Finding the perfect pace is tough. Push too hard and you’ll find yourself exhausted. Leave too much in the tank and you’ll find yourself wishing you went a little harder or rode a little longer. Finding your rhythm is the key. Oddly enough, a good pace isn’t just about how fast you ride. Riding itself is a pace.
Moving 100-150 km a day really allows you to take in what’s happening around you. That awareness is stepped up to another level on a bike. The simplest of things catch your attention; from a sugar cane truck passing to a local selling a national dish on the side of the road. Travelling so slowly allows you to see small things like this and take the time to think about how different it is to life back home. It is the same with the landscapes. Cycling through the Sudanese desert and riding past the Nile, you really have time to take it all in. Stop, take a photo, chat to a local. It takes a long time for a landscape to change when you are on a bike, so when it does, you really notice it, you really appreciate it.
When travelling by car, train or plane, things move so fast you really don’t appreciate the vast landscape you’re in or the little town you’re passing through, often, because you’re distracted by everyday norms like social media, email & work. That may feel normal, until you experience life on the road on a bicycle.
Undertaking a human powered adventure requires focus. Can you imagine trying to reply to your boss while pedalling up a hill in Ethiopia? Probably not. That forced separation is what really differentiates life on a cycling tour from any other kind of travel. For the majority of your day, it’s just you and your bike. Sometimes you’ll cycle in a group while at others you’ll stop at a local cafe and spend half an hour chatting to someone about what you’re doing cycling across Africa and why you’re doing it. For most of the day, it’s just you, your bike and the road.
We live a life where we love to be busy. We always seem to have a million things to do; work, grocery shopping, chores – the list goes on and on. Being on tour, all that is stripped away. Life gets simpler and there’s a lot of time to fill. When you’ve got an epic road to cycle, a new city to explore or new friends from different parts of the world to chat with, having that extra time is everything.
Travelling like this allows you to stop and breathe, to appreciate the small things and embrace simplicity.
Life on tour is like nothing else.