I woke up today to the noise of rain on the window. It’s the first real rain we’ve had for a week or so and it set my brain cartwheeling away with thoughts of the future. The future is that I am going cycle touring. I don’t really know where or for how long. I no longer have a job, I’m selling or giving away most of my possessions and at some point in November I will hand over the keys to the house I live in.
The rain had me thinking though, it’s easy to make these loose plans when the sun is shining. Suddenly my mind was asked to question what life will be like in just over a months time when that rain is beating down on canvas rather than a window pane. Tom Allen has a great blog about ‘training’ for a cycle tour that highlights the fact that mental preparation is more important than the physical side of loading up your bike and riding somewhere. I can ride, I know I can. A tough 50 mile day cycling into a headwind on Thursday was enjoyable and easily manageable. However sometimes I doubt my mental preparation.
I know I’ve been preparing mentally though without consciously thinking about it. Cooking meals on one or maximum two burners and finding myself breaking it down as to how I would cook the same meal with a meths burner and my pot set. Buying instant coffee and food I know I can easily pack and carry on a bike. Even this morning lying in bed listening to the rain my brain almost instinctively walked through the process of packing up a tent or bivy in the wet. Once out of bed I made sure I got on my bike whilst it was still raining to go and run errands, training myself not to shy away from bad weather.
I have experience, I’ve toured before, I know generally what to expect. I know I can survive outside in any season and weather. Yet I’m still scared and wondering if I’ll cope. I think back to riding the Trans Cambrian in April and the times on that trip I was cursing the weather. I’ve made my bed though I’m going cycle touring in winter and I need to remember the great things about doing just that. I love wrapping up warm and cycling when the weather is crisp and cold. Or the fact it’s easy to wild camp even in quite densely populated areas because everyone else is hiding away inside.
So the future is daunting and scary but also exciting. I’ll be trying to update this blog from the road a fair bit if I can so check in occasionally to see what’s new. However like this particular post I’m not planning on a travelogue style account like those I’ve written in the past. You can probably find an account of that type for most parts of the world and although I enjoy reading them for the most part what really intrigues me is what makes the people who write them tick. The best parts of books such as Cycling home from Siberia, Thunder and sunshine or Every inch of the way in my opinion are the parts where the authors start to talk about how their tours affect them mentally. I don’t mean send them crazy (although that is also interesting) but change their perceptions of the world, their politics and philosophy.
If you want to help fund my trip then I am selling pretty much all non-essential bike parts I own and pretty much moving from owning five bikes to just the one I am riding. Leave a comment below for a list of the parts I’m selling.
If you enjoy reading this blog and just fancy donating some cash to help me along the way then feel free to do so, again drop a comment below with contact details and I’ll let you know my paypal address. I feel odd putting that as I really don’t want to appear like I’m asking for you to pay for my holiday. However the feedback I get on my writing is generally positive so if you appreciate it then consider donating something. At least then I might be able to sit inside a cafe and enjoy a coffee whilst using the free wireless to update the blog.