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Ewan Shepherd - Guide

Sun, sea & bikes.

A few years ago, I was up in one of the local bike haunts, Sutton Bank Bikes, in the North Yorks Moors National Park. I bumped into a guy helping out at the shop, Ewan Shepherd. Ewan then moved out to the Balearics to do some guiding, and contacted us here recently for a catch up; so, after a chat he joined our global blogging team, and will be writing about his cycling and guiding in the sun and elsewhere, such as when he's visiting his family back in North Yorkshire.

Any, albeit a little unseasonal, take a read of his account of his first winter as a professional guide abroad.

Spending the winter being paid to ride your bike, a professional rider. I'm Ewan Shepherd, so join me for the tour of a bike guides life.

It’s Christmas Eve night and like many people, I call my family, who are all together in France for Christmas and New Year. Unfortunately I couldn’t join them due to work.

I spoke to one of my older brothers first and this was good, as we hadn’t spoken for a month or so. It was good to catch up on bikes, training, nephews and general life. I was on load speaker, so it was nice to hear the voices of my mum and dad, as they added to the conversation, and for the first time I felt a little festive. My lack of Christmas spirit was due to my current circumstances only. After changing jobs in November, for first time in my life I was homeless. The housing situation in Lanzarote is a world away from normality, but for my case it was very real.

I moved from hotel to hotel, as everything was so full and it was often for one two night at a time; living on holiday accommodation prices was putting me in the red, big style! Additional to this, I was carting my worldly possessions around, plus two bikes, and the receptionist faces as I made 8 trips in and out at every new hotel we’re a picture!

By the time it came to Christmas, everywhere was full. I thought to myself, what was I supposed to do, I am homeless; I’ve been coned out of an apartment (note to self don’t give money to what is most likely a Nigerian man through PayPal as he won’t deliver the goods, but I was so desperate and can see how it happens) and I cannot even just fly home now, as I don’t have enough money. However, at least I have a job that I love, so just stick it out and my luck must change soon, I said.

So Christmas Eve came and there it as; I was sitting in the rental car with all my possessions crammed in, and yes it was small; but after a week or two you workout how to optimise your living. I never slept in the same place two nights in a row, always preferring to move; I chose nice secluded spots by the coast, and told myself it was the idyllic “van life”. Waking every morning to the sound of the waves crashing, what more could you ask for!

Over the phone I could hear the sense of unhappiness in my parents voices, but I assured them my luck would change and something would come up.

 “There’s worst places than the Canary Islands to be homeless”

I did suggest more alarmingly, the fact I had relapsed and fallen into addiction again. I had been clean for nearly two years, but the stress of the situation had got the better of me. Coffee was my drug and I just couldn’t go cycling without it! My brother joked heroin is great for getting to sleep in shop doorways, but we kept it light hearted, after all it was Christmas. Thankfully, coffee would give me my fix, and I guess in that  respect I'm just like any other addicted cyclist!

Anyway, we finished up with seasons greetings, then I settled down for the night. For Christmas Day I would be out on the bike guiding, blue skies, 22 degrees, no better conditions out there. Yes, life needs a little development, but as I say, I’m in the sun and guiding bikes, and waking up listening to waves.

Follow Ewan on Instagram here