Monday, 22 February 2016

The Proclaimers

Back in 1998. a bespectacled Scottish duo thought it ok to write a song about walking 500 + 500 miles and jolly good it was too. I'm not going to write a song but I am going to proudly proclaim that we have now ridden 1000 miles. I'm also going to say that we have no intention of riding 1000 more, with or without wearing our glasses!

The moment came at around lunch time so it seemed a good opportunity for a bite to eat and a photo to mark this auspicious occasion. Now it happened to be the forth lunch in a row we'd eaten tuna and we were just outside the town of La Fortuna but as hard as I racked my brain, I couldn't quite manage to get a cheap gag out of it!

Now, riding 1000 miles isn't the only thing I want to proclaim today. I want to take this opportunity to say how wonderful my wife Kate is. Most of you probably know that in 2013 Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer. She spent the latter half of that year being chopped, chemo'd and radio'd. All of that naturally put her mind and body through a hell of a tough time. But since then, in her true 'just get on with it' style, she's cycled nearly 1000 miles across the length of France, 1500 miles through South East Asia and now 1000 miles through the mountains of Central America (including the bits she had to push!). I think we should all stop what were doing for a minute or 2 and have a little think about that and anyone else you know who's been through (or is going through) any kind of tough time. 

Now that I've interrupted your day, hang around a few minutes more so I can tell you what I was thinking today.

The scenery along lake Arenal was lovely. 48km of winding ups & downs through a mix of jungle and cleared land. Steep driveways led up and down from the road and the whole place really reminded us of our old Australian suburb of Austinmer.

Cool tree

And what one looks like when it's cut down

I stopped before a narrow bridge to let some cars coming though who were coming the other way. I was then going to get a happy snappy of the river but... The arrogant twat in the last car didn't wave 'thanks' or even acknowledge me (it's one of my pet hates this one). I was so busy being annoyed that I forgot to get the photo and rode on in a right old huff until the next big climb where thankfully the huff just turned into puff.

Why do I mention this? Well it just goes to show that despite the fact Kate and I have done all these great adventures that others say they dream about, we're still just who we always were. 

Now at the risk of sounding repetitive (well, let's face it the whole blog has been so far so I may as well continue in the same vein...) I just wanted to say to all those people who dream about "another life out there they don't have the chance to live" that it may not actually make that much difference even if you did get the chance to go off on your own great dream adventure. When you'd get back you'd still just be you. When you were out there, guess what? Same thing! 

I can't speak for anyone but myself but after doing a few of these big trips, I've got to say that the reality does in many ways under deliver compared to the dream. Maybe it's because we're coming to the end of our toughest trip to date, maybe I'm going soft??? Sure there are some great bits but they're certainly linked together by a load of pretty ordinary or hard or grotty or boring bits. What I'm trying to say is that the whole concept of Micro Adventures (which is just a fancy name for 'getting away for a few days doing what you enjoy') is a great one. These big trips are a bit of a blunt instrument to achieve fun or satisfaction.

Years ago I was talking to my big sister Sarah. I told her that I wanted to go off to Africa (or similar) to do some "fantastic volunteering doing something fantastic". She asked why I always seem to do these 'big things', why didn't I just stay at home and do some kind of local voluntary work? It was the 'giving' I wanted to do wasn't it? So why uproot my life for that, it wasn't necessary. I took her advice and every fortnight for the next 18 months I took 2 old ladies shopping and entertained them with my dubious charm & wit. D'you know what? I loved it. I got so much out of it. Would jetting off to some African village to do whatever have been better and how exactly do you judge 'better'? I can't answer either of those questions.

So.... What I'm getting at is the same old broken record (that I think I should actually start listening to myself a bit more often!) is to look around you at what you've got or could easily get and jolly well go and enjoy it.

Thank you. Oh, by the way, I I'd manage to get a photo of another river. I hope you like it!


  1. Go Kate!!!
    Well done both. I have so much respect for you getting out there and doing 'it'. Have a bit of a holiday before you head back.
    As for volunteering....I have 2 houses that need decorating and a garage that needs building. I'll buy the materials, supply the accommodation, bread, bananas and coffee in return for labour.... :)

    1. Thanks for your kind words Lee.
      As for volunteering, sorry I don't understand Welsh 😜

  2. Well done Kate. Still think you would have had more fun on a little 125cc....Would not be as fit though....Swings and roundabouts