I want to encourage people to push themselves that little bit further, to try something new and to get a little bit out of their comfort zone to discover they’re more capable than they think and to open their eyes to a whole new world of cycling potential.
- Think of the maximum distance you feel comfortable cycling unsupported. It doesn’t matter if this is 5, 10, 20, 50 or 100 miles/km.
- Go to this website
- Enter your home postcode in the “Find a place” box and hit “Find”
- Enter the number from step 1 into the “Distance from centre” box and hit “Show circle/s”.
- Be amazed at how far that covers.
- Move/zoom the map around to find a place near the edge of the circle that resonates with you. Could be because the train goes there, you’ve a friend there, it’s a nice place, whatever.
- Get to the place in step 6 via train or a lift.
- Cycle home unsupported.
- Realise a) you’ve probably just cycled 25% further than what you identified in step 1 (because roads don’t go in straight lines), b) you’ve got home under your own steam, c) you’re awesome and can do anything you set your mind to.
- Be proud.
So many good reasons for doing this challenge:
- Home is a nice destination and you’ll be motivated to get there.
- You have to do the distance as you’re already on the shortest route home.
- At least half of your ride will be in a place you don’t normally ride in (assuming you normally start/end at home).
- People will be shocked/impressed when you tell them you cycled from x back home.
- It’ll open up your eyes to a whole different side to cycling and your abilities.
- Because the distance chosen was the maximum you’re comfortable with, the challenge is as difficult for you as it is anyone else – we’re all equal!
I first did this as a very inexperienced cyclist. My wife and I were going to a wedding that was around my max-cycling-distance from home (as the crow flies) and staying the night. I put my bike in the car and drove us there. The next morning my wife drove the car back whilst I cycled. We met half-way for lunch at a pretty little town – my wife had obviously got there before me but had a nice mooch round whilst I was pedalling. After lunch, I got back on the bike and she got back in the car.
There aren’t really any rules, but to be clear:
- You’re allowed to pre-plan your route/stops (in fact I’d encourage it, getting lost & adding unnecessary miles/hills is no fun).
- You can do it solo or as part of a group.
- In endurance cycling, unsupported means no backup/support car following you or meeting you at pre-arranged places, you must carry everything with you or purchase it on route from shops/cafes that are available to everyone. However, if it means you do it rather than not do it, then feel free to break this rule! NB: Yes I realise the above anecdote seems to contravene this rule, but I took nothing from the car/wife.