Seven Day Cyclist (and other inspirational cycling-related reading)

Forgive me if I’m hopelessly behind the times, but I’ve only just come across a website/magazine called Seven Day Cyclist with a strapline ‘Cycling, but not usually racing’.  Links to the first eight Back Issues, which can be read online, should provide something of interest.  I’m finding getting out for more than an hour or so is increasingly challenging, especially unless there’s more of a sense of purpose than just cycling ‘for its own sake’.  So instead, I enjoy reading about others’ experiences, including on this blog, other CTC group blogs, such as CTC Cambridge or CTC Northampton or the wealth of cycling touring travelogues in the form of old-fashioned books.  When I’m about 70 (or later?) and finally allowed to retire, I might even be in a position to embark on some sort of cycling adventure myself (or at least the odd day ride) but, for now, reading is at least some sort of substitute.  That’s how I’ve been consoling myself, anyway.

However, I recently had the pleasure of listening to adventurer, writer and cyclist, Alastair Humphreys.  He writes about adventures at either end of the scale, from 40000 miles around the world by bike to what he calls ‘micro-adventures’, smaller-scale, short, spontaneous experiences:

Microadventures from Alastair Humphreys on Vimeo.

Although these encompass many modes of travel, it seems the bicycle is where his adventuring heart lies.  I feel certain we would all have an opinion on his advice for ultralight cycle touring.

I am sure Alastair would approve of reading about the exploits of others at times when it is difficult to fit an active lifestyle around busy lives, especially as his latest book has just been published.  After all, it was reading travelogues that inspired the latent adventurer in him, and I’ve certainly enjoyed books such as One Man and his Bike, about cycling around the coast of Britain, for example.  But I’ve also heard his particularly persuasive form of outdoor evangelism.  It’s based around a premise that it’s all too easy to remain in a comfort zone, procrastinating, waiting for a time (such as retirement) when there is more time.

So for those of us still very much working full-time and with busy family lives, reading provides entertainment and inspiration, but even the types of day rides described on this and other CTC groups’ blogs, and in Spotlight magazine, are ‘micro-adventures’ well worth recording.  After all, there are the surprises, the chance encounters with fellow humans and with wildlife, the impromptu stops at the side of the road (for all sorts of reasons) the planned stops, food and drink, the conversation, the British weather (always a talking point) the bizarre and the unpredictable.  And, of course, the enjoyment.  I guess for me, the key is making the time to do both the reading and the doing, so I hope to see you soon on a Sunday, and thanks to those who make the effort to continue to contribute to the blog and to ‘Spotlight’ magazine.  A small but interested readership appreciate it!


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