Craving to be out cycling and spending time camping in the beautiful outdoors, even if it is so dark the beauty is missed, is something I spend a lot of time doing. Leading up towards the end of this year has been no exception and I’ve been striving to get out and camp, even for just one night, and been unable to do it. But I’ve been asking, what’s stopping me and how can I fix it?
It’s unsurprising that with the festive period upon us I have been kept busy with my family, work colleagues, and boozy, commitments, so I’ve barely had time to pack my clothes to visit my family. Thank God for that ever growing pile of “I must iron these” clothes which served me well for a speedy and thoughtless packing process. Between all the Christmas dinner parties, farewell parties for friends off travelling and general festive logistics I’ve barely had time to breathe (Bah Humbug!) let alone consider taking some time off, God forbid, to actually do any peddling or relaxing in my hammock.
Another treat from this time of year is the big question about what to do for New Year’s. I have always found such a pressure to “go out with a BANG!” or “make a big fuss” or basically, all round, “do the right thing.” Like there is some overruling high-court correct decision to make. Well, I for one have had enough of all this absurdity so for the last few years I have treated New Year’s as an opportunity to just do what I want.
Now that being said the choice I make might mean taking up the chance to go to “that big party” with all my best friends in my hometown, just because that in itself is a great opportunity. It isn’t often you can get so many of your good friends in place at the same time. (That’s the same reason I enjoy the world cup despite not enjoying football because you’ll often be able to find loads of your friends scurried away in some pub somewhere) But recently, after a trip to see London friends, Becky & Jules, it was highlighted that our friends Tankus the Henge are not only playing a New Year’s gig but also are the guys who have been privileged to count in the new year.
So, after a little deliberation and discussion, it was decided…
Cycle to London it is then!
So, in the typical order of things, the natural progression to make was to decide to incorporate cycling into this newly acquired adventure. I have wanted to cycle from home to London a few times but never had the time available and with my itching desire to do a bit of a Saddle Life and some camping, and the time already booked off work, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Cycle to London!
Making it work
Of course, spending Christmas with my family in Swansea means that the start of this trip will be typical madness and making it work would be a rushed affair. I will need to load up the car, drive back up t’ North, unpack from Christmas, repack my bike and get it ready for the trip. A further difficulty will be the weight load required. I will not only need cycling clothes and my camping equipment but will also require a full outfit, including dress shoes and a coat, for going out on New Year’s Eve!! Then I’ll need to saddle up, turn around, and ideally make some tracks all in just one day. (We’ll see, all good intentions n’ that.)
If I don’t set off the same day it won’t be the end of the world, but given the time it would be nice to make a little head start and cycle south just enough to chip a few miles off the overall count and get passed Warrington where it becomes nice enough to settle down for the night.
This trip was almost cancelled after the forecast included all three of the poor weather condition (cold, wet, windy) which breaks the ‘two out of three’ rule. And not just any old wind but 40 mph gusts wind! But keeping a keen eye on the forecast over the last couple of days and it’s improved to hardly windy, not cold enough to deter sleeping in the trees and hardly raining, if not, not at all. So it is on! The planned route should be 190 miles so I will aim for 80, 80 and 30 miles. But if I can leave on the same day as getting home for Christmas, then I can chop 20 or 30 miles off the start taking the 80 days down to 70 or even 65 which creates SO much more time for drinking.
Below is the proposed route. There is little to prepare for this trip as there is a certain amount of comfort and safety in cycling in your home country. So have a Merry Christmas (pah! urgh) and I’ll post some updates on my way to the big fog.
Saddle Life x