50 Reflections on Cycling the World
A few years back TDA’s founder Henry Gold collected some of the lessons he has learned and the reflections he has had over his years working and traveling abroad in support of this company he built. The result was 50 insightful and quirky nuggets spread over a 10-part series called Reflections of Cycling the World. We thought this year – our 20th year in business – was a good moment to revisit his words of wisdom. Below we highlight one of his insights from each of the 10 parts of his series.
“Nowadays, nearly everyone has a smart phone and probably a GPS. We are obsessed with reaching our destination. But things happen – you lose your phone, your GPS runs out of power and you get lost. Well, not really, you are not lost, but you are not likely in the middle of the Amazon or the Sahara desert. You are probably somewhere where there are people and transportation. You are not really lost – you just don’t know where you are. Do not worry, in fact enjoy it. Be spontaneous. Follow the wind. You will be more alert and observant when you do not depend on technology. You will have much, much more fun and far better stories to tell.” Read more.
“Though it may sound completely preposterous, there really are angels flying around everywhere and they can take the appearance of normal strangers who just want to help you. I know because I have met several of them. How do I know they are angels? Because they show up suddenly when you need them the most and then, just as suddenly, they disappear. Like getting on a bike and having faith that you will not fall, you just have to have a little faith in humanity.” Read more.
“You hear dozens of successful entrepreneurs saying that every problem presents an opportunity. The same applies when travelling the world. A problem is an opportunity to use your brain, not only to solve the problem, but to take you on a completely different tangent and therein lies an opportunity.” Read more.
“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!” Read more.
“Most wildlife has a genetic knowledge of mankind and as a result it tends to move away as fast as it can when it hears or smells us. They know that we are the species to fear. Cycling, however, being faster than walking, gives you more of a chance to experience close encounters with wildlife – though it most likely contributes to a shorter life for the animals themselves. Keep that sober thought in mind in the excitement of the moment.” Read more.
“God bless them. I’ve experienced that the poorer the country, the better the mechanics. It is amazing what one can do without the right tools and proper spare parts when you have no other choice.” Read more.
“A wise African once told me; ‘Good roads many people, bad roads good people’. He was referring to the fact that once a new, fast modern road is built, it brings with it all sorts of activities that do not necessarily improve the lives of locals. So when a road is causing you to ponder on your sanity and you have visions of arthritis in your future, remember that you probably belong to the ‘good people’.” Read more.
“You have probably heard it a million times. Set your goals and follow them relentlessly but, if you do not take some unexpected detours from your set itinerary, you may never discover why you left home in the first place.” Read more.
“Like getting robbed, falling is mostly harmless. Getting a scratch here and there, a bruised ego, maybe even some pain, will perhaps lead to a necessary small lesson. Most importantly, it is good practice for life since we all know that, in life, we all have plenty of opportunity to fall and fail. If we are smart, we get up, check the wounds and move on.” Read more.
“Water is the source of all life. Yet it never ceases to amaze me that when a raindrop or two hits the head of a cyclist, they seem to think an immediate disaster is coming their way. Instead, I suggest that, as the raindrops begin falling, start belting out ‘Singing in the Rain’.” Read more.