…begins, in my case, in September 2008, with a ride to the Mediterranean from my ex-home in Montpellier.
Yes, after 11.5 years I’ve finally hit the Big 1000, a feat I never could have imagined way back then. But before I get too uppity, this is really child’s play when compared to serious bloggers like Tootlepedal, who is thousands ahead and has a consistency that is beyond admirable.
But outside Covid Times, I just don’t have a blog a day in me, so I’ll take this 1000 and I’ll even stop to pause and consider what this journey has meant to me…briefly, I need to get on the trainer.
When I started this blog (then named “Mr. Patterson Goes to Languedoc”) I was a very different kind of bike rider and my purpose – if you can call it that – was simply to record the rides I did all over Languedoc; the name we used to give the region of Occitanie in olden times. I was riding to explore and for fun, as well as a little exercise. From these types of “travelogue” articles I made a few friends, possibly including Tootlepedal and a few other lovers of the bike and of France. My tiny new world in Europe was cracking open.
Back then I used to ride with my wife, too, and we even managed to do some big trips together, loaded down with a BOB trailer, tent and camp stove. I quickly discovered how civilized Europe was, however, and gave up the camping on this great trip we did from Nice to Prague in 2010.
In 2010 I learned about the Etape du Tour, perhaps from Karsten, and we decided that it might be a good idea to ride the 2011 version. This is one of those ‘turning points’ you hit in life, which for me meant finding the big ring on my crank set and learning new acronyms like AT, FTP and WTF! (this last one comes out after every Etape I’ve done). It also definitely put me on the path to eventually running tours, which is coming soon!
Somewhere along the line I must have been contacted by someone who seemed interested in seeing Languedoc with a guide because I added this ‘service’ to my blog at one point. I don’t think I had much idea of what I was doing, but in the summer of 2011 my first ever cycling clients, Steve and Anne from New York, never let on that they minded very much.
That same year I was contacted by a couple of small magazines to write some content or answer some questions about ‘middle aged cycling’. I also got sent on a couple of junkets through friend Lyn at Freewheeling France. One was to the north of France / Flanders and the other a 3-day solo trip up the Trans Ardennes Bike Path, paid for by the Office of Tourism up there. Clearly I was hitting the big time.
Or maybe not. My junkets began and ended that year.
A year later I discovered something called Haute Route – essentially a week’s worth of Etapes every day for 7 days. The next year I met my step-brother Rob for the very first time and took things to a new level by planning to ride Haute Route Alps 2013, on my now-new Bianchi Infinito (the blog article introducing it brought me several new friends and blog readers). That year was one of the best of my life and I really set myself on a fast-track to learning how to train properly, lose weight (nearly 30 lbs by the time I started the race) and push my limits. It also gave me street cred for my infant tour company (called “Cycling Languedoc” at that time).
It was also the beginning of a long relationship with Haute Route. I’ve ridden 6 of them now and we are an official tour operator of a couple of their events.
Till now the blog was mainly about me, me, me, but my cycling career started to take another turn in 2014 after partnering up with riding buddy John and starting 44|5 Cycling Tours. Now I was riding all over Europe, but sometimes with clients ahead of me on the road. We began small, very small, and just let the company grow (or not, depending on the year) organically. Luckily it did grow and we’re still at it, or waiting to be still at it once Covid goes away.
As I wrote this article more and more ‘key moments’ popped up and I realize there are literally hundreds of people I could name as coming into my life directly/indirectly from this blog. Basically my whole cycling world (aka my whole world) right now started here. All the many clients I now call friends, our hotel and restaurant partners that we see year after year, and even the mortgage that is being paid – slowly – has the blog at least in part to thank. A guy could get emotional about it if he let it (sniff).
Do I have another 1000 in me? Perhaps unluckily for you, if there’s one thing I can do well, it’s produce large amounts of drivel. I think I’ve got it in me!
20 thoughts on “A Journey of a Thousand Blog Articles…”
Well done! It’s been lovely to have been along for the ride!
I think we started this trip around the same time. Amazing we are both still around!
All fingers and toes firmly crossed!
Congratulations and here’s looking forward to the next 1000. I always say you never know where cycling will take you and Gerry, you’ve proved my point.
Wise words, Sheree!
Congrats. As a fellow Canadian living in Europe I came upon your blog a few years back when trying to find information regarding riding Strade Bianche. I really enjoyed your reviews of the event and finally got the chance to ride it last year (I had dust & blue sky and not the vicious conditions you faced). I have enjoyed your blog ever since! Keep up the good work and hoping you renewed success with 44/5 as we slowly come out of Covid-19
Thanks, Bill! I did make up for that first Strade Bianche with some better weather the next year. Needed it. I think I’ll do that one again one day. It’s just such a great ride.
Congrats Gerry. I started reading your blog sometime in January or February 2013 as I prepared for HR that year. Wow!! Has it been that long? I’ve enjoyed every word you’ve written. Keep it up.
Thanks, Luc! I did a quick search and found your first comment on the blog in Jan 2013, like you said. You’ve done 190 since. Well done!
I do regret not talking more (didn’t we just say hi) during Haute Route. We’ll have to rectify that someday, keeping our social distance of course.
Well done Gerry! Coincidentally I was wearing our 2013 HR kit out on my ride yesterday. Great to ride with you then and delighted we can keep in touch. Enjoy the summer on your local roads
Julian, you remind me that Team Vicious Cycle was born through the blog, too! I still have my jersey, but my bibs have long disappeared. Probably should have taken better care of them as a historical artifact! Good seeing you again last year at Haute Route and hopefully we’ll do it again someday. Rob has just alluded to this on Facebook, but maybe there’ll be a return soon. Stay safe up there.
As a sampler of your professional work as well as a reader of your blog posts, may i say that both are excellent. I just wish that i was young (and brave) enough to do one of your more adventurous tours.
Thanks, TP. The feeling is mutual!
1,000 posts is a nice start. Let me add my voice to the chorus of others to say how very much we have been entertained by and benefited from your blog and your tour services. You’re one of a kind and I am certain you are nowhere close to be done with what you call drivel and the rest of us call fantastic prose. Chapeau!
Steve, very kind words and I know they are sincere because it’s too early over there for you to be drinking 😉 I’m just glad I stuck it out long enough to have had the great chance to meet you finally, plus to see the rebirth of your most excellent blog!
As I read this, I pictured tears streaming down your face. Halfway kidding, and what a monumental journey! I feel privileged to have been on most of the ride with you as I believe our interactions were prior to your Etape adventures. Also we almost rode together at HR once and you sort of rode on my behalf another time. It has been a pleasure being part of each other’s “lives” over this time — and wow, how it flies! — and I expect that to continue.
Keep it up and hopefully there’ll another 1,000. But as the meme goes, it’s all about the friends we made along the way.
Just like Steve above, it feels nice to have been around long enough to see you bring back SteepClimbs, especially after all that you’ve been through physically. I think the next 1000 will take a lot longer than this first one, unless of course coronavirus stays around. I’m very prolific when there’s nothing else to do!
Congratulations Gerry!! I bookmarked your blog back in the day…so on my computer, at least, it will always be “Mr. Patterson Goes to Languedoc”.
I’ll never forget finding your blog (because….France, not because of bicycles…sorrry) and telling Steve “you might want to talk to this guy”….the rest is now friendship history.
Here’s to another 1000 posts! And to 1000 more dinners, 1000 more drinks, and 1000 more rides for you and Steve. I will always be available to drive the broom wagon.
As I was writing this article I immediately thought of you and Stephen and how you ‘forced’ him to read my blog! So glad you did and I’m looking forward to at least the thousand more drinks and dinners. It’ll be something I can do even when I can’t ride anymore 😉