Category Archives: Biking


The lure of landscapes

Just six days until Louisa and I board a plane to Los Angeles and then to Phoenix, Arizona. I am attending a conference in Phoenix before Louisa and I grab a hire car and road trip to Sedona, Arizona; the South Rim of the Grand Canyon; Laughlin, Nevada; and finally to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Just as Ollie and I took a mother-and-son trip to England, Denmark and the Netherlands in 2013 when he was 8-years-old, Louisa and I are doing a mother-and-daughter trip now she is 8.

We are planning to hire an electric bike in Phoenix for a sunset tour of the skyline and go horseback riding at the Canyon Creek Dude Ranch. Later we’ll be staying in a little Nevada casino town on the Colorado River. And then we have three days at Disneyland.

But I am most looking forward to driving out from Phoenix, the “Valley of the Sun”, to the majestic landscapes of:



Sedona, Arizona

and the Grand Canyon.


South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona

I love a big landscape, whether majestic Mackenzie Country on the South Island of New Zealand, which I visited two years ago today;

Mackenzie Country

Mackenzie Country, Canterbury, New Zealand

or the rolling dunes of the Southern (green) Kalahari Desert in north west South Africa, which we visited 3 years ago;


Tswalu, Southern Kalahari, South Africa

or the dramatic escarpments and valleys of the western Blue Mountains, which we visited in January this year.

blue mountains

Wolgan Valley, Blue Mountains, Australia

I love a big landscape! I love thinking about how they came into being; what ancient forces carved and shaped them; what they were like before we — humans — came; and what they will be like when we are gone. I love learning about the wildlife, the legends, and histories of the earliest inhabitants and later settlers of these landscapes.


1832 Settlers’ Homestead in Wolgan Valley dwarfed by the surrounding escarpments

Louisa and I will share our photos and the things we learn as we travel. Please stay tuned!

thelma and louise

A road trip but with a much happier ending! Disneyland!


“On the rim of the world I am dancing!”

The Huchiun Tribe of Native American Ohlones first settled along the shores of Richmond and the East Bay, across the water from present day San Francisco, 4000 years ago.

One Ohlone song translates in English as:

“See! I am dancing!

On the rim of the world I am dancing!”


It certainly feels as if Rochelle and I have been riding our bikes on the (glorious) rim of the world! On Sunday afternoon, after the conference finished, we rode North West from the Berkeley Marina, hugging the coast along the Marina Bay Trail (part of the San Francisco Bay Trail). We cycled past Point Isabel to the Richmond Marina and on to Ford Point.

We passed marshlands.


We stopped for lunch at Richmond Marina.


We then rode around Richmond's industrial waterfront. In the early years of the 20th century, the Santa Fe Railroad made its way to Richmond. Richmond's first port was built in 1915 (Terminal #1), with two new port terminals added in the late 1920s. By 1930, Richmond Port was home also to the Filice and Perrelli Cannery and the Ford Assembly Plant. In the 1940s, Henry J Kaiser built four giant shipyards. The Marina, completed in 1981, stands on the site of the former Kaiser Shipyard #2.


The Richmond Ford Motor Co Assembly Plant was the largest assembly plant on the West Coast. During World War II it rolled out combat vehicles rather than motor cars. In recent times, the beautiful building, designed by Albert Kahn in a distinctive 20th century industrial style, fell into disrepair and was scheduled for demolition. But it has been rescued and renovated.


The Bay Trail is beautiful, although it seemed strangely deserted. A local man, a Native American who grew up in the East Bay, rode with us for a time and told stories of playing as a boy in the coastal salt marshes that the Trail now passes through. Near the Marina, we stopped to buy and drink home made lemonade at a lemonade stand set up by some local children: 50 cents for a cup, 75 cents for two cups. I paid $5 for 4 cups and waited for change, but they were quite little kids and perhaps had not yet learned in their math class about subtraction and making change. But $5 seemed a small price to pay to pump prime the American (children's) economy during a week of budget crisis and government shutdown!

My daughter Louisa and her Balloon Stand


You can find out more about riding the 500 miles of planned bike paths around San Francisco and the East Bay here: