About us

Who We Are

We are Christine Armstrong & Stephen Smith and have been married for over 30 years.  In November 2013 we made the big decision to retire in about 15 months time to explore the world on our bikes. (We may go back to work at some time in the future – but only if the money is running low!)

We are nearer 60 than 50 (!) but have been cycling together since before we were married. Initially, it was simply a cheap, healthy way of avoiding sitting on the beach for two weeks every year.

The arrival of children (we have three of them – all now young adults of whom we are immensely proud) did not cramp our style. When Alaric was two and a half and Conal was nine months we went on a cycling holiday with Headwater Holidays where they moved our luggage every other day (we filled the company’s large Peugeot estate with travel cot, nappies and a box of toys along with all the other paraphernalia) while we cycled with Alaric on a seat on Stephen’s crossbar and Conal sitting in a child seat behind Christine.

For the next few years, bikes almost always played a part in our family holidays with a milestone being reached (when the kids were 12, 10 and 8) when we took the bikes on the train to Passau in southern Germany. From there we cycled down the Danube to Vienna in a week. Eleri was on the trailer bike behind Stephen while the boys were on their own bikes. The luggage for two weeks (we had a further week pottering about Vienna and then cycling from Salzburg back to Passau) was all crammed into four panniers on the back of Christine’s and Alaric’s bikes!!

As the years passed, cycling came to play an increasingly important part in our lives but reached a new level when the Tour de France came to Britain in 2007. We signed up for the British Cyclosportive – a chance for everyday cyclists to try their legs on the first stage of Le Tour from Greenwich to Canterbury a week before the pros did it for real. Although the direct route is only about 60 miles, the organisers chose a route that was twice as far and took in three significant hills. For the “big boys”, it was considered a “flat” stage – these two amateurs considered it anything but! We were immensely proud of ourselves to complete the ride in 9 hours 15 mins (Stephen) and 11 hours (Christine) – and even more in awe of the pros when they did it in about 4.5 hours!

As our 25th wedding anniversary approached, Christine did what she enjoys most and entered “holiday planning mode”. Initially, the plan was to go back to Papua New Guinea (where we worked for 6 months straight after we were married). She and the travel agent devised a wonderful itinerary visiting a number of places we had enjoyed while we there and others that we didn’t have the chance to get to. Then the oil price rose, the Pound sank and the credit crunch hit. The trip looked increasingly out of touch with the new reality and became so expensive that we couldn’t justify it to ourselves. Inspired by stumbling on Margaret and Dave Creasy’s account of their ride from Land’s End to John o’Groats we decided to do the same. And the story of our trip can be found here at http://silverlejog.blogspot.co.uk/.

Over the years we have enjoyed cycling holidays in many countries, including Eire, France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Poland, Canada, Cuba, and even a small part of Russia, and also many cycling breaks in the UK. Last summer we cycled across South Korea, where the photo at the top of the page was taken, and used the trip as preparation for this year. We are very much looking forward to exploring new countries.

 

11 thoughts on “About us”

  1. Hi Christine,
    It is amazing to hear news of your next adventure and your retirement from The Link. I will look forward to following your progress and wish you both a safe and happy trip.

  2. Made it to Bluff as planned! From the 5 guys on bikes you met @ St Arnard. As planned it took us 16 days from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

  3. Hallo Christine und Stephen, wir sind zurück in Bremen und erwarten den Besuch unserer Enkelkinder, die uns bis zum 20.8. am Laufen halten werden. Spätestens am 28.8. starten wir nach Süddeutschland . Am 5./6.9. etwa sind wir zurück um am 10.9. für 8 Tage nach Lübeck zu fahren. Vom 20.-23.9. sind wir wohl in Bremen, danach für etwa 2 Wochen in Berlin. Unser „amerikanischer“ Sohn bleibt, wie wir heute gehört haben, weitere 2 Monate in Pittsburgh. So können wir unsere Aussage dass es in unserem Haus nach dem Enkelbesuch Platz gibt bestätigen. Über einen Kontakt würden wir uns freuen. Grüße aus Bremen, Gisela und Thomas

    1. Danke schön für die Information, Gisela und Thomas. We are trying to calculate when we will be in Bremen but our daily distances are uncertain at the moment because if the weather and the gaps between campsites. We will email you when we are more certain.

  4. Hello Christine and Stephen.
    Was great to meet you in Bocas del Toros and later again at the Panama Canal :). Had a chance to see your blog, enjoyed it!!
    My travel friend and I made it back to Victoria, BC 3 days ago; the deep snow everyone wrote about had just disappeared. Will check again to see if you made it back to Houston, Texas, to retrieve bikes!! :). Take care and “Carpe Diem”. Conny from Canada.

    1. Great to hear from you, Conny. You have helped inspire us to go to South America! Maybe the winter after next! It was lovely to meet you. Do stay in touch and share your future travels with us.

  5. Hi Christine and Steve,
    Hope all’s well.
    We’ve got some sad news, Doreen has been trying to contact you as Bob Prideaux unexpectedly passed away last week, from a heart attack / stroke.
    He will be cremated at 2.45 tomorrow (Friday 1 December) at the crematorium in Southampton.

    Should you need Doreen’s address then it’s;
    Staddles,
    Romsey Road,
    West Wellow,
    Hampshire,
    SO51 6EB

    Hope to see you again.
    Regards
    John and Jen Eggleton.

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