…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
Back in September 2015 I managed to cycle over 900 miles in that month. It was tough. I basically had to average 30 miles a day for the whole month and doing so made me feel pretty tired and worn out by the end of the month.
Would I ever manage 1,000 miles in one month? I figured I needed a month with 31 days and I would try again in 2016.
Well, I’ve just got back from my road trip to Scotland (from Wales, via England) and back via Ireland…
The tour, consisting of camping each night, and therefore carrying my tent and camping gear with me actually spanned two month so I had to wonder while I was still away from home “Had I actually managed 1,000 miles in May!?”
Plus, by averaging 70 miles a day, something I didn’t plan for, especially since I was carrying so much stuff, my 19 day road trip totalled some 1,300 miles.
Getting to Scotland was kind of the easy part; that was just four days in…
Then there was another ten days or so cycling up Scotland, via Loch Ness, to the Isle of Lewis and back down, before hopping across to Ireland for a few days, before hopping back to home.
I’m so amazed with myself – it was tough – there wasn’t a single day without aches or pains of one sort or the other, from straining chest muscles or something from crawling in and out of a small tent since day 1, to knees complaining, to wrists aching, sun burn and heat rash/midgy bites, being saddle sore, to blisters on my feet from walking my bike round a town while I waited for a ferry.
The challenge was to eat enough and sleep enough, and it took my body a good few days to get into gear and for me to gain enough of an appetite for food to meet the number of calories I was burning – early on I didn’t look well, but by the end of my tour I was easily eating enough for two people; having fun in cafés by ordering two trays of food, or ordering from one fish and chip shop, eating that, then walking round the corner to another and ordering another round. Then there was the half a chocolate cake (technically “three portions”) that I ate in one sitting without breaking out a sweat. And now I’m back home and I still can’t stop eating; I had my morning porridge, then mum made me a few banana sandwiches, and then I went shopping and found four reduced-priced packs of sandwiches, and two Cornish pasties, that I ate all in one go… followed by the other half of chocolate cake I had left!
It’s amazing how having different roads to ride, different destinations each day and different people to meet make this sort of riding possible – when I averaged 30 miles a day that was perhaps tough because there was a different kind of effort; one where I just had to make myself go out on my bike each day and put in the miles – pretty dull I suppose, but it was a target I set myself. This road trip made for a different kind of riding and I like my last shorter road trip a few years back I knew that once I got going and got into the swing of things it would become easier; it just took a long time, and even though I had awesome days, like the ones where I climbed massive hills with a grin on my face, or the day I did 130 miles (my personal best) just to catch a ferry that didn’t actually exist… even by the end I still wondered…
Is cycle touring for me!?
I met other people doing similar crazy things, or more so. Other first-timers, and some who have been doing this sort of thing for decades; spending months each each year just cycle touring. Was I one of them? I wasn’t so sure.
Now I just need another two and a half weeks to take it all in – it all seems like a blur!