Andrew Sykes in his book Crossing Europe on a bike called Reggie (great read btw) talked of all the procrastinating before his first big tour. Reading his other books I feel he likes to continue with it too, especially when given the choice of more than one path to ride ahead. Perhaps all cyclists are good at procrastinating. Hours, Days, Weeks, Months or even longer are frequently given over to procrastinating over how to fulfill Rule 12 (including Andrew) and other basic cycling needs and I know I fall into this camp too. Then there are others who’s efforts and activities appear to far outweigh whatever procrastinating they might have been doing in the run up to an epic adventure. I’m sure Mark Beaumont did a whole lot of procrastinating before each of his amazing expeditions and journeys but we can happily ignore all that, his achievements speak to us not of procrastination but of getting it done. His outing with GCN rider Si Richardson on a little lesser adventure, the North Coast 500, has really whetted my appetite for some bike packing. Bring it on! Where Andrew and Mark appear to differ is on route planning. Andrew likes to keep the day fluid with just a general idea of the next places to travel through, whereas I suspect Mark is a detail person who likes to plan his routes carefully.
I’m certainly no adventurer and I’m not even in the Andrew Sykes league of cycle tourists yet (and indeed probably won’t ever get there) but there are some things I think I can move on from with no further procrastination. I just need to get things done. I don’t like rules so lets have some guiding lights:
- Travel light (ish)
- Ride on paved surfaces (and avoid prescribed routes – No NCN’s or EuroVelos for me – The Strava heatmap is my friend)
- Ride swiftly but stop often
- Route plan at least a day ahead and let the GPS receiver do the navigating
- Find something/somewhere interesting to add to OpenStreetMap each day