On Writing & Riding: Pennine Pedaling
I first “met” Georgie through the 2012 edition of the Coffeeneuring Challenge and quickly learned that she has a love for dirt roads, hilly terrain, and good views. And they all seem right off her doorstep.
1. If you were to write a tweet summarizing Pennine Pedaling, what would it say?
Pedaling around old mill towns & up hills into the clouds.
2. What prompted you to start your blog and why did you choose to write about bicycling?
The area where I live has some stunning scenery so I initially started the blog to share photos of the wonderful area. I hoped to inspire other people to take to the trails in the area by bicycle.
I also started it to try to spice up my commutes– to make me take different routes and to explore bits of my region I didn’t know about. I think most people find that when they start riding their bicycle again as an adult, they are bitten by a bug of enthusiasm.
Later, after joining my cycling club & meeting someone who loves cycling too, I started to have cycling-based holidays. I love sharing these and the blog also acts as a bit of a diary for myself to return to and enjoy looking at our past trips.
3. How did you come up with your blog’s name?
The area of England that I live in is part of the Pennines, which is known as the “backbone of England.” It is a hilly region that separates the west & east parts of the north of the country. Since most of my cycling is done in this area & I love hills, it seemed a fitting name.
4. Who are you writing for? Do you have a particular audience in mind?
I always enjoy reading blogs from around the world & seeing all the diverse countryside that people cycle through so I suppose I write for people like myself that love travel and learning about new places.
Sometimes my commutes get me a bit militant about the state of our horrible infrastructure & I occasionally have a rant, but generally I find blogs that concentrate on negative bits of cycling get a bit much. I try to keep it happy and more of a light travel guide.
5. What elements of bicycling do you enjoy writing about?
Mostly I enjoy writing about the journey– painting a picture of the ride of the day.
The best feeling is when a ride makes me really happy and my enthusiasm all gushes out as I tell Stephen about the ride. I suppose the blog is more of a toned down version of my account of my ride.
6. What role do photos play in your blogging?
The variety of landscape where I live makes for a lovely patchwork of pictures to illustrate the blog article.
And taking photos is a blooming good excuse for a breather when you’re pounding up hills and know your legs could just do with a nice 30-second break! There’s also many a wonderful photo opportunity I’ve chosen not to take because I’m freewheeling downhill!
I try to think what landscapes shots would be most interesting to people who live outside the Pennines. Often I find these are the dramatic cloudy skies that my region is famed for.
The old mill towns in this area grew from our damp climate that made it ideal to work with cotton here, so in a way those grey skies I post pictures of shaped everything in the landscape here here: rows of terraced houses that accommodated mill workers; mill chimneys (those that remain); and the canals & railway heritage that provided infrastructure to get cotton & cloth to & from the ports at Manchester’s ship canal & on to Liverpool.
6. What are your favorite parts of being a blogger?
Reading comments from readers is always lovely. Knowing that someone somewhere has enjoyed that one post.
It also is a wonderful community. Us cyclists can be a bit on the fringe of the usual world of work & everyday life. (How many people at your work place also cycle? Probably few.). Having the online gathering of us all is something I like being part of.
On my holiday to San Francisco in 2012, I met up with Meli who blogs from San Francisco at Bikes & the City. It was lovely to meet someone who you share some common ground with & learn about the different experiences within the cycling community in another part of the world.
My blog has also tuned me into local stuff I might not have otherwise known about and I have met some really wonderful people because of it.
7. Was there anything about maintaining a blog that surprised you?
It made me realise just how busy life is most of the time! Often I don’t get the chance to update the blog as often as I’d like. Because work wipes me out so much these days, I don’t post as much as I did before my work was restructured.
8. Do you have any favorite posts? What are they?
I suppose my favourite posts are the ones about the trips away I’ve enjoyed the most rather than posts about my everyday cycling where I live.
Some of the trips have felt pretty epic at the time, others have just had such a nice variety of scenery.
The best multi-day trip was in the Lakes.
The best tour (so far) was in the highlands of Scotland when we did the Great Glen Way.
My favourite brevet audax was in Wales & was one of the best weekends away despite a hospital visit.
And of course my favourite local route that I love to drag my club out on once a year: Riding in Memory of My Dad.
9. What did I forget to ask you that I should have?
I dont know. I think you have it covered, but maybe something about why nerdy cyclists love to be nerdy bloggers 😉
10. What tips do you have for someone interested in starting their own blog?
Do it! I’d love to see where you ride, no matter how pedestrian you think it might be. It keeps our community vibrant & allows you to put a little extra spice into the usual things you might do day to day.