Have you ever been in a car or on a train, looked out of the window and thought ‘I wish I could stop and look at that’? It might be a stunning view, a beautiful building or just something quirky and silly. There are definitely times we just want to stop and look and cycling can give you that.
I recently went on my first independent cycle touring holiday. My partner and I packed our pannier bags and spent three weeks cycling around Cuba. We not only came back with a huge number of photographs but also many memories we just wouldn’t have got from any other type of trip.
This got me thinking of all the things that the freedom of two wheels has brought into my life.
Time With Friends and Family
My Mum can’t ride a bike. Really, she can’t. As soon as she gets on she aims for the nearest tree and hits it. That is if she hasn’t thrown herself off into the grass verge at the sight of a car. Despite that she has been a part of my cycling life. She was chief peloton feeder when I completed the Coast to Coast cycle in a day in 2014. Last year she was support car driver when my Dad and I cycled the Devon Coast to Coast.
My sister is the opposite, you struggle to prise her from the saddle and my Dad is always up for a challenge. I have had many a cycling adventure with both of them. My family is so precious to me and to be able to plan adventures and explore with them is priceless.
Ok, I don’t cycle along grinning manically whilst throwing rose petals from a wicker basket, but cycling does make me feel good. On days when the world seems to be throwing curve balls a good bike ride will always sort me out.
When my partner passed away in 2014 it was cycling that kept my head clear. Planning to ride the Coast to Coast in a day gave me a focus and a reason to leave the house. It bought me new connections and the space I needed.
Getting outside and exercising, whether it’s cycling, walking, running etc. can make such a difference to your day.
Going Around the World
Cuba may have been my first independent trip but in the past I have cycled across Kerala in India, through rice paddies in Vietnam, the length of the John Muir Way in Scotland and past ruined Olympic ski jumps in Bosnia. I have met other velophiles all around the world and each time I come away with more inspiration for future two-wheeled travel expeditions.
This type of trip allows you to see so much more of an area, travelling between towns and cities, powered by your own body. The biggest problem is my list of desired destinations always seems to be growing!
Luckily, I have discovered the perfect person to go on my adventures with. And how did I meet him? Through cycling of course!
We were two people going through tough times in our lives when a mutual friend introduced us. Now we have bikes hanging as art work on the wall and take romantic trips to Decathlon. We even managed a tandem ride without argument!
Independence and Togetherness
Cycling in a group is great. For a start, it makes things so much easier; tucking in behind someone else means that you lose wind resistance and can cruise merrily along. Post ride debrief and rehydration (going to the pub together) is also an essential part of group riding.
I do like my solo rides too though. Whether it is popping to the shops, visiting my parents or heading out into the countryside, it is so easy to just jump on the bike and go. I push myself that bit harder when I am on my own too.
Being chosen as part of the Pearl Izumi Champion Team this year gave me a huge confidence boost. Now I am part of a new group. A group of people of various abilities, from all cycling disciplines who aim to inspire others to get out on their bike and enjoy their surroundings.
Discover the Freedom of Two Wheels
Whether you fancy a gentle ride in the countryside, the thrill of the velodrome or a go on a bicycle made for two; cycling will bring so much to your life. Lose yourself in bikes and discover so much more.