Sunday 6 February 2022
The humble bicycle, it's amazing what can be achieved on one. A design that has changed very little since the safety bicycle was invented in 1885 by Jon Kemp Stanley. Our bikes would be instantly recognised by him, even if technology has improved speed, comfort, reliability, weight and versatility.
From a personal perspective they can bring a freedom other forms of transport are no longer able to deliver.
And to think it all started for me with an after work curry. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, here's a recap.
Myself a three others from Quantum publishing got together and somehow the conversation happened upon cycling. Matt had bought a bike and rode it occasionally, I had been lent one for a second charity ride. The previous year I'd completed a very short sponsored ride on a steed in my possession for the day. Training was not going well; a few miles here and there, and twenty minutes on an exercise bike maybe once a fortnight. I had set a target of 50 miles: no chance.
The following Saturday Matt and I met at 07:00 on the Limpsfield Rd beside a desolate bus stop. To get there I had climbed a few hills, mostly by walking. It would be many weeks until I rode the whole way, and home without pushing the bike.
From this humble beginning I have ridden many miles, raised a lot of money for charity, made some great memories. The exploring Matt and I did, getting away from it all in the early days. Riding to Paris, completing the South Downs Way, just sitting outside a cafe watching the world go by. Becoming fitter and coping better with life.
I have revealed my plans for this year, but what about the future?
It's a very long way off, but I intend to continue my adventures. The first of which will be a ride to Bristol, to complete a route created by Will, link.
On my return it will be off to visit World War One sites in France. With maybe Dunkirk from World War Two. This was inspired by my friend Lucy, one of her many talents is a WW1 tour guide, Link.
I have been asked why I would ride to Bristol, or France first, before starting a holiday tour. A few reasons: traveling by train in the UK is expensive, most lines don't encourage bringing a full sized bike, I want to see more of the countryside, and finally; because I can. In years to come as I set my sights further afield this may change, I'll add trains and longer ferry journeys. I have thought about visiting Spain, getting there by ferry rather than flying of course. Bilbao or Santander are only a days voyage away. From either port I could head south to the interior or east and climb the Pyrenees.
I know there are many bucket list rides in this country, but I want to do something different. Self supported longer rides could be my next challenge. And just because I'm approaching my late fifties I don't see why I have to limit myself. This book is part of the motivation. Link.
Picture at top of post, rights notification. Link.