If you were to type a search on the internet for “quotes” you would be inundated with millions of pages all dedicated to excerpts of phrases that inspire, ridicule and among other things paraphrase the human condition. A similar search for “cycling quotes” throws up nearly 18 million results. There is obviously something about quotes that we find inspirational; social media is full of them, we print them on T-shirts and posters and even tattoo them on our bodies.
In the 1980s, Dr Robert Butler, the founder of the National Institute on Ageing, remarked: “If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.”
Over seven days I have been lucky enough to be involved in three Sport Relief events: riding with Zoe Ball from Blackpool to Brighton; with Alex Jones and four mums for the One Show Mother of All Challenges and the Radio One DJ, Greg James, as he resumed his previously aborted Pedal to the Peaks. It all added up to a distance of 541 miles and a dizzying 26,713ft of ascent.
I was lucky enough to spend the last five weeks guiding cyclists in Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Before you get too jealous, the Canary Islands were experiencing some of their worst weather in years with high winds, torrential rain and enough snow to block roads. It got to the point where I was looking forward to coming home and getting some decent weather – I arrived in Scotland just in time for the Beast from the East to make its appearance.
Over the last nine weeks I’ve looked at various cycling related activities that if you haven’t already done so, you might want to stick on your “to-do” list for 2018. It is of course a subjective list and open to personal opinion, so feel free to ignore any or all of my suggestions. Ultimately, if you are out on your bike and doing something you love, then there should be no higher purpose in cycling.
A ride on a bicycle should really be all about the journey and not the destination, but it doesn’t hurt to have a pre-planned start and finish point to inspire a little jaunt on two-wheels.
If it’s good enough for Sir Chris Hoy, then it’s good enough for anyone.
For me the cycling season is neatly bracketed by the twice-yearly changing of the clocks. Although it’s not too long until we jump forward an hour and welcome the lighter evenings, there is still some time left to enjoy the darkness that we have left.
Cycling on the chain of islands that make up the Outer Hebrides is unlike any other kind of biking. The islands are wild and remote with a healthy dash of windswept thrown in for good measure, but the experience will stay with you forever.
Riding for 24 hours - 17 of those in darkness, in the depths of a Scottish winter - may not seem like everybody’s way to enjoy a bike ride, but it certainly has caught the imagination of a lot of cyclists and at 10am today hundreds more will be charging towards their bikes for the 13th annual Strathpuffer.