Ladies and Gents, I give you the vocal talents of Eve, feat Swizz Beatz.
Hardly the most iconic of songs ever written, but as I pressed shuffle on Spotify this was the first to play.
From this point forward, Tambourine would become an anthem for me, for at that very moment I was turning the first pedals of my LeJogLe attempt, a 10 day cycle from Lands-end to John O’Groats, and back again – hailed by nearly everyone I knew as foolhardy, reckless, and out of reach of all but the most committed and long-standing of cyclists.
I’d been riding for 6 months, so I was both reckless and foolhardy!
It’s been exactly 6 years since I pedalled off on that fateful day, the start of a 10 day journey that would change my view on life, an adventure that would go a long way to helping me free my mind; broadening it beyond my wildest expectations.
At this point, day one of LeJogLe would be my longest ever bike ride, to say I was nervous would have been an understatement. As I started pedalling through the car park my mind turned to the map of the UK on the wall at my boy’s school, and I could picture the next two weeks of my life – I felt utterly tiny against this 1,800 mile challenge, yet here I was clipping-in and heading out *I distinctly recall laughing like a child at this point, I was papping it!
I’ve not written a blog post in over a year, so this 6 year anniversary seemed like an opportunity to get into the flow again; I’m going to try and write 10 posts in 10 days.
I want to express some of the things I’ve been lucky enough to learn over that time: from riding stupidly far, to learning to deal with failure, I’ve had opportunities galore, and this seems like as good a time as any to put them down.
Even now, 6 years after LeJogLe some days I can still taste the thrill of riding into John O’groats (I’ve been back few times now), savouring the views and the realisation that I’m about to turn around and do it all again!
Cycling is freedom, it offers the rider the opportunity to experience every part of their country, but unlike a car, it makes the rider truly participate in the journey, we develop relationships with landscapes that aren’t comparable with other modes of transport, we earn our views through toil and self-imposed struggle, and even when the incline gets too much for our legs and beating heart, we may choose to climb off, but we still have to force ourselves to the top – I hope over the next 2 weeks you will come with me on this journey, through those struggles (including some crappy prose, of that i have no doubt!) and you’ll get a taste of what’s on offer!
Cycling has taken me to and across 4 continents, inside professional pelotons, and to some of the finest restaurants imaginable, it’s even helped me get a Master’s degree – and along the way I’ve met some incredible people, become a better father, and (I sincerely hope) I’ve developed into a better, more caring, more sincere husband (that’s not to say cycling has been entirely positive but more on that over the next couple of weeks).
There are very few emotions better than rolling in to a finish line spent, having given all, knowing that you don’t need to get up and repeat it all again the next day.