Mike Hayes Interview

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I met mike just outside of a town called Ayaviri as I was heading from Lago Titicaca towards Cusco. We cycled together up to Cusco and for a jaunt around the sacred valley. He started his trip 4 months before in Puerto Montt and he flew home from Cusco this time. Check out his blog and his photography site.

1. Can you quickly describe your cycle tours, your bike and your philosophy. Don't go on and on!!! ha ha
Oh heck, philosophy is something I don't think about... just like riding and experiencing the 'places & people in between' that you don't get to see any other way. There needs to be mountains though... "as for describe my tours without going on and on".. ya ok, short and concise then I've bike toured in India, Ladakh, Kashmir, Pakistan, China, Morocco, Colombia, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Croatia, Bosnia, Spain, France... raced in a bunch of countries and travelled a whole bunch of other countries too. short enough?I like journeys that represent something of a challenge...
Oops, forgot my bike,... for wild and woolly stuff I have a Mk1 Thorn Nomad now in it's 7th year and showing a nice patina of wear :-) for lighter road tours I have a Salsa Casseroll built up with some classic components... The Nomad appeared on my blog in 2007 here (minus marathon tyres) and my Casseroll is here.

2. Can you recommend a good kayak trip in Cornwall, please.
The whole of cornwall is good, if looking for a good day out though then launch at Sennen, paddle around Lands End to Porthgwarra or Porthcurno, and return - perhaps with a detour out to the Longships reef is good.. lots of caves and rock arches to explore if not too rough, tidal races to play in, seals, dolphins and in summer enormous (8m) basking sharks to see

3. What is the your favourite phrase in Spanish?
Es la lucha... it's the fight.. used in same way as english folk use c'est la vie/that's life

4. Do you have a cycle touring tip?
no... wait, yes actually I do... stick a rolled up copy of your passport inside your handlebars, that way if bike is nicked and recovered it's easy to prove ownership. Inside your bars is also a handy place to keep spare spokes.

5. Can you recommend a book? What is it about?
hey what is this.. Radio 4? but seeing as you asked yes I think I can....it's called The Art of Looking Sideways, it's like a posh scrapbook about turning ideas upside down, looking at the world differently... something I like doing :-) It's not a book to read all at once, heck it's 4 inches thick, but rather one to pick up and open at a random page when you need some inspiration or have an idle moment.

6. You are a bit of a nifty photographer...Can you give me advice on taking a good shot on tour...What was the best photo of your trip this time
Ah thank you very much :-) advice, oh that's difficult, I tend to shoot on instinct but perhaps one good piece of advice is always to pay attention to the edges of your viewfinder.. so many photos get trashed by random 'things' appearing at the edges that distract from the point of the picture itself. Don't listen to all the bollocks people say about a photo telling a story, it doesn't have to... a picture can be completely abstract with no subject or point at all beyond colour or pattern. It helps as well before you pick up your camera to think about what you were about to photograph... look with your eyes before picking up the camera... I'm not articulating very well but that's best I can explain, you have to be receptive to seeing a picture before the camera gets in the way... and don't be a slave to the camera, you don't have to take a picture of everything :-)

Very difficult to pick a best photo from this trip, one of my favourites tho is this one... it's in Cafayate and I like it because it's just perfect (for me) instinctive street photography.. it's simple, graphic, captures a moment in time and manages to give a feel for the places well. I'm a 'lazy' photographer in that I don't pre-plan or premeditate or anything. I just go for a walk with my camera and see what catches my eye or what situations I react to.

If I have a favourite photo of all time I think it's this one... tribesmen on the Pakistan/Afghan border in 2000.


7. What is the best thing for you about travelling by bike?
Oh that's easy... absolute, unbounded freedom (and extreme coolness... haha)

8. you could make an international law to make the world a better place what would it be?
Yep, that would be to make greed and selfishness a criminal offence punishable by community service... or something. Shit, I sound like Miss World...

9. What is the best bit of equipment you carry?
My Rab sleeping bag... oh, and a big knife :-)

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