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.