One Month To Go

In roughly 1 months’ time I’ll be cycling across Europe.

Wow! Is it a trip you’ve been planning for years?”

Not quite, no.

“Are you physically prepared to cycle miles upon miles day after day for months on end?”

Again, it’s a no.

The background

I’ve pined for adventure since I was a teenager, but bar a few small road trips here and there I’ve never pursued it. There have always been excuses. And if there haven’t been legitimate excuses, I’ve created them.

This time, in spite of some glaring excuses, I’m charging headfirst into the cycling adventure of a lifetime.

Time has marched on quickly and I’m not getting any younger. If I don’t do it now, there’s a big chance life will get in the way again and I’ll regret it.

Thinking about the long road ahead, and dinner

What is the plan?

The plan is simple. I will start off in Calais and head East on my bike. I’ll camp along the way and see where life takes me. I am ultimately aiming to reach the Black Sea but that’s not compulsory any means! I’ll keep going until a) The money runs out or b) I get sick of it and decide to head home.

What could go wrong?

If I listed all of things that could go wrong I’d be here all day. For now let’s just focus on two issues: Physical fitness and cycling experience.

I can count the times I’ve been on a saddle over the past decade on three hands. I used to cycle regularly when I was 14 years old, but now I’m closer to 30 than 20 and have spent the last few years working behind a computer for 8 hours a day. You can imagine what this has done for my fitness levels.

If it’s a choice between the combustion engine or the leg engine, it’s the warm, planet-destroying metal box every time. 

Cycling up hills and mountains against the wind and rain with all the extra weight I’ll be carrying (tent, food, water, fear etc.) is going to push my body to its limits. The physical task ahead is daunting to say the least.

The crest on my new bike

If it’s a choice between the combustion engine or the leg engine, it’s the warm, planet-destroying metal box every time. On the road I won’t have that choice.

What now?

Over the next 28 days I’m going to have to cycle every day in order to take my leg muscles and cycling ability up a gear. I want to be less Nick Frost and more Nick Gates by the time I eventually set off. To not prepare properly would be a stupid thing indeed. I need to show this trip some respect in order to give myself every chance of succeeding.

The weather changed quickly on a training ride

Oh, I also need to order a tent, pannier, gas stove, spork, water bottles, bike tires, inner tubes, cycling shorts, a rain mac, tools… all that general bicycle touring gear you see suggested on lists found on cycling websites.

There’s no time to lose. Got to get as much time on the saddle as possible.

Parking my new bike at the top of a mammoth hill

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