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Bridget's Bike Blog

Mad about cycling mad about our furry friends mad about green living

Bridget Ringdahl

Imagen 071 (Small)

Pedaling has been natural to me since the tender age of three. Cycling is practical, fun, it gets you to the corner café, across countries, continents, keeps you fit and is by far the most efficient and environmentally friendly transport option around, being virtually carbon neutral.

I live in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal which is great cycling country, within 10 minutes I can be bouncing along some of the finest single tracks in the province.

I have 3 bikes. In truth I only need one. I have noticed how the whole industry has veered away from keeping bikes simple, strong, practical and affordable and has in fact taken the path of becoming another rampant form of consumerism and elitism, well certainly that is the case in South Africa. Its eye-opening to be at Mt bike race where the average price of a bicycle is around R17 000 –R20 000, and this is simply for pleasure, not purpose! I have dreams of South Africa’s transport system reverting to pedal power…

 

Vietnam my bike (Large) (Small)

Ruby: My first ‘real’ bike is a simple steel framed Ridgeback that I bought in the UK for my first long distance bike trip through India, SE Asia and Tibet. I have used it extensively as a mountain bike too. For the moment Ruby is in Johannesburg, where I use it for simply getting out and about Orange Grove when I visit.

 

DSCN3507 (Small)

The Grey Goose (from the North): My second bike, a steel framed Bear valley Marin was bought while I was studying in Sweden, for my South American bike trip. I bought this second bike due to my rather poor understanding of bikes and thought that my Ridgeback wouldn’t survive a continental ride with all the hammering I had given it while out mt-biking. The goose is my main touring bike, its smaller frame and geometry mean a slightly more comfortable ride than the Ridgeback. It has covered close on 27 000km in the past 5 years, a combination of my South American and Moroccan trips and simply cycling in my back yard.

 

My 3rd bike is a symptom of bike consumerism and the need to have a faster and ‘better’ bike, yes I succumbed (partially) to the pressure at the races. Last year (2008) I decided that as I loved cycling so much,  having a lighter frame, disc brakes, a pair of good front shocks would make my Mt-biking even more enjoyable. And it certainly does. Here is my Specialised Rockhopper (hardtail) which I am still to name.


Why I love riding: it’s a meditation and an immersion in nature and the immediate environment. Tasting the sweat on my face, feeling the wind on my back and the challenging my mind and body to get over the next horizon to discover what’s there is reason enough for me to keep loving the bicycle and what it has to offer.

When I am not riding I am working with the WESSA/WWF Eco-Schools Programme, which helps schools to improve environmental learning and management at a local level www.wessa.org.za This programme deserves it own website and blogspot

And what else….

Loving and walking homeless unwanted hounds at the SPCA, pottering about in the garden, reading, writing and taking action around local environmental sins!

Heading for the Himalayas
 

Comments 24

Guest - sue bellinger on Friday, 31 July 2009 19:46

hi B - so looking forward to seeing your first post ex-Himalayas. Wishing you and Carlos fun and safety. Take care. Love S

hi B - so looking forward to seeing your first post ex-Himalayas. Wishing you and Carlos fun and safety. Take care. Love S
Guest - Varun on Friday, 02 October 2009 20:23

Hi Bridget,

just had a visit to ur blog... and even being an Indian .... i never knew that India was sooo beautiful.. and i gues i would love to be a part of ur team .. next time when u visit Himalayas..
Rest Keep Up the Good work..
Cheers
Varun

Hi Bridget, just had a visit to ur blog... and even being an Indian .... i never knew that India was sooo beautiful.. and i gues i would love to be a part of ur team .. next time when u visit Himalayas.. Rest Keep Up the Good work.. Cheers Varun
Guest - Jill Persson on Sunday, 03 January 2010 15:10

What adventures and what a fabulous lifestyle you have developed for yourself. I have been taking tours to the Himalayas for 17 years and am still passionate about it. Your blog makes my heart sing!!

What adventures and what a fabulous lifestyle you have developed for yourself. I have been taking tours to the Himalayas for 17 years and am still passionate about it. Your blog makes my heart sing!!
Guest - bridgetsbikeblog on Tuesday, 05 January 2010 22:34

Hi Jill, glad you enjoyed the photo-journey, more so that you are someone who knows the area so well. I can understand how your passion has lasted 17 years - it hard not to be passionate about ladakh, I will simply have to go back - the sooner the better. Do you have a blog/website?
Best wishes bridget

Hi Jill, glad you enjoyed the photo-journey, more so that you are someone who knows the area so well. I can understand how your passion has lasted 17 years - it hard not to be passionate about ladakh, I will simply have to go back - the sooner the better. Do you have a blog/website? Best wishes bridget
Guest - Mike Finch on Monday, 11 January 2010 14:37

Hi Bridget,

Give us a call when you can. need to get hi res of the pix you sent from the Himalayas.

thanks
021 408 3831 or 083 267 7499

Hi Bridget, Give us a call when you can. need to get hi res of the pix you sent from the Himalayas. thanks 021 408 3831 or 083 267 7499
Guest - Steven on Thursday, 28 January 2010 14:15

Hi Bridget,

Great to read your stories, awesome achievement. I would really like to do a long bike trip but start off on something small first, I've been to some really nice places around the world through my mountaineering and after recently returning from Argentina and seeing your article in the latest Bicycling magazine, I really want to just get out there on the bike and explore, I live in Durban could we maybe meet up sometime and chat about how you found your journey's, and that first step into the unknown.

Any advice would be great.

Thanks and kind regards,
Steven

Hi Bridget, Great to read your stories, awesome achievement. I would really like to do a long bike trip but start off on something small first, I've been to some really nice places around the world through my mountaineering and after recently returning from Argentina and seeing your article in the latest Bicycling magazine, I really want to just get out there on the bike and explore, I live in Durban could we maybe meet up sometime and chat about how you found your journey's, and that first step into the unknown. Any advice would be great. Thanks and kind regards, Steven
Guest - Kirsten on Monday, 16 August 2010 18:45

Hi Bridget - sounds amazing! Your photos are inspiring.

Could you get in touch with me asap re the 2010 NOM? Need to know if you'll be there for the Tuesday night as well...thanks!

Kirsten

Hi Bridget - sounds amazing! Your photos are inspiring. Could you get in touch with me asap re the 2010 NOM? Need to know if you'll be there for the Tuesday night as well...thanks! Kirsten
Guest - Gordon Harvey on Friday, 17 September 2010 12:19

Hey there,

Awesome trips, startes making one get very itchy feet, and stop doing races on the bike and do some real biking :-)

Trust all is well

Cheers Gordon

Hey there, Awesome trips, startes making one get very itchy feet, and stop doing races on the bike and do some real biking :-) Trust all is well Cheers Gordon
Guest - bridgetsbikeblog on Sunday, 19 September 2010 18:02

Hey gordon - why not join us next year??!! You'd love it, its hard not too

Hey gordon - why not join us next year??!! You'd love it, its hard not too
Guest - Sangfroid on Saturday, 25 September 2010 14:06

Hey Bridget,

Read your article in the weekend supplement of Pretoria News. And it revived memories. I'd done the same trail in 2008 although on a motorbike.

By the way, cycling is something I've been considering for a while now. There have been substantial events to motivate me to do so but unfortunately haven't been able to start till date. I'm in SA for a while. Would be great to connect, maybe and start out here. This country is beautiful and I'm sure you'll be aware of all the trails here, inside out :)

Cheers!

Hey Bridget, Read your article in the weekend supplement of Pretoria News. And it revived memories. I'd done the same trail in 2008 although on a motorbike. By the way, cycling is something I've been considering for a while now. There have been substantial events to motivate me to do so but unfortunately haven't been able to start till date. I'm in SA for a while. Would be great to connect, maybe and start out here. This country is beautiful and I'm sure you'll be aware of all the trails here, inside out :) Cheers!
Guest - Jon Morgan on Friday, 15 April 2011 15:24

Hi Bridget,

Karen Kay from SaFm suggested that I contact you. I work for non profit fundraising platform called Challenge4aCause and we are hosting 2 multi day mountain bike rides in Namibia in July this year to raise funds for conservation. This year we are focusing on rhino anti poaching measures to help protect Africa's rhinos. One of the areas we cycle through is the Damaraland, home to the largest free ranging population of Black rhino. The other area is the restricted acess region of the Skeleton Coast.

We are looking for participants for the rides. I'm not sure if you would be keen to particpiate, it is a fundraiser and the cost is therefore fairly high which deters most people. I say the real challenge is in raising the funds.

We would also greatly appreciate it if you could help us spread the word about the Challenges to your friends and fans.

You are welcome to email me if you have any queries.

Warm regards,
Jon

Hi Bridget, Karen Kay from SaFm suggested that I contact you. I work for non profit fundraising platform called Challenge4aCause and we are hosting 2 multi day mountain bike rides in Namibia in July this year to raise funds for conservation. This year we are focusing on rhino anti poaching measures to help protect Africa's rhinos. One of the areas we cycle through is the Damaraland, home to the largest free ranging population of Black rhino. The other area is the restricted acess region of the Skeleton Coast. We are looking for participants for the rides. I'm not sure if you would be keen to particpiate, it is a fundraiser and the cost is therefore fairly high which deters most people. I say the real challenge is in raising the funds. We would also greatly appreciate it if you could help us spread the word about the Challenges to your friends and fans. You are welcome to email me if you have any queries. Warm regards, Jon
Guest - Bridget Ringdahl on Saturday, 14 May 2011 22:28

Hi Jon, I guess you found my email ;-) Apologies , only checked my blog today!

Hi Jon, I guess you found my email ;-) Apologies , only checked my blog today!
Guest - Dan Benn on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 23:59

Hi Construction! You have come a long way (literally and figuratively!) since I met you in Nepal well over a decade ago. You had just cycled through China and into Nepal via the (un)Friendly Highway I recall! Great to hear of your constant renewal of cycling passion! Would be great to catch up with you sometime! Currently living in New Zealand but back to the UK in March for a stretch...so if you can find an inflatable bike I see no issue why you can't pedal via the UK en route to, say, the Arctic on an Arctic cycling challenge... :-)

Dan

Hi Construction! You have come a long way (literally and figuratively!) since I met you in Nepal well over a decade ago. You had just cycled through China and into Nepal via the (un)Friendly Highway I recall! Great to hear of your constant renewal of cycling passion! Would be great to catch up with you sometime! Currently living in New Zealand but back to the UK in March for a stretch...so if you can find an inflatable bike I see no issue why you can't pedal via the UK en route to, say, the Arctic on an Arctic cycling challenge... :-) Dan
Guest - galdent on Sunday, 11 August 2013 13:33

Hi Bridget! we are travelling by bicycle in India, we just finished Manali-Leh and right now we were looking to go to Srinagar and maybe do a detour through the Zanskar valley in between... (*get to phugtal??). We have read your blog and thought that it will be great if we could contact you and if you could share some info about the road etc... Thank you in advance!!!!! :)))

Hi Bridget! we are travelling by bicycle in India, we just finished Manali-Leh and right now we were looking to go to Srinagar and maybe do a detour through the Zanskar valley in between... (*get to phugtal??). We have read your blog and thought that it will be great if we could contact you and if you could share some info about the road etc... Thank you in advance!!!!! :)))
Guest - Bridget Ringdahl on Monday, 12 August 2013 21:34

Well done! Zanskar is so utterly beautiful, so do go if you can The Zanskar-Darcha route is fabulous and very do-able and simply stunning. We had our tent which came in handy but I think you could easily stay with folk in the villages en route for most of the time. Certainly the day before the pass you need a tent - we camped just a 1km or so away from the ascent of the Shingo-la. You should also consider getting a 2 ponies (so they arent overloaded) to take your bags/bike (allow you to cycle the single track in between) from around Purni,or the village before rather as the trail becomes unride-able (however they may have progressed with the road, you could find out how far when you are in Padum) You would also need to them to help you get over the pass and down the other side.
We didnt have any precise map apart from one you get at the bookshops in Leh which has the towns/villages names on them.
As far as food was concerned, we didnt really have more than 2 days worth, you can always find a homestead/tiny shop to buy bits and bobs (although during the day isnt good as most villagers are out in the fields) Our route
Kargil - Panikar - 65km
Panikar - Parkatchik - 25km
Parkathik - near Tashidongze 50km
- Abran Jokam - 61km
Abran Jokam - Padum - 40km
Pandum - Zangla - 70km road ends around here
Padum - Itchar - 32km think about getting ponies around here
Itchar - Purni - 19km
Purni - Karjak - 24km (bike/hike)
Karjak - Langtang low base camp - 15km (hike/bike)
Langtnag - Zanskar Sumdo - 25 km (hike)
Zanskar - Sumdo Keylong - 50km

Would be curious to know how far the road has gone - do keep me posted and if you have more questions dont hesitate . (I will be in Leh around the 6 sept)
cheers for now

Well done! Zanskar is so utterly beautiful, so do go if you can The Zanskar-Darcha route is fabulous and very do-able and simply stunning. We had our tent which came in handy but I think you could easily stay with folk in the villages en route for most of the time. Certainly the day before the pass you need a tent - we camped just a 1km or so away from the ascent of the Shingo-la. You should also consider getting a 2 ponies (so they arent overloaded) to take your bags/bike (allow you to cycle the single track in between) from around Purni,or the village before rather as the trail becomes unride-able (however they may have progressed with the road, you could find out how far when you are in Padum) You would also need to them to help you get over the pass and down the other side. We didnt have any precise map apart from one you get at the bookshops in Leh which has the towns/villages names on them. As far as food was concerned, we didnt really have more than 2 days worth, you can always find a homestead/tiny shop to buy bits and bobs (although during the day isnt good as most villagers are out in the fields) Our route Kargil - Panikar - 65km Panikar - Parkatchik - 25km Parkathik - near Tashidongze 50km - Abran Jokam - 61km Abran Jokam - Padum - 40km Pandum - Zangla - 70km road ends around here Padum - Itchar - 32km think about getting ponies around here Itchar - Purni - 19km Purni - Karjak - 24km (bike/hike) Karjak - Langtang low base camp - 15km (hike/bike) Langtnag - Zanskar Sumdo - 25 km (hike) Zanskar - Sumdo Keylong - 50km Would be curious to know how far the road has gone - do keep me posted and if you have more questions dont hesitate . (I will be in Leh around the 6 sept) cheers for now
Guest - daniele cima on Tuesday, 19 November 2013 19:51

Well done, crazy Brigitta.
Tito is seventeen now....
Get in touch with us, sometimes!
Love,
Daniele Valbonne

Well done, crazy Brigitta. Tito is seventeen now.... Get in touch with us, sometimes! Love, Daniele Valbonne
Guest - induspride on Thursday, 13 February 2014 14:43

Need permission to use some of your pics. What's your mail ID?

Need permission to use some of your pics. What's your mail ID?
Guest - Bridget Ringdahl on Thursday, 20 February 2014 22:40

Hi bridgetringdahl@gmail.com

Hi bridgetringdahl@gmail.com
Guest - Akanksha on Friday, 28 February 2014 12:04

Hi Bridget!
Your blog is an inspiration. It really gives a sense of "can-do" when I am bogged down by enormity of consumerist and oil-dependent lifestyle.
My husband and I have left our jobs and are travelling across India while volunteering. Volunteering gives us a support and purpose to travel, while we cover the country, pick up skills that we never really learnt during our education. We hope we will cross paths sometime, especially when we start our volunteering stints in the Himalayas.
We blog at http://bohemiansnuffbumble.wordpress.com/
Have used one of your pics with credit at this article...http://bohemiansnuffbumble.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/is-there-a-thing-as-zero-footprint-tourism/
Would love your inputs.

Hi Bridget! Your blog is an inspiration. It really gives a sense of "can-do" when I am bogged down by enormity of consumerist and oil-dependent lifestyle. My husband and I have left our jobs and are travelling across India while volunteering. Volunteering gives us a support and purpose to travel, while we cover the country, pick up skills that we never really learnt during our education. We hope we will cross paths sometime, especially when we start our volunteering stints in the Himalayas. We blog at http://bohemiansnuffbumble.wordpress.com/ Have used one of your pics with credit at this article...http://bohemiansnuffbumble.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/is-there-a-thing-as-zero-footprint-tourism/ Would love your inputs.
Guest - Bridget Ringdahl on Thursday, 03 April 2014 22:24

Hi Akanksha! Sorry it has taken so long to reply... wow on my first quick look at your blog... it really looks fantastic, what beautiful pics and so nice to see that we all have an eye and interest in similar things. Will take more time to browse your pages in the next days..am delighted you will be heading to the himalayas, what an experience and wonderful that you will be taking your time while you are there. If you needs some info on a really wonderful home to stay at in Leh, drop me a mail. Any other questions fire away...
thanks for your enthusiasm!
Will be in touch!
Bridget

Hi Akanksha! Sorry it has taken so long to reply... wow on my first quick look at your blog... it really looks fantastic, what beautiful pics and so nice to see that we all have an eye and interest in similar things. Will take more time to browse your pages in the next days..am delighted you will be heading to the himalayas, what an experience and wonderful that you will be taking your time while you are there. If you needs some info on a really wonderful home to stay at in Leh, drop me a mail. Any other questions fire away... thanks for your enthusiasm! Will be in touch! Bridget
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