• Grenze hopping – October 15 Road Ride

    With weather forecasts saying that we were in for another summers day I wanted to do something a little bit bolder just in case we plunge into the darkness of winter next. I elected to ride to the Grenzmuseum Schifflersgrund near Bad Sooden-Allendorf on the Hessian-Thuringian border. This would take me past iconic places that… Continue Reading

  • Harry Karasek – Nationality isn’t simple

    Putting names and a history to people who are or were; immigrants, migrants, aliens, expats, exiles, refugees, asylum seekers or emigres, I believe can go some way to fight the use of such English terms to degenerate or even de-humanise our view of people. I am an immigrant, a privileged one as I am white,… Continue Reading

  • Plesse Castle Ride – June 21 2019

    Or following in Grandma’s footsteps and German Castles are just not ‘hard arse’ enough. My image of castles was formed by visiting Wales where large and imposing castles were built to express power, deliver military dominance over and the subjugation of the Welsh by the English. Also ‘hard as nails’ castles built by the Norman… Continue Reading

  • Friedland Transit Camp – June 15 Ride 2019

    We think we might pedal far and heroically but history tells us what suffering, travel and hardship really is and which at times can be beyond understanding. A visit to the Museum Friedland as part of my June 15 ride to Friedland. Personally, I am an (Cycling) Immigrant. In Transit Migration and immigration are part… Continue Reading

  • Friedland – June 15 Ride 2019

    A short ride from my new home town is a place that played an amazing part in post-World War Two life – it was at the Friedland Transit Camp that millions of displaced people, POW’s and refugees travelled through. It was near the small village of Friedland that the US, British and Soviet Zones of… Continue Reading

  • Der Internal Grenze

    A ride to the now defunct Internal Border. Every location has an intrinsic value and the landscape can be dramatic or even supine and a ‘back-water’ can have a story to tell, if often a little more prosaic than some. Additionally man’s intervention in the landscape can be dramatic (or traumatic) and with the passage… Continue Reading

  • Mayday Ride – May 1, 2019

    Mayday is a public holiday in Germany and like most public holidays and Sundays retail life slows almost to a halt and it all seems a bit old fashioned compared to the 24/7 shopping fuelled frenzied lifestyles (and endless sales) which seem the norm in the UK. Except, even here in Germany there are those… Continue Reading

  • Der Weltkrieg In Seiner Rauhen Wirklichkeit

    Looking through a box in der German house (day 23 since I moved) I came across this first edition book – ‘Der Weltkrieg In Seiner Rauhen Wirklichkeit’ or ‘The World War In Its Harsh Reality’ published in Germany in 1926. The book contains 600 black and white photographs taken by Hermann Rex for the German… Continue Reading

  • I am an (cycling) immigrant

    I am a new immigrant; I am not an expat hiding behind a term because of prejudice toward immigrants, a prejudice that is oddly extolled by some people who themselves live in a foreign country. Whilst I am an alien I do blend in with the majority of people in Germany (even when wearing Lyrca),… Continue Reading

  • Weekend Warrior, Bread and Butter Hunter

    There is, of course, something great about adventurers who strike out, often to the ends of the earth for long periods of time. Heroic as such adventures are, they should not put the day to day journeys on the ‘home front’ in the shade. In my years of living in London I have taken many… Continue Reading

  • Metal Guru

    An August cycle tour that took in the home of Gustav Holst and the place of death of Glam Rock star Marc Bolan in Barnes, south London. In the 1970’s I started to get to grips with life when I took small and big steps to understand what was naff or good taste. I had… Continue Reading

  • Co-operatives and Brixton Cycles, London

    When I first came to London there were two cycle co-operatives trading, one was Mosquito Bikes and the other Brixton Cycles, whilst Mosquito forsake being a co-op in favour of a partnership many years ago and is now part of the Velorution chain, Brixton Cycles remains. Despite being in the south of London Brixton Cycles… Continue Reading

  • My Mum’s Wardrobe

    The story of my mum’s wardrobe by Andrea Hofling The stylish 50’s My mum, Ilse, was young (and pretty) in 1950s Germany and she owned some extremely nice and stylish dresses which she wore when ballroom dancing with my dad in their adopted home town of Göttingen.  Or when they attended the cinema together watching… Continue Reading

  • A good mental road

    I trained not to win races, although that would have been nice, but rather to be strong enough to ride and compete whilst having a ‘normal life’. And when I say ‘normal’ I mean being able to go out racing or riding without having to spend the rest of the time with my head slumped… Continue Reading

  • Epping Forest – Common Land

    Epping Forest is a Mecca for London cyclists and an area where access to the ‘people’s forest’ is seen as a birth-right. Well, it is now, but only after a fight. At the end of the 19th Century Epping Forest like other common lands, forests or heaths was in danger of being swallowed by London’s… Continue Reading

  • South London Murals

    Murals have a long history of presenting a narrative, a sentiment, a joke or simply a nice artwork. They are the embodiment of art in a public space. Thomas Hart Benton and Diego Rivera reflected the narratives of US and Mexican history respectively along with many others by creating epic art works that few people… Continue Reading

  • Art in Community Spaces – Vauxhall, London

    Post World War Two the London County Council commissioned Peter Laszlo Peri to create art as part of a desire to enrich the public realm; “as emblems of civic renewal and social progress” (Heritage Calling). Three of Peri’s works are within a short walk of my home in Vauxhall, London. Peri was a Hungarian born… Continue Reading

  • London 2018

    London has many lost rivers, all now almost unseen except for a few glimpses through drains, culverts or pipes. In Vauxhall the Effra is no longer the partly navigable river it once was and now is buried deep underground covered by roads and buildings. An outlet pipe into the River Thames is our only visible… Continue Reading

  • John Parr WW1 Cyclist

    A Sunday trip to visit a friend in Finchley, London saw me walk from Woodside Park Tube Station and along Lodge Lane. Although I nearly missed it, I spotted a plaque placed on the pavement in front of a modest house flagging up that the first British soldier to die in World War One spent… Continue Reading

  • Mud larking on the Thames

    Along the River Thames In London there are the obvious signs of its industrial and global shipping past. Redundant machinery, abandoned wharfes and slipways point to this industrial and commercial history, but if you look hard enough at the foreshore you can find more personal items associated with the people who lived or worked on… Continue Reading

  • Cable Street London 1936

    In October 1936 Sir Oswald Mosley attempted to lead the British Union of Fascists (BUF) along Cable Street into a London East End community and take control of the streets and enflame not only the local community, but also the country against Jewish people. Oswald was following a tactic that had worked in Germany and… Continue Reading

  • I found a velodrome, but didn’t, but I did….

    London is full of seemingly forgotten stories that can come alive if you have an enquiring mind and if you look beyond the obvious. Whilst I was hunting for a lost Victorian velodrome in east London I came across a rather nice mural painted close to where the velodromes northern banking would have been. Looking… Continue Reading

  • Earlsfield Cemetery – let’s create the NHS

    My post about the Gottingen Stadtfriedhof in central Germany and the sense of abandonment I felt whilst there, got me thinking. It made me think closer to home and so now I stand in Earlsfield Cemetery in Wandsworth, south London. At the dawn of the 20th Century European nations were tied together by many separate treaties, which… Continue Reading

  • Gottingen StadtFriedhof – abandonment

    Separation, abandonment or ‘left behind’ are words that will scare most of us. These thoughts came into my head as I stood in a Stadtfriedhof in deepest central Germany. Before me stood two grave stones and a third not in sight but close by of three soldiers of the ‘Great War’. What sparked a reaction… Continue Reading