Today was an official rest day from cycling as the weather report forecast rain for most of the day. So with that knowledge and some legs that need to recover I had planned to do laundry and make energy bars for the day.
I’d run out of coffee so took a little trip to the local shop. It was while strolling back in a real lackadaisical style that I had an epiphany.
I should write another book
Yes as I’ve been struggling with trying to shorten my blogs posts so people might actually read them, I thought that’s not freedom. The whole part of being free is doing what you want and being yourself. I thought about all the great blogs I read and how some of them are very wordy and not just packed with SEO clickbait.
This journey I’ve taken up is about a simple bike ride 54 miles from London to Brighton but I’ve not seen or read many in depth accounts of the daily struggle and joys of getting into shape. My own little story might actually help someone one day and that may be valuable.
When I’m cycling I don’t listen to music, mostly because I do a lot travelling on roads and want to hear all the traffic noise just in case. As I’m rolling along I’ve lots of thinking time and this gives me a real joy combined with the exhilaration of a great bike ride.
Currently, I’m really getting into the idea of a massive bike ride across USA and Canada. The really exciting part of cycling North America is the many different routes available. It looks like you could spend years crisscrossing the states and provinces without getting bored. That’s really interesting to me, maybe not for everyone but it is to me.
Getting back to the book thing. I’m already documenting my training for myself on this blog and my last book was developed using this method. After a bit of editing, a few blog posts became a whole book. This is a technique I learnt from Pat Flynn, the great internet marketer. Bit of a tip there 🙂
Being a Touring Cyclist and not a fitness fanatic is a lot more relaxed. I’ve seen guys zooming along in fancy race kits and I’m not impressed. Yes have your hobby but it’s not for me. I’m more interested in the beautiful corn fields or cheeky rabbits popping their heads out of a hedgerow.
My bike is a heavy steel frame and one of the heaviest Touring bikes but I know it’s super strong. For me, strength and reliability are important especially when I dreamed of loading up the bike with Camping gear. I’m used to backpacking and camping and have found equipment can get used and abused very quickly. So I’m happy with my bike.
If I’m going to do a massive bike ride it will probably be in October – December time mostly because that’s when the weather is most comfortable in the places I want to visit. This portion probably won’t make it to the blog post as I’m just rambling now.
I’ve been looking for an exciting adventure for a few years now after getting really inspired by a road trip around North America. I tried to take in as much of the sights as possible and a little spark was lit back then. Most of the people I was travelling with were not interested in the actual trip but I was enthralled with the open spaces.
A year or so later I was fortunate enough to spend some time on the west coast and hiked around. I had a nerve problem that kept flaring up so that took away the enjoyment sometimes but it was nice to be there. For a short time, I did have a bicycle but had to leave it in a town and get a bus. The freedom of a bicycle and relative comfort compared to walking was awesome.
Another year later again I had the opportunity to travel and this time I was little more prepared. I bought a bike from Walmart and got a 49cc engine attached, making a Motorised Bicycle. Wow, this was a game changer.
Motorised Bicycles are fully legal for adults in California and I had so much fun riding this bike. It was just how the original motorcycles were 100 years ago but more powerful with 49cc’s of raw power.
This bike needed a bit of pedal power to get rolling, then the engine took the strain. It was truly an amazing machine. I did mostly 10 mile rides on it around town but one day I got excited and went further, much further.
I was staying at friends in the Bay Area of California and decided to take a trip to Monterey which was about 30 miles from my friend’s place. Using Google Maps to find the best route for a bicycle worked out okay but some of the routes were closed off for Motorised Bicycles. On these parts, I had to pedal the bike and shut down the engine. It was a fantastic trip rolling through these back roads past farms and tiny towns.
Arriving in Monterey bay was a great feeling. The natural beauty of that coastline is so spectacular looking out across the Pacific ocean.
I’d travelled 30 miles on this Walmart bike with a motor strapped to it. Luckily the bike was still in good shape but the brakes were finished. The cheap brake blocks were totally worn down from all the hills and I had to change those before thinking about a return journey.
I managed to get back to my friend’s place before dark and was full of inspiration for other journeys. Unfortunately, I had to come back home after an epic holiday and motorised bicycles are not legal in my home country so only could dream again.
Over the next winter, a feeling for travelling was coming over me and I’d researched many options like renting an RV or getting a Motorbike but these all had their problems. Mostly the high costs involved and hoop jumping for a non resident to get a registered vehicle.
Then, I’m not sure of exactly when I stumbled across a video about Bicycle Touring. It seemed that these guys really were living the dream. Travelling to far off places, camping under the stars, cooking in the wilderness. The main difference was they didn’t have huge costs or headaches from major mechanical stuff. Most towns in North America have a basic Bicycle shop and big box stores carry very cheap spares. I was really getting excited about this type of travelling.
Okay riding a heavy touring bike loaded with gear is slow, even compared to a motorised bicycle which tops out at 30mph (once got 36mph on mine) but it was nearly free travel. The engine is your body and fuel is your food. Also, a bike is legal in all parts of the world, not just California.
My main thing was being totally out of shape after a winter of mostly sitting on my arse. The first thing I did was borrow a proper bike. I’ve now got a Touring Bike made for the job. It took me a good 10 rides to figure out a comfortable riding position and set up. This was without any equipment loaded. (Probably should make a whole breakdown chapter about this somewhere later on.)
I’d been putting off getting started for some reason. I had just moved from one job that was sucking my soul and took me a while to bounce back from that.
My biggest motivation was hearing that a good friend had serious cancer and was undergoing massive treatment. I felt lucky to be alive for real. In my family, we’d had a passing recently and a close family member was also going through cancer treatment. I thought that getting a goal would shake me up and get on the bike. That’s when I figured riding for a cancer charity in a bike ride would be appropriate. So I looked up a classic UK ride, London to Brighton. It turned out to be just happening the next weekend I was researching. Obviously, that was too soon as the Bike ride was fully subscribed but another one was happening in three months time.
Hey sign me up, or that’s what I was thinking. Then it dawned on me that saying I was going to do a big bloody bike ride for charity was a serious commitment and could not be taken back. I really needed to get on the bike to see if I could even think about a long ride.
I won’t repeat myself on this as I started the posts in this series talking about those first days but the inspiration and dreams I’ve been having for a few years now really are becoming a reality.
After completing several bigger rides in training for the L2B ride I have passed my goal distance for a basic bike touring adventure. I’d mapped out stops of around 30 miles a day as a comfortable distance so I could spend some time being a proper tourist. My first dream trip would most likely be down the west coast of USA, something like San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Pacific coast route seems to be very popular with Cyclists and there’s a load of great camping spots. At around 500 miles it would take me over two weeks of very slow riding. I see blogs say it’s an 8 day trip, as some days can be 100 miles easy. Sounds a bit far to me but if I planned out 14-16 days I could take my time.
It’s all in the future but it’s worth noting as it’s my inspiration for getting out on the bike, getting fit and riding for charity. I don’t want this new found enthusiasm to stop after L2B. I want to keep riding on and finding new adventures.
This day off is really helping my training recovery and the timing is perfect as just heard some thunder rolling in. Yep, it’s raining pretty hard now.
Great time to do some more research on possible future adventures
Keep Pushing Good Vibes