Reflections on Cycling the World – A 10 Part Series – Part 4
We continue with our 10 part series, ‘Reflections on Cycling the World‘, by Henry Gold, Founder of TDA Global Cycling.
“In early 2002, without a job or money, having just turned 50, I decided that it was time to do something drastic, something that had never been done before, something that would set me off in a completely new direction in my life. Thus was born the Tour d’Afrique. In the 16 years since, I have cycled on six continents, seen a few countries, met a lot of people, and had plenty of time to think.
Each blog in our 10 part series features five thoughts drawn from my experiences over those sixteen years of cycling around the world. I hope that these meditations will inspire you to get on a bike – whether to cycle around your local city, your province or state, your country, or even another continent. Every ride is an adventure bound to expand your physical and inner world. You will not regret it.”
On Your Comfort Zone
Comfort rhymes with luxury, American Express Card, indulgence, narcissism and other such modern nonsense and should become your focus only after you have reached your eighth decade on this planet. Or when your butt is hurting!
On a Bike Saddle
Whether you like it or not, if you are going to be cycling long distances, day in day out, the most vulnerable part of your body is your butt. Protect it more than your wallet. Make sure you have a good saddle that works for you.
In the modern world luxury travel has reached unprecedented, I dare say grotesque, levels. It seems that, for many, this approach to travel is now their ultimate goal. Countless people now jet off to faraway places only to enter a hedonistic fantasy land. You can take a selfie, share with your friends and maximize their envy (you secretly hope). In my opinion, however, simplicity is much better. Sharing a yurt with a dozen of your friends after you have climbed 3,000 m beats a 5 star spa anytime. As the true renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Luxury is actually a marketing device that is there to mislead you, a way for you to submit yourself at the altar of false gods. Luxury is packaged to you as a five star experience and a first class ticket. However, real luxury is actually something else. It is sharing great moments with strangers who are not there to serve you, experiencing an authentic sense of a life worth living, contributing to others because you can and doing something worthwhile that you can be proud of. Like walking two hours pushing your bike because you just had six flat tires and you ran out of patches.
On Having a Bucket List
Italian writer, scholar and intellectual Umberto Eco once said “How, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible?” Apparently by making a bucket list. That is fine and dandy, but, really, will you grasp the incomprehensible by seeing the 7 wonders of new world or cycling the 7 epics? Life and travel is about learning, sharing, experiencing and remembering. Not ticking things off a list. My advice? Kick the bucket list as far away as you can.
On Seeking Thrills and Adventures
Thrills are great fun, adventures even more so. It is what you learn from them, what you experience while doing them, that is important. For myself, facing a silverback gorilla in the wilderness and going into a submissive position taught me more about wildlife and human behaviour than reading endless issues of Psychology Today.