CycleBlaze Stalker - CycleBlaze

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CycleBlaze Stalker

Carolyn van Hoeve

For awhile I’ve been meaning to put it out there to you dedicated journalists as to how you feel about the likes of people like me who follow you but don’t contribute with a journal. I feel slightly guilty about this and often times feel like a stalker, voraciously reading your adventures and stories, even getting to know you somewhat, but meanwhile remaining largely anonymous.

I first happened upon one of Scott & Rachael’s video’s in 2019 while researching a cycling route to take in Puglia. Since then I have been an avid follower, rarely missing an entry. I laugh when I read the many references to TA and have decided they seem to be the Trailblazers of CycleBlaze and such an inspiration to many. Meanwhile I have discovered a lot of the other fantastic journals and currently looking forward to Unchained Melody and the superb writing of Andrea & Bruce. Being able to live vicariously through all your adventures whilst waiting impatiently for our next tour is such an enjoyment. I laugh, I cry, feel awe, huge admiration, and worry about you when things are amiss (Scott). Having the journals to read is always salve to the aftermath of post tour blues and inspiration as to where to head to next. After our first tour in 2019 this cycle touring lark has become somewhat of an obsession for me. We’ve only been on three tours of a month duration, which really hasn’t felt like long enough. I do wonder if you ever lose the massive rush of excitement setting out each day. Does it wear off after 6 months on the road? It would seem to me it doesn’t, given most of you go back year after year and seem equally obsessed.  

So a massive thank you for all the effort you go to to record these journals, your willingness to share them, the joy they give and the invaluable information they contain. I know what an effort it must take. I was determined on our last tour to at least keep a personal diary but failed on that front as well. I don’t know how you manage to fit it in.Happy pedalling and I look forward to reading about your adventures.

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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Carolyn, I would never hold it against someone for not committing to the time it takes to maintain and publish a journal, any more than a real writer would resent their readers for not publishing their own works.  It does take a bite of out of the day alright, even if one had the inclination in the first place.  It isn’t always easy to fit in, and it’s easy to break discipline and get behind so far that you can’t catch up again because you’ve lost the thread and don’t remember where you’ve been for the last several days.

For myself, I put in the time because I actively enjoy it and get so much back from it - I enjoy the experience itself, but I especially value the memories it preserves for us.  I’m really grateful for having a platform which facilitates it, and especially for readers such as yourself that drop a line every now and then to let me know you’re out there.  For years I kept written journals of our earlier tours, but many of them died out partway through because I got behind and no one else was going to read it anyway.  When I look back at many of those tours now, they all have that hazy period toward the end where I’ve only retained a few random memories.

Going public changed all that.  Knowing that a few folks were following along was just enough of a nudge to help me stick with the commitment.  Thanks so much for following, and for exposing yourself by speaking up.

As far as the ‘massive rush of excitement’ goes, you’re right.  It isn’t quite the same as when we only had a month or so each year.  As Rachael often reminds me, it isn’t a vacation any more, it’s our life; but it sure feels like a richer one than we ever imagined for ourselves.  None of our days ever feels like just another day at the office.

Thanks so much for following!  And do keep in touch and update me on your own travels and plans.  I’ve always enjoyed hearing from you and wonder how your latest tour is going for you.  We should try to meet up sometime!  

Cheers, Scott

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2 months ago
Andrea BrownTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Wow, Carolyn, what a lovely thing to say!

I imagine most of the people you read here spent a long time reading bike journals and gaining knowledge and inspiration before starting their first trip (and journal!). So you’re in good company. 

We really do love the engagement opportunities on CycleBlaze and hearing from readers. It feels like a warm family, cheering us on. 

Thank you for being here with us. We hope to read your journal someday. 

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2 months ago
Peter BrownTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Carolyn, Thank you for taking the time to read the journals. My motivation for writing  my stories is to possibly help someone who is planning something similar and a personal record of what I experienced. Being married to an editor, helps make my scribbles readable. There certainly is a little ego boost when your writing  and photos have gotten a couple of hundred hits. The format on this site is wonderful as is much of the writing. My trips are shorter well worn paths, but I think I speak for many when I say, thank you,  because what's a writer without a reader?

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2 months ago
Benjamin MeyersonTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Hi Carolyn:  

Nice post and a great summary- I have had similar feelings as I have done dozens of Tours over the years but haven’t ever posted a journal.

Hitting “save ride” and uploading a few pics on Strava  is about as much motivation as I seem to be able to muster after a day on the bike.

Have had great help from journalists on this site and many others over the years and am eternally grateful to those that post.

I do try to return the favor when I can by helping with routing and tech questions when I have something to contribute.

Might be quibbling but I prefer to refer to myself as a “Lurker” as I lurk in the background and soak up info hopefully fairly harmlessly as opposed  to “Stalker” which has far more foreboding connotations.

Cheers!

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2 months ago
Graham SmithTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Carolyn I’d say you are a reader, definitely not a stalker. And good on you for taking an active interest in cycle tour journals. That’s a commendable thing.

I’ll add that I did have a problem with a real stalker and my journals on another cycle touring site. They were reading my journals, noting certain details and then misusing the information for mischievous purposes.  

When this came to my attention, I had to threaten legal action and the problem stopped. This was years ago. The problem never reoccurred. 

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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Hi Carolyn,   Thank you so much for the nice things you said about Andrea's and my writing.  That means a lot to us.  

From reading your post on the Forum I'd say you are an excellent writer and I strongly encourage you to embark on a journal someday.  They do absolutely take a lot of time but you know what?, it slows us down and quite possibly we absorb even more and get more from our adventure on bikes than if we weren't keeping journals.  You must come up with something from day to day and that makes me look deeper, analyze cultures more closely and carefully and take better photos!  But a journal is a lot of work for sure, I won't sugar coat that.  I bitterly fought it for a long time but now I love keeping the journals.  And you have them forever.

Thank you for posting this on the Forum.  It is a unique post and again, makes me think that you have a most interesting journal within you waiting to come out.

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2 months ago
George HallTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Carolyn,

Thanks for saying "thanks" - it does take some effort to write a journal, and it's very nice of you to recognize that. Your post makes it obvious that you have the writing skills to publish your own journals should you wish to do so.  I only "discovered" journaling when I undertook my 1st self-supported long tour in 2015 at age 62; I met others who were writing journals and spent my 1st rest day learning how to do it.  I've found that the journals capture my memories and allow me to go back and relive the experience years later. So I suppose I'm being a bit selfish by taking the time to write a journal; while my family and friends follow along and enjoy keeping up with my adventures, they only do so during the time of the tour while I get to revisit the journey many times over the years that follow. 

I've learned some things that make the journaling process much easier for me. I try to journal in real-time so folks following along can experience it with me. While I'm planning a tour I begin to write the journal. CycleBlaze makes it easy to do so; you can set up a skeleton outline of a journal and not make it visible to the public until you are ready. So I write some introductory sections, then create an entry for each day of the planned tour, and then when the tour happens I add some photos and the narrative for that day and check the box to make that day visible. Prior to the tour I use Ride With GPS to create a map and profile for that day's planned ride, and I already have those imported to the entry for that day.  Of course, things don't always go as planned, but it's easy to add or delete entries and/or modify things in a Cycleblaze journal.  Sometimes during the day I use voice-to-text capabilities to dictate notes directly into that day's Cycleblaze entry - I typically do that during a rest stop and then I can edit it that night before making it public.  

The point of all this is that there are things you can do to make the journaling process more efficient.  Still, it DOES take some effort to write a journal, but I've found it's very rewarding. Honestly, now that I discovered it, I can't imagine not writing a journal.  Maybe give it a go on your next tour?  Best of luck,

Buddy Hall, Septuagenarian Cyclist and Amateur Journalist/Prognosticator

 



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2 months ago
Paul MulveyTo Carolyn van Hoeve

Stalk away! I post so that others can read about the adventure and hopefully ride the route one day. I also would go back and read them during non-touring season (winter) to remind myself what a good time it was. I've mostly switched over to video diaries of the trips on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/@adventureswithpaul)but still come back here because there are some really entertaining writers on this site. The amount of adventure is strong with the people here!

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2 months ago
Carolyn van HoeveTo Scott Anderson

Scott, definitely hope to be able to meet up with you both one day!“The Andersons” are one of our regular topics of conversation and we’re incredibly grateful to you for the three very successful tours we’ve had, based mostly on your routes and information.Looking forward to the upcoming journal!

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2 months ago