Exploring is such a crucial part of cycling to me, and something I’ve not done enough of lately. This is a blog post from a few years ago, when I wasn’t training but just enjoying riding my bike.
With a failed attempt at making Banana & Oat pancakes and a driving lesson that was a bit more successful out of the way, I decided to head out on my bike and have my lunch en route.
Regardless of the long climb that kicked off my XC type ride, it was going well. I’d reached my first ‘checkpoint’, meaning the first place I’d stop … Ha! I blame the heat…not that I am complaining about that round yellow thing in the sky at the moment!
Now I would be getting onto the trails, although my bars were to wide for the first part so I had to manoeuvre my bike through this narrow section. When finally on the bike I come round the corner to find a smiling golden retriever popping his head out of the bracken.
Naturally, I stopped!
Who doesn’t for a cute dog?
It turns out the dog’s owner had only recently adopted him and that he’d previously been locked in a shed for 9 years. 9 years! Yet you couldn’t tell what an awful time this gorgeous dog had been though. Digging. Rolling round getting covered in dirt! Making the most of the freedom he’d never had.
Leaving the retriever to his mischievous ways I carried on along the trails. This little section was actually running really well and I don’t think I’ve ever ridden it when it’s dusty!
Now at the bottom of the valley, it was time for more climbing. Just me, my bike and some hills. I was more than happy.
The forest I was riding in is pretty quiet. It’s rare that you will bump into anyone. With the trees towering above me and the sun peeking through, all I could hear was the wind and birds. No faint rumble of cars in the distance. No aeroplanes. Nothing. It was ideal.
Climbing up through the forest followed by some singletrack through overgrown bracken, the forest thinned out and a style stopped me in my tracks. With open fields on the other side combined with how high up in the hills I was, the blue skies meant the view was picturesque.
Still with no rumble of traffic, I actually wasn’t all that far from home. Yet it felt like I was miles away.
I thought I was starting to lose my sense of adventure, but I’m definitely not. When life feels like it’s going at 100mph, rides like these help me take a step back and realise how lucky I actually am.
Off through the fields with the sheep staring at me looking quite confused, I would soon be back on some back roads and begin my ride home. But, have you ever been somewhere so peaceful and perfect you genuinely don’t want to leave?