It feels good to be back on the road again but in two days I’ve crossed the Netherlands and entered Germany. I didn’t mean to go so quickly but long summer daylight hours lend themselves to big miles. In addition I think I have both feelings of both love and hate for the Netherlands.
I should love it and it has a lot of positives. Hundreds of miles of cycle paths many of which are seperated from the road and sometimes out of sight and earshot of traffic. This is great, especially as signposts are clear and there are lots of maps so it feels like a joined up network for cycling. The people are really friendly even though I don’t speak the language and a stall holder even gave me a free apple.
However I have to admit I’m a mountain man, I need some topography. Not only purely for asthetic reasons but also when cycling. A mountain gives a challenge followed by the reward of a descent. Hundreds of miles on the flat just feels like costant churning of the pedals and saps my enthusiasm. In addition I find the Netherlands, to be honest a bit dull. There is distinct architecture but it doesn’t seem to change across the country and the landscape is equally uniform.
So with my legs spinning almost without thinking my thoughts have been drifting. I have been thinking about what I would do differently if I get a chance to be a speaker again at next years cycle touring festival. The event was a big success and has been getting good feedback but personally I think I could have ‘performed’ better.
Firstly I would be more prepared for each session and know in my mind what key information I wanted to get across. I went into this year thinking I was the new kid on the block. I expected others to really lead the sessions and assumed that I would be there purely for detailed technical information. In hindsight this isn’t what happened. Essentially I’d like to make sure the sessions were more focused and flowed better.
Secondly if required I think I need to have the confidence to take charge and guide the discussion in a session. Again I think my lack of confidence in doing this was because it was the first time I’ve been a speaker at this sort of event. However the event has shown me that I can be confident in front of a large audience and my public speaking skills aren’t that bad.
So roll on next year and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to be the massive bike nerd that I clearly am. I had so much fun talking touring kit for two days it almost made me miss my old job, almost. Now though onwards and upwards through Germany to Hamburg.