Good Question, Why do this? Why would someone in a secure good job decide to hand in their notice, leave their family and friends behind and jump into the unknown by getting on a bike and cycling off for a long bike ride?
Well, where do you start? For me, I found that personally and at work, I wasn’t satisfied, both of my sons were grown up, now adolescents and had become more and more independent and I wasn’t looking forward to continuing to plod along the way I was. I’d reached a crossroads, with several options, which one to choose!
Carry on working where I was?
Leave for another Job?
Retrain for another Career?
Get on my Bike and see where it takes me?
I asked myself several questions to get an answer. The result of those very hard questions is what followed and what I am doing now, the final option, to give up work for a while, take some time out and see places at the speed of a bike..
I took up cycling in 2011, primarily to lose weight. I had slipped into an unhealthy lifestyle and needed to change it. The cycling went from strength to strength. Each year I’d pushed myself further in my cycling. To begin with riding a sportive, then riding a 100 miles, riding a 100 mile sportive, riding to Paris & back, riding sportive’s faster and faster, riding to Paris and Back again, but a lot quicker, riding 160 miles in a day, riding over 200 miles in a day, riding 237 miles in a day, completing several Audax rides and so on…. But where do you go from there?
Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) had never appealed to me and so many people do it nowadays, it’s not unusual.
As I had learnt from cycling to France, for me and lots of people like me (you’d be surprised how many people are on a long bike ride or traveling the world by bicycle) there is no better way to see a place than to see it from a bike. When you arrive at a place, you are not the same as a normal tourist and people are interested in your story or why you would have cycled so far.You get to interact with people in their environment and learn from them. Last year when I rode to Paris and back for the second time I used the warmshowers website which hooks up cyclists with somewhere to stay and get a warm shower (think couchsurfing for cyclists) and I stayed with some lovely people who welcomed me into their homes and it opened my eyes, there are lots of genuinely very nice people in the world and I’d like to get to know more of them.
The thought of giving up work after having worked for so many years without being out of work is a scary thought, it actually terrifies me, but it’s something I have to do to fulfill the desire I have to get on my bike and to see places.
On a club bike ride with DTCC (Devizes Town Cycling Club) last autumn (2013), we stopped in a café in Marlborough, Wiltshire and they had this picture up on the all which I think sums it up quite well..