It all began when I was a baby, I suppose. Dad was a time triallist and 'chain gang' member, and in the days before students had cars, had often ridden between homes in Liverpool and Glasgow. Becoming a father ultimately put paid to his competitive cycling and it became mere family folklore.

It wasn't until my teens that cycling became a meaningful form of transport as opposed to a sport played on our street, or the TV - not that I didn't enjoy it as both of those things. Greg LeMond's exploits in Tours de France stick in the memory in particular, and the 'Indurain years' which followed. The nearest I got for some time was lapping the small island on the cul-de-sac where we lived, for hours on end, much to the likely frustration of our neighbours. In time, Dad took my brother and me out on a circuit round local roads to build our roadcraft.

My 26" Raleigh, seen here in 2001,
was like the proverbial 'Old Man's Shovel'.
Only the rims and frame remain original!
Ultimately, it was my notable height, and the resultant trouble fitting in, let alone affording a car, that made me turn to cycling as my primary mode of transport when many of my peers were taking their driving test. Using the bike combined with train travel, I found myself able to go further and further afield, working freelance as a motor racing photographer (irony noted!) in the summer and doing various odd jobs during the winter. Somehow, quite without noticing it, I went from cycling for utility, to going out for a ride just because I could, for pleasure.

Norway, 2006
Fuelled by cheap travel when I started work on the railways, I started to roam further and further, with or without the bike, taking in the extremities of the rail network and beyond, and developing a particular love for the Highlands and Islands of Scotland whilst racking up thousands of miles each year. I'm not a dedicated eco-warrior; neither, emphatically, am I a natural athlete, but a love of adventure and roaming beautiful places has never left me, and I know no better way than by bicycle. Unfortunately, opportunities diminished during my first marriage, not least since I was travelling all over the country with work.

Snowdonia, 2012
Once married to Katie, a former competitive rower, I was urged to get back in the saddle, complete with my first proper racing bike. With three small children of my own, the question became not what to do instead, but how to carry on together! We continued to ride well into Katie's first pregnancy, but the bikes suddenly started to become items of furniture after little Ruth's arrival.

Just as all parents naturally make adjustments to their homes, transport and lifestyle to accommodate their brood, we have done this in the context of cycling, and whilst the road bikes seldom stray from the turbo trainer for now, with new touring bikes we have got the whole family rolling once more.

As Thomas Ivor, Ruth and Rhoda grow in size and experience, so our needs and solutions change, but for less than many spend on a single package holiday, we've kitted ourselves out to be able to enjoy many holidays and days out on a modest budget, for some time to come, with all sorts of fringe benefits.

Barra, 2014 - Four up!
As a 'niche within a niche', self-supported bicycle touring with youngsters can appear daunting - indeed, just as many fellow cyclists remark on our children as other parents remark on our bikes, trailers and panniers! For the children, bike riding and travelling have become normal family activities like any other and Thomas Ivor, Ruth and Rhoda have all astonished us in different ways as they have embraced life on the road - on however many wheels their outfit has that day!

Thomas Ivor, 2015:
first run with panniers.
We're still learning as we go - but as we do, I would love to inspire not only our children but other families to stay/return to/get riding, encouraged by some of the mistakes having been made for them, and emboldened by evidence that if we can do it, they can, too.

Oh, and my Dad? He's retired now - so he and Mum have bought a tandem...


  1. Hi Tom,

    This is Stephen, the guy who did the baby moves with you at the CTF thing. If you'd like, I can send you links to what we did, or you just look up the guy I mentioned - Tom Anderson of Original Strength. And if you have any good photos of us doing that little workout, I'd love to have one. And your permission to use it, would be only on my FB page, I think, and would not name you other than first name, if that. Thanks, and take care, Stephen. --

    1. Hi Stephen, sorry I've only just picked up your comment! I really must get back to those baby moves...

  2. Hi Guys, I'm coming to England in Marts to do talks at the Night of Adventure in London, the 7th and 23th. Between the two I would like to do some more presentation, now that I'm in England. Do you have any contact or ideers to where go?
    I know you are very busy, and we hope things are working out with Thomas, if we can help out let us know. kind regards Lars

    1. Hi Lars! Great to hear from you. The children have been watching your YouTube channel this week! Sorry I missed this message when you first sent it! I will drop you an email :-) TJ