Every Day’s A School Day

We have a saying at work (or maybe it’s just me, at work). That saying up there – the title of the post.

“Every day’s a school day”

Now while we do work in a museum that has all sorts of UK and overseas school visits, that’s not what we (I) mean.

Every day we learn something new. Whether it’s a fix for a specific problem, something about a colleague, the place we work in or how to do our jobs better. We’re always learning something. And that’s the point in life isn’t it?

And you can always learn more from a failure than you can from a success.

So what am I going to take away from this experience?

Well… This post will be written over several days, and I’ll break it down into categories and add to them as I go.

Bikepacking 

The art of stuffing everything into a pushbike and sodding off. Handy tips I have discovered so far.

  • Wheel size doesn’t matter – sure, larger wheels with thinner tires roll better on the road, but they’re also less comfortable and more prone to damage. Obviously I’m second guessing my choice of bike here, but do it on something you’re comfortable on and plan your route accordingly.
  • Spread the weight – put it everywhere. Load the back tire a bit more than the front (or the steering can get weird), but try and put some weight up there as well. Just remember to keep it as low as possible. Packed right, you’ll barely even notice it (until you get to a hill).
  • Lights, lock, spares, tools – this would also fit into the category below. You’re just going to need them, so take them.
  • Carrier bags – most cycling luggage (or certainly all of the stuff I’ve bought, which is a mix of Topeak, Roswheel and Halfords own brand stuff) seems to let a bit of water in. Not much, but a bit. And even if you do get waterproof stuff, you’ll still be putting damp things in them. So carrier bags.
  • Weight – you don’t need to cut the handle off your toothbrush. There’s a lot to be said for being comfortable. I mean don’t carry 4 litres of water or anything silly, but be reasonable.
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – they were right. Bring a towel. The micro ones are pretty good, dry out quickly and are useful in all sorts of ways, particularly for drying out the condensation on the inside of a tent.


Long Distance Cycling

We’re talking more than 100km here, although I guess some of the same will apply to shorter rides.

  • Plan your route. If you don’t like hills, be prepared to do more distance to make up for it and vice versa.
  • Give yourself time. Plenty of it. Firstly because shit just happens and you’ll have to deal with it, but secondly because what’s the point in getting out there if you don’t have time to see and experience any of it?
  • Look after your body – eat right, drink right, rest right. Make adjustments if you need to, whether they’re to route, itinerary or set up.
  • Look after your bike – clean it, maintain it, investigate odd noises.
  • It’s harder alone (no giggling at the back!) – it just is. Support is important, so is company. And it makes me talk to myself…


Life in General

Trips like this give you time to think…

  • It’s nice getting out there and doing stuff, but it’s nicer with people you care about or who’s company you enjoy.
  • Be adaptive – like I said further up, shit just happens and you have to make the most of it. It took me a couple of days, but I’m now feeling better about things. Although the JOGLE hasn’t worked out, there’s no reason to not enjoy what happens now.
  • Critics – you will always be your own harshest critic. Unless you’re some sort of narcissistic bastard, in which case probably not.

So there you go. 

I will plan something else, but I’ll see a doctor first about my back and then I’ll bear in mind everything I’ve learned on this trip. It’s turned into a very nice (if a little rushed) drive around the British Isles.

Ah well.

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