So far this year there have been a lot of trips… Unfortunately I didn’t start Dirty Nomading earlier on, but in amongst the 8,000km’s I have ridden so far in 2013, here is a summary taste of all the times I have left the house this year hauling a bike bag with me and running the gauntlet of excess luggage:
- March – NZ Mountain bike trip (TP Training camp #1)
- April – The less than stellar (for me) Tour of Friendship in Thailand
- May – NZ Mountain bike trip to Rotorua (TP Training camp #2)
- June – Trans Provence Tour in France (the best week of Mountain Biking EVER)
- July – Whistler, Canada the Sequel and the Shredpocalypse
- July – Italy road riding paradise
- August – Japan and the iHawk tour of Niseko
The first thing that springs to mind of course is that I have been spoilt and extremely self indulgent, guilty on both counts, I am unable to mount a defence there. One of the downsides of being a cyclist (for me at least) is that you can be prone to bouts of extreme selfishness.
Not on purpose of course, but as a by-product of the pursuit of a passion that is all encompassing (that applies to purchasing and riding) and that has virtually no limits on where you can do it and how often, other than your own abilities to recover and stay intact.
This is the continual and silent battle that is always raging between life and cycling. Some decide to roll the two together (Tell tale traits – They own a single speed and will eat dinner in worn out lycra, super bad form), but for most of us its a case of active management to allow us to get the constant fix needed.
Is this a post dedicated to discussing how to get more riding in without work or partner issues? No, I’m not that complex… Instead I wanted to relay one of the main things that I have learnt across the course of the trips listed above. And its simply this equation:
Travelling = Awesome
Travelling + Bike = Absolutely rad
Travelling + Bike + Mates = Unbeatable
The last one in bold will seem so obvious that you’ll want to slap me across the face with a dead rodent, but this is the epiphany that has slowly made its way into my cycling selfish brain over the past few months.
Yes, its fantastic riding and exploring solo and that can be a great experience. But, if I reflect on Trans Provence, Rotorua, Italy and Japan the biggest learning for me is that its ultimately about who you are riding with and not what you are riding.
Nothing makes a ride or a trip like the people that you are with and they are indeed the most important ingredient. Be it the home boy/girl that you organised the trip with or the guide that you laugh with or at every day on the trip, the influence that people have on these experience and their ability to enhance them is what its all about. Case studies – I wouldn’t have done TP without the Wolf and the Doc, I wouldn’t have done Italy without Clarso and there is no way Japan would have happened without the Hawk. My brain melts out my ears at the concept that all the experiences I had and all the material I produced (photos, stories and video) wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for those people.
“No shit man” I hear you mouth as you read this… And I admit, its fairly obvious I know. But its easy to forget or take it for granted, to get annoyed when someone is late for a ride or does something cockish. My weeks of travelling and riding have reinforced one thing for me: Appreciate the people that are important to you and go out of your way to encourage them to travel with their bikes to ride with you somewhere that is new for the whole crew. Next time someone/the crew calls you for a roadie, don’t think “I can’t”, fuck that and think “How can I do this?” (also makes it way easier for me to blog if you come along and do funny shit).
So, that’s my big philosophical break through… Appallingly obvious really and to cap it off, just a massive thank you to everyone that has been part of those trips and experience this year, they wouldn’t have happened or been what they were without you:
I am not sure what is next, but I know that I will be aiming to ride somewhere great with great people (F*ck, I am sure that’s a bad cliche somewhere?). Nothing beats getting to the end of a run or section of track/road and giving a buddy the “That was GOLD” fist pump… Never take it for granted.
Ok, I haven’t been drinking but that’s about as D&M as this shit is ever going to get, so I promise normal service will resume with the next post.