Alfonso Ochoa Vega
The Hungry Cyclist Lodge Burgundy
Oh it’s been a while since I last wrote here and it’s been a while since I’ve been out training properly on a bike, it’s been quite a weird month really. Health has not been on top form since I got that flew which is been around the Balears since early this year.
I'm out on the bike already enjoying the espectacle of the almond trees blossoming in Mallorca, but out of action and with a constant headache for the past few weeks, there was a lot of time to wander and also catching up with some old friends from my cycling holidays around France and the UK a few years ago. So today's blog post is not about cycling holidays in Majorca, but about one of the joys of going on cycling trips on your own, and that’s the crazy and awesome people you meet around.
Back in 2010 I went for my first cycling tour from Genoa in Italy and my idea was to get to Barcelona, to the Pyrenees, then Paris, visit friends in Brussels and then go over the Stelvio back to work on the boat in Genoa.
Being April, the Stelvio had to be skipped, not literally, and being Fonzie and trying to give it a sense to the whole thing I called it Le Tour de Fonz , opened a fundraising page to raise funds for a charity building up school for homeless kids in Urban areas in Venezuela, and wrote a blog about the whole thing. Check it out here.
The experience was so overwhelming and exciting that I went straight looking for new projects. I bought a cycling magazine and read about this trip from John O’Groats to Land’s End (North East Scotland to South Western tip of England) in September that year being organized by James Bowthorpe who had recently broken the round the world record on a bike. So I signed in, packed my usual travelling gear in my DIY-built carbon case and took the train up to Inverness where we would meet with the rest of the group. The project’s idea of being related to the local communities and local produces, brought along this chatty and always positive chap called Tom who was in charge of the food, and since I’d been working as a cook onboard a private sailing yacht in Italy for the previous year, I got a little worried with the idea of an English young man cooking pasta, so I went and check. Turned out we were in good hands, in way better hands that we could’ve hoped for. The chap in question's name was Tom Kevill-Davies, but more famously knows as The Hungry Cyclist.
Starting in 2005 and for 2 and a half years, inspired by his love of travelling and experiencing new horizons on the bike, and his love of good food, Tom pedaled his way from New York to Oregon and down to Rio de Janeiro enjoying the landscape, the people and the local gastronomy of all the places he visited. He wrote his first book about this trip The Hungry Cyclist – Pedaling the Americas for the Perfect Meal, and as he explains on his website“It was while on this trip that ideas begin to turn in my head about one day setting up a calming retreat in a delicious corner of the world where friends, family and guests could also enjoy the perfect marriage of cycling and good food.”
Tom and I had an immediate good connection and since then we’ve taken our own paths to share the joys cycling touring with other people and making a work of it, but most importantly a lifestyle.
While at home these past few weeks, I had the chance to catch up with him and he’s very excitingly on the last stages of refurbishing and 17th Century watermill to provide stylish accommodation and superb cooking for cyclist and active travellers going to Burgundy to explore and enjoy the region’s culinary delights and fine wines. The name, The Hungry Cyclist Lodge obviously.
Hope all the best for your new venture Tom and specially hope we get to catch up in the near future, and maybe you can come for a cycling holiday in Mallorca soon, and plan some exciting new projects combining great cycling, food, wines and laughs in Mallorca and Burgundy.