travelling by bike gives a unique perspective as you can cover significant distances but travel at a speed that allows you to stop, chat, take a break etc wherever you want.  A very long time ago I used to do a bit of touring but it was mostly weekend stuff and the odd half term as my parents ushered me out of the house and I’d head off to ride up to the Cotswolds, South West England or Wales using Youth Hostels as my places to stay.  I did ride over to and around Holland when I was 16 but that was as far as I got.  When I ride to work I sometimes think to myself what if I just kept going ?

Tom Bruce and Andrew Sykes have both done exactly that and written about their adventures, Andrew using his summer holidays as a teacher to head off to and around the med while Tom decided that he would ride around the world every inch of the way.  Both Tom and Andrew have connections to Yorkshire and in a slightly hair brained moment I thought why not see if they fancied doing a talk about their adventures.  Amazingly they both said yes they’d be up for that so we got a date and I scratched my head and thought OK now what. So I’ve got the star attractions now we need a venue.

This was in one ways very easy and in another a bit tricky as I had no idea what size I should be looking at as no idea who (if anyone) would come.  However I like good food and beer so I decided a pub would be good and what better than the Crosskeys one of Leeds’ finest.  I had a chat with them and they were well up for it.  Also from a cyclist point of view I wanted to support the Crosskeys as they (along with their sister pubs) are doing their bit to be cyclist friendly (they stock a track pump, puncture kit, a multi tool and will fill your water bottles up) and they also have a great courtyard round the back so in summer months you can keep an eye on your bike while enjoy a nice beer and some nosh (the pigs cheek starter is a work of marvel).

Authors and venue sorted, so what about tickets and an image for the night that I could use to promote it.  Got in touch with Andy from Custard4Gravy who miraculously converted my babblings of what I wanted into the fab image above. Then I had a look at eventbrite which proved incredibly easy to set up and manage and all of a sudden I had an event to promote.  Bit of twitter action to publicise it and the pithy title and very quickly all the 70 tickets were snaffled up.  So we are all good to go, got the authors, venue, tickets and the fab colours may vary are going to have pop up stall with some great cycling related products, and we also got a fab guest compère / interviewer to make the night go swimmingly.  Hopefully those who have signed up will turn up (if you tweet it will they come?) and an enjoyable night will be had by all.

The cost for doing this – Zero, everyone involved has done their bit for nothing so if you are coming why not go along early and enjoy a bit to eat at the pub, pick up a copy of the authors books, have a browse at the colours may vary pop up before the event starts at 7.  Look forward to seeing you there.

A little bit about the authors:

Tom Bruce – Tom grew up in the small village of Bunbury in Cheshire and spent most of his childhood riding bikes. He studied mechanical engineering at Edinburgh University, before working for a small renewable energy firm. During this time, he realised that there was no way he could settle down to a 9-5 job for the rest of his life without realising his dream of seeing the world. One day, he made the decision to quit his job, say goodbye to his loved ones, and set off to cycle unsupported around the world at the age of 24. In March 2011, with little preparation and no training, Tom set off on his bike, “Sandy” with the mission to cross Europe, Asia and America using nothing but a bike. In under 10 months, Tom cycled 23,000 kilometers, having achieved his ambition, and having had the best experiences of his life in the process. On the trip, Tom spent nights in people’s houses all over the world, slept in Yurts, camped with nomads, ate delicious food ranging from Tibetan stew to alligator meat, partied with Kazakhs on the Caspian Sea ferry, saw Stalin’s house, the Grand Canyon and the Great Wall and crossed sweltering deserts and huge mountains. Tom returned from his trip, having raised thousands of pound for his charity SOS Children’s Villages, and with a new perspective on life. He now spends his time studying a PhD at the University of Sheffield between other adventures, which have included cycling across the French Alps, training for and completing Ironman Zurich, cycling the Three Gorges in China on a £15 folding bike and many more bike tours in the UK. The memories, highlights, challenges and experiences with the people of the world during his round the world trip are shared in his honest, exciting and fascinating book about his around the world adventure named “Every Inch of the Way, My Bike Ride Around The World”

Andrew Sykes – Andrew was born and grew up in the small town of Elland in the foothills of the Pennines in West Yorkshire. He studied for a degree in mathematics at the University of York and immediately after graduation went to work in London for a firm of city accountants. The world of auditing was not however for him and in 1993 he left the U.K to go and work in France, initially in the tourist industry and then for four years teaching English in the Loire Valley city of Tours. He returned to the U.K. in 1999 to train as a secondary school teacher of French at the University of Reading. He still lives in the town and can currently be found working as the Head of Modern Languages at a secondary school in South Oxfordshire.  In 2008 the academic year must have been a difficult one as when the summer holidays arrived Andrew was happy to do as little as possible.  But while sitting on his sofa watching the exploits of the cyclists at the Beijing Olympics, he realised the error of his ways and resolved to put a bit more adventure into his life.  Two years later, accompanied by his faithful companion Reggie (his bike) but only a rudimentary plan, Andrew set off for a trans-continental cycling adventure that would take hiim along the route of the Via Fracigena and the Eurovelo 5 all the way from his home in Southern Enlgand to Brindisi in the South of Italy.  There were highs and lows, rain and shin, joy and despair all recounted in his book ‘Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie’.  In 2013 not satisfied with having done it once, Andrew decided to cross Europe again but this time from East to West along the Mediterranean coast from the Temple of Poseidon at the South Eastern tip of Greece to the lighthouse at Cape St. Vincent in the South Western corner of Portugal the tales of which will be described in his second book ‘Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie’ due in summer 2014.



One thought on “Night of the Long Rides – Preview

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Ian Street, who has organised the ‘Night of the Long Rides’ event that I will be attending in Leeds later this month, has written a preview for the event on his own WordPress site. Unfortunately the talk is sold out but don’t forget that I will also be in Sheffield on the 28th May and in Ripon on the 30th May. Why not come along? Full details over there in the right hand column of

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