If you are of a similar vintage to me and have children or been about them, you’ll probably remember the children’s book by Michael Rosen with the infamous chorus “we’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to find a big one, we’re not scared. It’s a beautiful day”….
So I have just turned 47 and decided to go on a bear hunt too! Yes its planned to be a big one, I’m not scared, I am petrified… but i do believe that when we wake up in a new day (and before we look out of the window to judge the weather, or cringe with those first thoughts about how we think, the day will unfold) that it IS a beautiful day.
On Monday (5th October) I am definitely…. well assuming the storms pass, the rain stops and everything in my life is perfect am setting off on a journey, in fact let’s call it an adventure from now…around the UK on my bicycle. WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING…. My bike is not a touring bike; I’m far from fit and my sparrows kneecaps and legs resemble a chess players not a grande tourer; I am not really sure where I’m going, in fact where i’m allowed to go and where i expect to be every night. I have a great job with loads of prospects and, where my self confidence is regrowing i’ll be on my own and to be honest i’ve never really liked my own company much. Oh and then there’s COVID, local lockdowns and the fact its getting damned cold…but you know what, I can’t wait.
I guess that’s a bit selfish of me, but I need to do this for so many reasons…And after all the family who went on the bear hunt had no idea what lied ahead either, they just knew that when they woke up that morning (a beautiful day) that the day was theirs.
My preparation has been terrible. I came up with this ridiculous idea 2 weeks ago and had planned to go last week but, the bicycle gods we’re watching over me. I knew my bike wasn’t perfect but on my first ride around the sodden country roads and villages where we live, the gears slipped under any power and believe me, current power is pretty low, or up any hills, in fact they are hardly hills in comparison to some of the gradients i’m going to look up to on my adventure. My bike visited 2 bike shops for a check-up and likely treatment. Let’s not mention the first though they did refund me which was kind (I wonder how often you’ll pick up on my sarcasm over the coming months). I called a friend, a friend who’s done many adventures like this one. Voltz bikes near Mansfield. The place was small, discrete and smelt of oil, this was promising. I met Ryan who took notice in what i was doing to ensure i’d make it and as soon as he put my bike on his stand he saw the chain was stretched and would test for other problems. “When were you meant to be going” he asked, “Tomorrow” i said as he raised his eyebrows. “Lets see what we can do” and I left with a warm feeling my bike was in the right hands. Two days later Ryan called “Have you got your lycra on, its running like a dream”. Thirty quid spent and Ryan even threw me one of his own brand T-shirts which i’ll talk about later on.
What can I say. This act of kindness from Ryan and his team at Voltz Cycles reinstalled my confidence in the fact that this journey was possible and is going to be alright….