The Surprising Truth About Cycling Across A Continent

Yesterday, Tim & Laura Moss went for a bike ride.

They set off from Tim’s place near London and pedalled across the Surrey Hills for a few pleasant hours beneath glorious sunshine.

In the evening, they stopped riding and pitched camp.

This morning, they got up, had breakfast, and packed away their tent. (Or so I assume. They might well be having a lie-in.)

Imagine they’re now cycling back to Tim’s place. Some would call what they’ve done a #microadventure. Others, an S24O. Most of us wouldn’t bother with silly buzzwords and would just call it a bike ride with a some camping thrown in.

And most of us wouldn’t feel too concerned about the prospect of doing something similar – right?

Arrival in Edinburgh

Tim & Laura aren’t cycling back to Tim’s place. They’re going to continue in the same direction as yesterday. They’re going to pitch camp again tonight. And they’re going to keep doing. Until they get to Australia.

* * *

The only difference between going away for a night and going halfway round the planet is repetition.

For how long could you repeat a pleasant day’s ride followed by an interesting evening under the stars?

Quite a while, I’ll bet, if every day were different to the last. And I’m betting that the prospect sounds a lot less arduous than ‘cycling to Australia’. (Unless you’re reading this in Australia. Substitute for ‘England’.)

It is critical to understand this, the present-moment on-the-ground reality of cycling across continents, if we dream of doing so ourselves. We cannot allow the epic scale of the idea to overwhelm us. When we reduce our thinking to the scale of the constituent parts involved – a simple bike ride and a night in the great outdoors – the idea suddenly feels eminently manageable.

(So manageable, ironically, that those for whom the ‘insurmountable challenge’ is the driving force are often disappointed by the truth.)

Tim’s been blogging for years and I have no doubt that his and Laura’s unfolding journey will be an inspiration to many. You can follow it at thenextchallenge.org. I’ll revisit his story in a few months’ time to see just how far all those day-rides and overnight camps have taken them…

8 Responses to “The Surprising Truth About Cycling Across A Continent”

  1. Chris

    Great post. Will try to remember this when looking at maps of the vast expanse of Asia!

    Reply
  2. Rian Cope

    Good way of looking at it. Will try to implement this theory when convincing my wife to cycle around the world.

    Reply
  3. Andy Welch

    Yes, I agree, I guess you stick to the habit and everything else happens around that, but then again I guess this begs the question of if and why you break the habit 😉

    Reply
  4. Tony Slattery

    A great way to think of a long journey. I am off around europe next year for 6 months or so no fix plans after I reach Denmark .
    So this way of thinking make it more managable.

    Reply
  5. StuartC

    Great advice is timeless. And 4 years after this post was written, I’m about to embark (next week) on my grand cycle across the USA, this advice is as helpful in grounding my nerves now as I’m guessing has been for riders then and since.

    Reply

Leave a Reply