How an idea becomes a plan
I have decided that I am going to cycle from Scotland to London. ‘Are you crazy?’ I hear you say. Let me tell you where this idea became a result of turning something negative into a positive thing. A few months ago, I booked a personal growth conference in London. The first thing I was thinking about was how good it would be to have a bike when I am in London to easily get to the conference and back to my accommodation.
Since going self-employed, I had hoped to have everything figured out and be able to earn fairly steady income by now. Although it rarely works out the way you plan. And I am beginning to think about creative ways to save money. As I started thinking about my transport from Aviemore to London for the conference, it occurred to me that it might be a good place to start in terms of cutting my expenses. Weighing up options, I got this idea to cycle instead of getting the train. It would allow me to get there for free and also have my bike in London to get to the conference every day. I love cycling and I always look for excuses to go on adventures.
I wrote about how I fell in love with cycling. You can find the post here.
IS THIS JOURNEY DOABLE?
To check whether or not the journey is even doable, I quickly researched the quickest route to cycle from Aviemore to London. The options are around 600 miles (1000km). Looking at my current work commitments I thought that 6 days of cycling would mean 100 miles a day and I would need at least a couple of days before the conference to rest. Also it would give me extra time in case I got delayed. It sounds doable to me.
I mentioned to my boyfriend Charlie that I am thinking about the cycle but it was still only an idea that will probably not happen. When I was looking more and more into it, I caught myself getting really excited and that was probably the kick for me to make the decision to do it!
People say that you should announce whatever you are planning to others for the external accountability. I have to say that this trick does not really work for me. I want do things to prove to myself that I can do it and telling others does not make me feel any more responsible. Perhaps it is because I feel like I have spent enough time in my life doing things considering what other people will think of it or of me before focusing on the personal reason why I decided to do it. Plus I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself so adding morel pressure from other people would do the opposite for me. I want to grow as a person and that’s why I set myself challenges, I am not doing it so other people can say ‘wow’. I want to look back at my life and be proud of what life I made for myself.
I started by trying to plan a rough route. I sat down one evening, looked up the quickest route on Google maps and looked at the National cycle routes map in the UK (link here). I printed a map of the UK and highlighted the route. I put it back into Google maps to see how many miles it is in total.
The research and planning could start. I know that I need to do all that with a couple of things in mind. I only have a month and a half to prepare and train and I do not have any money to buy additional gear. As I have not cycled more than 100 miles in 2 days I thought if I could crash on people’s couches I would not have to carry camping gear with me. The route was going through Manchester where I have a couple of friends I could stay with. This means I have a starting point (Aviemore), middle point (Manchester) and end point (London). I wanted to plan stops every 100 miles. I drew the rough route on a piece of paper with mileage in between stops and suddenly it looked more like an adventure than an idea. I planned stops in Edinburgh, Carlisle, Manchester and Leicester. The individual days ended up being longer than I thought so I planned a rest day in Manchester where I can also catch up with my friends.
CYCLING FOR CHANGE – what am I expecting from this adventure?
Have you ever been to a personal conference? I have immersed myself into personal growth a lot in the last few months. It really helps me to find purpose for my business and motivate me to chase my dreams. I believe that personal conferences can change your life. The experience of being there and working out through your past and setting goals for the future is powerful. Although I realise that a big part of my idea of a personal conference comes from the marketing and carefully chosen reviews. It creates a lot of expectations. Self-employed life is still new to me and I have recently been in a phase of struggle. I have been constantly working hard with very little reward. If I am honest, perhaps I have been looking up to this event as an assurance to have a breakthrough moment and turn it around.
On the other hand, from my own and others’ experience I know that to achieve a goal, there is always the hard work that needs to be done. You can dream about something, have moments of realisation but unless you do the work, it is not going to happen.
This is another reason why I want to cycle to London. Maybe the conference will change my life but it might be the cycle that will do that. I take the journey there as the hard work I need to do before the conference.
STEPS TO MAKE MY TRIP HAPPEN
I have never done such a long solo cycling trip. In fact, this is going to be my second solo trip overall and cycling trip planning is new to me too. My aim is to have fun though. I want to train and prepare for it because I want to avoid injuries and anything that could stop me from getting to London for my conference. It is a trip that involves more than a couple of days so I want to make sure I give my body what it needs to get me to London and avoid injuries. I am a bit restricted with the time I have to get there and places I am going to stay at but this trip is not a race so I want to make sure I have fun, even during my training.
My research involves getting advice from people who have done much longer cycling journeys, blogs, and my own common sense. I will be documenting my research, training and overall preparation in the form of blog posts. I have divided my preparation for this trip into a few sections – Training, nutrition, route planning, and gear.
I want to show you that even when you are not a professional athlete you can still go on amazing adventures and all you need is basic gear, determination and perseverance. I will try to give you as much detail of the preparation and the journey itself as possible.
My friend told me that my journey is very ambitious but doable and that perfectly sums up my idea of a challenge. There is always going to be advices about the best gear, nutrition, training. Although, I believe that if you are sensible and prepare as much as you are able to with your budget, time and resources, you can still achieve your goal and have fun.
If you have any recommendation, advice or questions about anything related to this journey, comment below or contact me via email or social media.