196. Cycling from Coast to Coast

Almost exactly one year ago, Ben Fisher was on the podcast telling us about his cycling trip from London to Paris. Now he’s back to tell us about his latest cycling adventure. Last time he cycled a total of 484.7km. This time he more than doubled that distance cycling 1223.42km from the north coast of France all the way down to the south coast. It was a much longer and more difficult trip and he’s here on the podcast to tell us all about it! Right-click here to download this episode.

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Click here to revisit 136. Cycling from London to Paris. (Have I really uploaded 60 episodes in the last 12 months? Wow.)

Click here to visit Ben’s blog where you can read all about this cycling trip, look at photos and read all the stats about his journey. drainbamms.wordpress.com

Follow Ben on Twitter @DrainBamms: twitter.com/drainbamms

Click here to visit WarmShowers.org. That’s the website for cyclists who would like to share accommodation with each other. www.warmshowers.org

If you’d like to contribute a transcript for this, click here to access a google doc for 196 Cycling from Coast to Coast.

Picture (c) Kate Fisher (Ben’s sister) – Check out her great illustrations at www.damefishy.com

  • Deniz

    It was one of the most entartaining and informative episodes!

  • John Kirton


    Congrats on the podcasts. What you are doing is truly phenomenal. I speak several languages and have not seen anything comparable in quantity and quality on the internet. There are natural methods for French and German which have some 200k facebook followers. I have some thoughts on how you could widen your audience and perhaps start to monetize this fantastic resource.

    Since this one was so popular, may I suggest that you interview my daughter and perhaps one of her four friends who cycled from Bordeaux to Barcelona in one week last September. They fly camped all the way! There all nice,well spoken, girls with a great sense of fun and it would maybe start to address the lack of female participants in your show.

    Contact me if you want to do it and I’ll help you set it up.

    cheers mate


    • Thank you John, and thank you also for getting in touch with my Dad. I’ll be in contact with you soon. I’m really impressed by your email, and thank you very much for taking the time to write to me like that. I’ll be replying soon.

  • Amber

    I liked the 136. episode so much that I transcribed the most of it. :-D
    I’ve downloaded this one, but I’ve waited patiently for the weekend to listen to it. Why? To make my weekend cycling even more enjoyable. :-D And it really was. I went out of town, away from all this traffic jam, crowd… and only had a road in front of me surrounded by beautiful nature on both sides. Luckily it was sunny and very warm, and no wind. It felt like cycling with Ben as well. And I smiled, so I must have looked like a twat to those car drivers and a few other people I met along the way. But I didn’t care. I was having a great time. This episode reminded me of South Park movie’s title: “Bigger, longer and uncut”, lol. I’ve also learnt some new useful phrases like ‘within spitting distance’, chikened out’, tail wind (which is not fart :-) ) So thanks teacher Luke and thanks Ben.
    It began to rain in the evening and the road was slippery. Some family with small kids suddenly showed up out of nowhere, so I had to pull over quickly. I wasn’t going fast, but while avoiding those kids I got off the road, almost fell off my bike and damaged it. So happy those brakes are great and my reflexes too. If I had hit them it wouldn’t be pretty and I’d be very sorry. Their parents came up to help me and make sure I was ok. The noise my bike made frighten us all. Well, it happens. Then I had a short break before I moved on. And later I listened to this episode again on my way back home. Smiled again and some people in the city smiled back to me which was even funnier.
    And today I had cherries in Sara(y)jevo, so Ceret, Sarajevo – easy-peasy, sounds almost the same. :-)

    Ben, I’ve read many details about this trip and other texts on your blog so far. Wow! Amazing! Nice photos! But I haven’t found any audio episode like Luke is doing here. Is there any I could also listen to?
    Take care and come again to LEP! Best of luck on your great/crazy cycling adventures! :-)


  • Gábor

    What a great adventure and what a great episode. It calls to my mind the longest one-day cycling tour of mine. A few years ago I took a ride with a friend around the largest lake of Hungary, Balaton. The whole distance was about 220 kilometers, the average temperature was above 35 Celsius, but there were 2-3 hours when it was 40-41 C. It was a real survivor ride from village to village, from well to well. We were like robots with a strict program: cycling, looking for the next pump well, heads into the flow of cold water, wetting biker kerchiefs, filling all the bottles, than continuing the ride – again and again. (Just a parenthetical and surprising fact that we didn’t see any French nudist camps on the road. However, I’m sure we could ride across even the Annual Meeting of International Nudist Camps without hesitation for a cup of warmish water.)

    • Gábor

      (I have to correct my grammar. I guess “we could have ridden” is the correct past conditional form I wanted to use here.)

  • Mohammed K.

    Very nice episode ,,
    Is there any expression that has the same meaning to ( spitting distance) but more formal ?

  • Elisa

    One of the best episodes, absolutely! Unbelievably enjoyable :)

    • Great! Glad you enjoyed it. I agree, I think it’s a cracker.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing! Ep.136 was my favourite ever, and now this one as well. Already looking forward for arni’s third comeback ;)

  • Some nice comments from FB: Click here to see the post on the Facebook page
    Andrus Thank you Luke,much appreciated!
    9 hours ago · Like

    Zdenek: Great!
    9 hours ago · Like

    Hiroshi: I really enjoyed the last episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. I could laugh listening to British English, really. Especially I laughed when I was listening to the speech of Thatcher, and now I expect much about this episode coz I have been reading his blog about his cycling tour around northern France lately.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Hiroshi: I also enjoyed all the episodes you have uploaded lately one after another in a short period about World Cup soccer and culture shock as well. Thanks a lot. I will listen to them again and again. You are reaching to 200 milestone, waoooo, it’s a great great job, I respect you.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Hiroshi: Blog….Mailing list
    8 hours ago · Like

    Luke’s English Podcast: Thanks Andrus & Zdenek – I hope you like the episode. Hiroshi Maruyama I’m really glad you enjoyed the Monty Python one, and the others. I know you really liked the previous episode about cycling with Ben. You’ve been reading his blog? Great! You already know some of the details of his journey. It was really long and sounded pretty difficult. I liked the bit where he needed a campsite and water, and the only place available was a French nudist camp!
    Commented on by Luke Thompson · 8 hours ago · Like

    Hiroshi: Yes, and he ordered no water rather than no pants. I’ve just listened to the podcast.
    5 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Hiroshi: preferred
    5 hours ago · Like

    Hiroshi: if I were there I’d do as Luke would do.
    Ben, thanks for the pod cast and please do take care.
    5 hours ago · Unlike · 1

    Irina: Great, now i have the plot for the dirtiest adult movie ever in my mind… including a nudist camp, warm showers, balls of steel, hard stiff leather things, hurting bums, b-Jobs on the pump… is it me or was there a tiny bit of innuendo in this episode?
    8 minutes ago · Like

    Luke’s English Podcast: You’re wrong, it wasn’t a tiny amount
    Commented on by Luke Thompson · 6 minutes ago · Like

    Irina: God help me, just came up with a title: The drained cyclist.
    20 minutes ago · Edited · Like

    Luke’s English Podcast Haha very good!

    Ben Fisher: Irina, when you put it like that, I can’t really get out of it. The whole trip was clearly just a cover story.
    9 minutes ago · Like

    Luke’s English Podcast: Yes, it’s a suspicious ‘coincidence’ that you managed to locate that nudist camp so efficiently..

  • Andrzej

    Hi Ben, Luke,
    I have to concede that Polish streets and roads aren’t too safe places for cyclists and although things are changing for the better we’re still miles away from the countries famous for good road culture. Not only truck drivers are to blame but they do have established reputation. Vast majority of drivers are cautious, sad statistics tell the truth about the rest. The situation is complex and involves a number of factors and there’s no simple solution possible to put in place.

    • Hi Andrzej, very true – the inevitable conflict between drivers and cyclists is a very complex situation, and there’s no simple answer. And also true that the vast majority of drivers are cautious – one dodgy trucker during a 12 day cycle is pretty good! That one encounter wouldn’t put me off cycling in Poland.

      • Andrzej

        Hi Ben,
        I feel very uncomfortable to tell bad things about my country but your brave declaration about cycling in Poland sounds pretty scary to me. If you want to visit Poland, come, it’s a beautiful country and there are a lot of friendly people here but if you want to cycle on the roads – think twice. It is not only reckless driving that’s a problem. We have a little more other ones with drivers and you don’t want to get them know, trust me. Put your plans off for a while. Things are really changing for the better now but it’s just the beginning of the process.
        Luke, you’ve done a smashing podcast with Ben. It might be partly because I’m an obsessive cyclist as well. The thing is I keep aloof from the roads. Maybe this is why I’ve been enjoying cycling for so many years. :)

  • Anonymous

    WOW! I loved episode 136 so I think I’m really going to enjoy this new one =D