There are many reasons why I cycle. Avoiding becoming clinically obese is close to the top of the list, as that’s what I almost certainly would be, given the amount of calories I consume in a day. I clearly enjoy the physical challenge of cycling too. I get a real buzz from flying down hills and sometimes (but not often) even get a perverted sense of pleasure whilst suffering up long mountain climbs too. I also find cycling incredibly beneficial for my general sanity levels in that it is really good for clearing my head and gives me a chance to regularly switch off from ‘the daily grind’.
A big reason I enjoy being on a bike is the things I see whilst riding. This morning I cycled for a couple of hours from my parents’ house in Bewdley to Ludlow in the West Midlands. It’s a ride I’ve done dozens of times before, but every time I go, I discover something new. Some of today’s highlights included a pirate-themed pub:
…some Easter Island head statues in someone’s garden (I’m totally getting some of these when I have a garden of my own). These instantly transported me away from the wet and windy Hurrican Jude weather to more warmer climes.
I also spotted some skeletons sitting down for a bit of dinner in a shop window as the nation gets ready for Halloween:
I’ll never get tired of reaching Ludlow Castle either. They’ve got cannons outside and everything! Today I noticed one of cannons had a plaque on it saying it had been “captured from Sevastopol”, which led me subsequently to do some research on just where Sevastopol is (it’s in the Ukraine) and what happened there.
I do also get a disturbing amount of pleasure from road signs too…whether it’s a trophy shot you can brag to your mates about how hardcore you are going up/down this kind of terrain:
or slightly more surreal road signs like this one about the dangers of feeding sheep. Just what would happen, for example, if you fed those sheep? The mind boggles.
I also saw one cyclist getting blown off his bike into a hedge by the strong winds Hurrican Jude was bringing with her. I didn’t think it was appropriate to take a picture though, instead opting for the more friendly offer of pulling him out of the foliage. I do wish I had videod it though.
Spotting all these things as I ride along not only takes my mind off the pain my body is in, but for me it’s like being on a small adventure every time I go out on my bike. A microadventure maybe. The adventurer Alastair Humphreys knows a thing or two about these if you want to find out more.
So, get exploring the few miles around where you live. Do it on your bike and get ready to be blown away by the unexpected things you’ll discover.