Shot for the Day (08 June 2017)

Stormy weather ahead.

The last vestiges of light were visible in the opalescent sky. Shortly after this shot was taken, the heavens opened and the rain did not stop for the next two days.

Believe it or not, this was taken on a very popular beach in Devon, just at a very unpopular time (i.e. moments before a torrential rain storm). Definitely worth it!

Shot for the Day (09 September 2016)

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A shot from the archives.  This one was taken in Iceland when I cycle around the island.  I had made my way around the peninsula and had to back track through the mountains.  Ahead of me, the clouds loomed ominously above the range I had to cycle through.  Needless to say, I was soaked in the mother of all storms.

Just over a week later, I was on the other side of the island.  The omnipresent clouds parted momentarily as I passed an abandoned house.  Soon afterwards, the rain fell and the clouds closed in.  If you can overlook the bad weather (these were taken in the height of the Icelandic summer) and the relentless winds, cycling around this rock in the middle of the Atlantic was a fantastic expedition.

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Shot for the Day (11 August 2016)

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A few years ago, I was in the US to shoot a TV commercial for VW.  I took a couple of days out after 5 days of filming and wondered over to Death Valley.  I was incredibly lucky to be there as the weather turn from bone dry to stormy.  This is a short while before the heavens open and flooded many of the roads in the National Park.

Shot for the Day (02 January 2016)

Pilau Ubin rain

Yesterday, we took a family outing to an island off the north eastern coast of Singapore called Pilau Ubin.  It feels more akin to neighbouring Malaysia than the ultra-modern Singapore and as such, has a certain charm that is lost in this country’s modernity.

Unfortunately for us, being in the midst of the rainy season, the heavens opened as we were en route to the island from Changi.  The shot above was from the pier we were deposited on at Pilau Ubin.  Our boat was reversing out into the emerald green bay as the rain lashed the landscape.

Pilau Ubin after the storm

After a very wet cycle ride around the island, we caught a boat back to the mainland in the early evening  The rain had finally stopped and we were afforded a dramatic view of Pilau Ubin to the north, as the heavy rain clouds circled the seascape, in preparation for another storm.

All shots were taken on my Nokia 1020, which did a pretty decent job.  However, I will definitely return on a less inclement day and take my camera kit as the views on the island are very contrasting to mainland Singapore.

Shot for the Day (9 November 2014)

Riding the storm out

I miss the big country.  The violence of the weather, the sheer size of the landscape. Most of all, I miss nature.  Singapore is so many things but alas, not natural.  Everything here is outlandish, larger than life.  Perhaps the weather in this image I took in California a couple of years ago is also as prodigious in its own way as Singapore is.

Two hours after I took this image, the rain had washed the road out leaving all timorous motorists stranded.  However, I was in the world’s best off road car; a rental Ford Mustang convertible, which ploughed through the rushing waters.  Although it leaking into the footwells as the water level rose above the base door height, the car made it.  I can still recall the sight of several scared drivers disappearing behind me in my rear view mirror, all huddled motionless in their pick up trucks.

Shot for the Day (28 August 2013)

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Sometimes, squaring off against the elements for the shot can be worth the wait.

I sat on Exmouth beach as a storm front rolled in over the English Channel.  The orange afternoon hues were soon extinguished by the choking, omnipresent clouds.  Day was transformed to night as the wind suddenly picked up.  Moments later, the heavens opened and I realised how exposed I was, sat alone on the stretch of sand.

A perfect afternoon as I recall.

Day 14: Kirkjubaejarklaustur to Hvolsvollur

Today is the first day that I feel tired after a ride. Had a prevailing wind so made the most of it!

Starting off from Kirkjubaejarklaustur. The pizza was rough and was only edible because I was  hungry. Unfortunately I didn’t really get any sleep last night. A couple of hardcore Russian bike nuts rocked up at midnight and decided to shout at each other all night. I always camp near a bench so that I can tie my bike up and camp close by but unfortunately the bikers decided to sit on said bench and chat loudly all night before crashing out and snoring their heads off. Not fun, they revved off at about 5am and I dozed until 7. Went to local supermarket, had a decent breakfast with lovely patisserie. Cloud was grey so thought I had better get going before the rain comes. Today I had planned to go through Vik and stop there for lunch and then stay in Skogar. So I started off cycling through a lava field, the road appears to  cut through where the lava had stopped but so it ends up looking like the moon but with moss on it.

The day was pretty flat with a very decent wind, I was cruising at 14/15 mph. Only 70 km to lunch so was rocketing along. But then it started raining, heavy, light, heavy. I was soaked to the skin knowing that I would be soaked for the rest of the day. I am literally getting webbed feet as my  feet are wet all day and every day.

Started on my way, passed on old guy on a Recumbent cycle which is a kind of  half seated, half laying down bike. Rode along with its rider, a Danish guy and chatted about his time in the armed forces. Then I got going faster again and was passing other cyclists going straight into the wind knowing exactly what they were going through. Rocked up at Vik at about 1PM so it had taken 3 hours to do 70km/45miles. I would normally expect 12mph so very fast and felt like I was really whipping along. Unfortunately the wet had made me feel  cold, very cold so I needed hot food. Ordered big hot meal and cups of tea. I decided to have a nice leisurely lunch and take my time but it began to rain really hard. Just as I started leaving the guy on the Recumbent  turned up and said that it was a bad day to have a leather saddle. I had learned that it was a bad choice for Iceland as the wet makes it all misshapen and it never dries out fully.

On my way out of Vik I needed to go out on a hill into small mountain range. It was  a 10% ascent, cars struggling, so I cranked it down to 1st gear but on the way down it was a different story and I hit my PB 42 mph (!) One and a half hours later, I rocked up at Skogar, the lady there said that there was a severe weather warning for tonight so all of the rooms were full. She told me where there were other places 3 – 6kms down the road. So I cycled 3kms more but it was full, 6kms full, 20kms full. In the end I thought “stuff it, I am going to head down to the next town” which is Hvolsvollur.

My average speed today was 14mph so I was very tired and decided to treat myself to a hotel.  A local recommended a hotel but it was £110 room so that was too much of a treat for a lone cyclist! I have now found a small place with a tiny room in a lovely B and B . They too were full but kindly cleaned out a storage room for me! It is full of Israelis on a birthday trip and I can hear them singing and celebrating downstairs which is nice. I have just had my shower and am now  going to walk about half a km back to the centre to get some food. I therefore need to put my  dry feet back  into wet shoes. The good news is that there are now only 100km to Reykjavik so it looks like I am going to finish a day early and spend time with Dave doing touristy stuff on Thursday!

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

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Kids First Trust

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Day 13: Litlahof to Kirkjubaejarklaustur

Julien is currently waiting for a pizza to arrive.

Woke up and had a chat with Dave. He decided that he couldn’t ride anymore. So left him behind in Hofn. Jumped on bike. Perfect conditions. Arrow straight road, glacier on the right hand side. Even saw the sun and although it was  intermittent, it was a welcome change. Julien got excited by the conditions and caned it as he was so excited to see the sun. Not many kilometres left to cover but still a few days left to cover them in so am limited myself each day.

Cycled on for about 65 km and found a  very random hotel in the middle of nowhere. Situated on a flat plateau and is a building that looks like containers from a big ship with windows at each end. Looks bizarre and crazy but is surprisingly smart inside.  I wandered in and they looked me up and down. I asked them if they had any lunch but I was too late.  Too late for lunch and  too early for dinner but they did have their special so I was treated to bowls and bowls of lamb soup with a great waitress running back and forth refilling my bowl.

Headed to Kirkjubaejarklaustur and outside of the town I could see a rain cloud coming like curtains ahead of me. I thought I might get away with it but no, cycled 8kms in the pissing rain. Found service station, ran in absolutely soaked. Ordered a cup of tea. I met two German guys going around the island in a 4×4 so spoke with them for 1 hrs 30. Went to Tourist info to find out where I could camp. In the tourist office there was a great guy who was half Scottish and half Icelandic who recommended a campsite and a great restaurant where I have now ordered pizza. It’s arrival is imminent!

I have two days left  and now I am solo am cycling about 17/18 miles per hour and getting excited about meeting up with Dave in Reykjavik and celebrating the end of the tour 🙂

Please support Kids First Trust by sponsoring Julien on his Just Giving Page

Events Team
Kids First Trust

020 7841 8955
events@kidsfirsttrust.org