Welcome to the 2015 Diary Series
In this addition, I will tackle the nerves of leaving home comforts behind and giving advice on how to take the first step towards freedom.
Due to the ongoing lack of international travel opportunities (thank you, COVID), I am doing a throwback of sorts and sharing my travel journal from 2015. My first taste of a mega bike riding odyssey. It spaned 50 days of cycling from Sheffield, England, to Lisbon, Portugal.
I will share one entry per day. Packing them alongside tips or lessons that might be useful to pass on to any would-be first-time bike-packers.
If you are planning a trip, or want to know more about any of the posts, please ask. I hope you enjoy them.
Sheffield to Warwick, Via Nuneaton
It took me a long time to get ready and leave this morning. I was terrified of leaving the house and I procrastinated. The surreal feeling of shutting the door and post the key through the letterbox made me both excited and nervous because it marked the beginning of my adventure.
The Big Realisation
This is it. I am officially on my trip.
I have cycled this route a few times already. The familiarity was what I needed to test ride my bike with the extra weight. But even with the additional baggage, it was a breeze.
My cycling style will have to be amended to a slow and steady rhythm, cause there is no chance I will be able to go fast with this big bag on my back. I am an idiot for not testing it out before (Oh well, too late now).
I needed to pick up some innertubes before leaving the city. When I got to the bike shop, the dude behind the counter said, you are brave to be doing it with all that luggage on a road bike. I tried to play it cool and put on an act of confidence because I felt stupidly underprepared, but I reckon he saw straight through it.
Calming My Nerves
I stopped at Nuneaton to visit my aunt, and also met a little new baby of the family. We shared an excessive amount of kisses as that seemed to be his thing. It was wholesome, and I was stoked to meet him. Collecting all those drool face kisses was a perfect send-off.
Back on the road, I continued on to my mum’s house (which was a further 30 miles in the dark). The irony was not lost on me. My first night of freedom, and I’m staying at my mum’s house. YAY!!!
It was brilliant to see my family. Today was the remedy I did not know I needed to settle my nerves.
Daily Distance, 146km/90 Miles. Total Distance, 146km/90 Miles.
Taking the first step can be daunting. You put a lot of time and effort into this moment, and it can be overwhelming when it comes. It feels like you are taking a leap of faith into the unknown, and guess what, that is exactly what you are doing. When you arrive at this moment, my advice on how to take the first step is to remember that you have put yourself in this position because you want to have a fantastic life-changing experience. Be strong, take a deep breath and have the courage to go live your dream.
This seems really obvious in hindsight, but at the time I overlooked it. It was stupid of me and it could have been a problem. If you are planning a long trip (extra important if you are bike-packing), you should see if you can physically carry everything you want to take with you.
That also means testing your gear and equipment work like you need them to. I got lucky, but it could have been a problem that caused me to delay my trip.
Lessons to Learn – Advice for the Next time I take that First Step
Of course, some things will not work as you had planned, that is why I am glad there was a sense of familiarity with this one. On my next adventure, I will not be so quick to give myself a hard time, because its all part of the experience.
Thanks for Reading
To read more of my adventures CLICK HERE or type ,2015 Diary into the search bar. You can also check out that days ride on STRAVA. If you have enjoyed this content, and are able to do so, please consider buying me a coffee to help me provide you with more, by hitting the button below.