In a world of speed and deadlines, where life focuses on the destination, it’s important to make time for the journey, too.
I’m never so much in the moment as on a bike. Boats make me nauseous, and cars do the same, with time ticking away to the metronome of the windscreen wipers.
One of the best ways to see the world for me is by bicycle, pedalling into unknown territory, feeling raindrops and the sun on my face and the terrain under my wheels.
The best moments are the little ones: like a summer ride out to Holy Island just off National Cycle Network Route One from Newcastle, reaching the causeway just after the tide has receded. Those quiet minutes were like riding horseback to Avalon, twinkling grasses exposed on the green flats as the island approached, the drivers whizzing past and missing all the fun.
Adventures are heightened on two wheels
Three swans flew low over the road in front of us, silent but for a contented honking and the beating of their wings, long necks counterbalancing their huge white bodies in the mid-morning sun.
Of course, it’s the chance human encounters, too, like happening upon a peloton of the Veteran Cycling Club in a country pub near Hay-on-Wye one Saturday. Their immaculate 1930s and 40s racers were unlocked outside while they lunched indoors, and briefly engulfed in their world I learned much about the history of bikes and racing, including from one who claimed to have raced Tommy Godwin in his youth.
Further afield, I cycled the back roads of Sri Lanka, with every small child waving and shouting excitedly as my group passed, every villager offered a warm smile. A country of multitudinous microclimates and wildlife, by bike we felt the weather change around us as well as the terrain, crossing paths with monitor lizards and monkeys, mad dogs and mongooses.
Along with a kaleidoscope of smells and sounds, from a bike we experience the world as we should do: with all of our senses.
This article was first published in the May 30 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!