Autumn is upon us and it feels like the year has flown by, again, faster than normal as I haven’t spent 3 months of it cycling around the coast of Britain. I can recall every day of that tour if I think about it, whereas days this year seems to merge all into one. Having spent the year mostly working my thoughts are turning to 2015, and firming up plans for my next cycling tour.
At the moment I’m contemplating Europe, starting in Scandinavia and pedalling South, however I still need to mull over it some more. Such a tour will require months off work, a kit refresh, maybe renting my house out, and saying goodbye to Norwich for a bit. Actually, it doesn’t sounds like that hard a decision to make, although I’ll miss friends and family; life on the road is cheap, it can be free at times, and if my house is rented out the bills take care of themselves. I keep fretting over the details but in the end the question of ‘Why Not?’ keeps returning, and I’m finding it very difficult to justify not doing something big.
I spent today pedalling around Norfolk, taking in the Autumnal scenes, and trying to empty my head of trivialities whilst building a new list of priorities. I’m forty next year, and it feels like a good opportunity to see some new places, meet some new people, and have another adventure. I wonder if I could visit 40 countries by bike in a year, or at least 40 fantastic places; 40 countries might be stretching it a bit.
On the bike front I’m still seriously considering replacing my Ridgeback Panorama. Whilst I’ve grown very attached to it, it needs a lot of work; new front forks, chain, cassette, handlebar wraps, cables, brakes, racks etc. When you take all that into consideration, and the fact I want something a little tougher for the next tour, it seems prudent to consider replacing the whole thing. I won’t get rid of it completely though; when I finally open that bar it’ll hang over the fireplace like an ancient sword from ye olde days. I’m currently speaking to an independent bike maker who has some exciting custom builds, so hopefully they’ll be more news soon on that topic.
One of the most frequent questions I get asked by friends is ‘What are you going to do next?’. It’s great that people are interested in what I might be planning, but it doesn’t half put the pressure on to do hit the road again. Maybe it’s a symptom of people living their lives vicariously, but I keep wanting to ask what they’re going to do next? What’s holding you back from having an adventure, be it large or small, and me enjoying reading about it? I think, like me, everyone is a bit scared of breaking from the norm, taking a risk, and going for it, however it comes back to the question of ‘Why not?’ again; although if you have a partner, kids, and are concentrating on a career I acknowledge it’s a little harder. You can however always take them with you, and do smaller trips – a remote office you can work from whilst pedalling has got to be a possibility!
Another good reason for going on a tour again has got to be fitness aspect. I think I’ve put on a stone and a half since finishing ‘Bike around Britain’, despite still cycling 10+ miles a day and longer at the weekends. Once you’ve got used to consuming several thousand calories a day to keep energy levels up it’s hard to cut down, although maybe I’m just a glutton. I also look back on my 3 months on the road and realise how happy and unstressed I was, compared to the 9 to 5 (or 9 to 9 as is often the case) routine. I enjoy a lot about my job however my Mum always says I’m not suited to an office job, so maybe I should take her advice and split; there you go Mum, if I hit the road for several months you can’t object overly – you’ve given me the motivation! xx
Signing off for the time being, but hopefully more news soon. Hmmm. Do you think I need to change my blog name if I venture into Europe; Bike around Britain might not work. Suggestions for names welcome!
P.S. Been playing a new game for the last few months whilst pedalling about – Ingress – bit like orienteering. Using your phone you get to find portals, capture them, and link them with other portals to gain points. It’s fun and gives you motivation to cycle that extra mile, although you always have to watch out for the opposing team who will scupper your plans at every available opportunity (credit to them where due). If you like getting about and fancy giving it a go look it up; and join Enlightened, those Resistance players have too much of an easy time of it and we need reinforcements 😉 https://www.ingress.com/
The Scandinavian trip sounds great.. Looking forward to hearing planned route & new bike setup! Out of interest & owning a Panorama myself, what’s wrong with the forks on yours?
The Panorama is great, but don’t crash it into the back of a Volvo whilst trying to read your map. It’s done a few thousand miles since then but has never been quite the same! User error, not bike error!
Keen to here your musings and plans for the next tour. I enjoyed the last one 🙂 My pipe dream is to cycle from Home to Dubrovnik in Croatia. A ca. 6-8 week trip which I’d plan to do at the end of the summer, chasing the sun as I go South. One day…. However next year I do have a 7 day tour booked in, alongside the Norwegian Fjords heading North from Bergen. Watch this space.
Thanks Will. Riding down to Croatia sounds like a great plan, as does the tour you’ve already booked for next year. I’m looking forward to seeing some of Norway myself, although apparently you have to watch out for tunnels; there are a lot of them and not all are open to cyclists.