Another full day of pedalling. More fresh snow, slow progress, slipping and sliding. Surely I’ve had enough of long-distance cycle-touring by now?
Evidently not. There still exists something which has brought me here to Norway on a bike in the wintertime.
It boils down, I think, to desperation. In the last few months I have become desperate to escape, if only briefly, the relative lifelessness of modern society, the fear and the cotton-wool wrapping, the island-dwellers’ delusion of grandeur. This is partly because I know a lot more about the alternatives than I used to.
Thousands die at sea and in deserts, having left their world behind to try for a piece of what we’ve got here. And we vote for governments who promise to keep them out of our nation, because they’ll take advantage of our opportunities.
But 90% of us settle for jobs we don’t really feel we’re meant to be doing. We watch trash TV and guzzle fashion-coffee from recycled cardboard cups. Health and fitness, apparently, are consumer products. We avoid each other in the street, and never say “hello”. Exactly what opportunities are being defended?
This little excursion is partly in protest of these abhorrent aspects of life in the UK, and all they represent. A dose of personal struggle, coupled with nature’s power to awe and belittle, to remind me what it is to be alive.
5 replies on “Day 3: Why”
I’ve been been reading through your site as I’m preparing for an unknown length and destination Tour when I finish University in the summer.
This post is the first I am commenting on as it has really struck a chord with my feelings, I need to ‘escape’ for a while too. The LEJOG tour I did when I was 16 was the most life-changing experience I have had, the way it changed all my priorities in life, and such an experience is calling me again.
Hope all is well, and congratulations on the funding for the Kickstarter.
Here in Dorset we stop and chat whilst dog-walking, we nod and smile at other cyclists, we say good morning. I’ve had long conversations with complete strangers. If i fall I have nationalised healthcare, if i’m tired i can put the tv on and absorb information, i can read my books or listen to some music, i can go to a pub, bar or park. I have broadband, wi-fi too. I can believe in any god i want, i can cycle all over the place on safe cycle tracks, i can buy plentiful food, i can visit lectures, i can practise astronomy, i visit sites of special scientific interest, i can climb a mountain, i can walk in a forest. If i’m unhappy about homeopathy on the nhs, say, i can write to my mp and then not vote for her or him if i’m unhappy with them. I can live to 85. I can live off the grid, on the grid, i can be get a job, i can teach evolution, i can teach deep-time geology. The shops are full of books and magazines. The tracks get muddy and snowy here too. I can be an atheist if i choose. I can demand progress, i can vote for it. We have a royal society, we have the bbc, we have hopes and freedoms and schools and universities and ethical societies and legal protests. I can buy organic, i can buy conventional, i can annoyed that i cany buy gm and do something about it. I can keep bees, i can start a club, i can walk to work, i can jog to the post office. We have a national space agency now, started by the labour government, who put aside Chagos as a top quality marine reserve, we have Jodrell Bank, the science museum, we are developing fusion reactors, we can influence, work as much or as little aa we want, live on a commune, erect a turbine, live in a yurt, start a smallholding, eat meat or not. There is freedom here. Yeah, it needs to be improved, but be thankful for the greatness and work on improving it. Saying all that, i’m moving to new zealand. 🙂
Mark, everyone knows Dorset is a massive hippy outpost! 😉
Joking aside, you’ve listed some of the enviable opportunities we have, which are great. My protest is about how much of those opportunities are wasted through complacency, laziness and fear. If you want some figures, start here:
As for improving it, that’s one of the reasons for blogging this trip — share and inspire.
Amazing photos — beautiful scenery; cycling must be tough!
If only people would get up and out in to the outdoors. People just don’t appreciate the things we are capable of; we can do more than 9 to 5 jobs and watching TV.
Totally agree with your thoughts on modern society/governments & completely understand your “protest”.
The photos are great — looks frigid and daunting, yet other-wordly-beautiful. Good for you for challenging yourself to the core. It is a bit crazy what you’re doing!! Rest days will be well-deserved. 🙂