I’m starting to think I’m a really selfish person.
When I started planning the next long distance ride, I honestly didn’t know if I’d be doing it alone or with any number of other people. That was back in November. It very quickly became apparent that I’d probably be doing it by myself due to the entirely legitimate real life commitments of the other people.
So since then I’ve been planning to do it by myself. The only bit I thought I’d need some help with was actually getting to the start line (it’s a long way from Kent to John O’Groats). So, mum to the rescue! And she’d stick around for the first few days of the journey as well. I’d meet up with her in the evening at points along the way and she’d do her own thing during the day.
I’ve planned to be as safe and contactable as possible. People will be able to track my progress via GPS, I’ll have my phone with me, I’ll call at the start and end of every day and be able to update folks as I go. I’m not planning on cycling in the dark, but I’m taking lights just in case. I’ll be wearing a helmet – I look stupid, but so does everyone and it’s just common sense.
It’s now at a point where it looks like someone else might want to do it with me – maybe one or two someone elses – and I’m not entirely sure I’m happy with that.
I’d got used to the idea of doing it by myself. I was quite comfortable with that idea. As much as it’s hard for some people to believe (and without meaning to insult my nearest and dearest) I was looking forward to the prospect of getting away for 8 days and just having time to myself.
I understand the concerns that some people, in particular my wife, have regarding my ability to cope mentally. After my last big ride in September 2015 I had what I can only really describe as a “bumpy patch” of depression which may or may not have been connected with the anti-climax of finishing the ride and just going back to the daily grind. She is concerned that a bigger ride might lead to a deeper depression. There is at least one important difference in that I am currently medicated, but I don’t know how long that will go on and therefore if I will be when we get to the date of the ride in late July.
I’m actually at the point of considering whether or not to pull out of the whole thing entirely. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve already received £65 worth of donations for my chosen charity I probably would have done already (only to instantly regret it).
As well as being selfish, I’m also a bit self destructive.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s a bit too much, but then the stubborn bastard in me thinks “shut up and get on with it”. I know the ride is going to be tough. I’m not under any illusions about that. After doing 200 miles last year I honestly could have done another few days if only I’d had the few days off instead of having to get back to work pretty quickly. The only real problems came from one small accident and simply getting a bit lost every now and then. Hopefully I’ll be accident free, but I can’t guarantee it and I hope I’ve taken reasonable steps to ensure that I can navigate a bit easier than last time as well. I can be fairly self sufficient when I need to be so as well as being able to deal with the odd flat tire (which is entirely to be expected) I can deal with most more major mechanical issues sort of shearing an axle or snapping the frame. I should be reasonably comfortable in the evenings. Two nights I’m staying in hotels, once at a friend’s house on the route and the rest will be camping – which again I’m really looking forward to, especially the evening of guerrilla camping on Dartmoor. And I’ll have some creature comforts with me.
I really am at the point where whenever I picture any of the ride, I’m by myself.
That doesn’t mean I’m not looking forward to the end of it all, when I’ll be on holiday with my family in the West Country. Admittedly I might be spending most of it either sleeping or limping around, but as much as I am looking forward to time to myself for eight days, I’m also looking forward to time with other people afterwards.
So please, stop me self destructing, encourage me to carry out the ride and donate to the wonderful bike charity Re~Cycle. It might stop me having a meltdown in the next 5 months and either way it’ll go to a great cause. Follow the link here.