Why I chose 168 hours in the saddle

I thought I would finally sit down and write a day to day account of my 850km cycle adventure from Lorne, Victoria to Adelaide, South Australia. I would like to preface this documentation with the ‘why’. ‘Why’ exactly I felt compelled to undertake such an adventure and what gave me the courage to do so.

Why did I choose to spend 157 hours in the saddle?

Before I sit down and detail my cycling adventure – 850km from Lorne, Victoria to Adelaide, South Australia. I thought I would focus on my ‘why’. ‘Why’ exactly I felt compelled to undertake such an adventure and what led to the decision to do so.

I would like to preface this by saying that I am by no means an elite athlete, far from it. At the time I could be considered running fit. However, I did not let this fact deter me. Nor the fact that I had not cycled in a year, did not own a bike, possessed zero bike maintenance skills, or had never camped before. Let alone planned any kind of bike touring trip. I’m sure you get the picture at this stage. I was the ultimate novice.

The idea came to me when I began pouring over maps of Australia. I was due in Adelaide for a Christmas family gathering. The thought of flying there or getting other modes of transport did not excite me in the least. However, when I began to trace my finger along the Great Ocean Road towards Adelaide I uttered the ill-fated words ‘I think I can cycle that far’’. An adventure was born

 If it is not a hell yeah!….then it is a no!

This quote comes from Derek Sivers, a philosophizing programmer, and entrepreneur who features in Tim Ferriss’ book titled Tools of Titans. He cites that each and every decision can be categorized in two ways. It is either a hell yeah!…..or a no.

What he means by this is that we are either excited by a decision. In which case it is a ”hell, yeah!”. Or we not excited by a decision or feel obligated to do something. In this case, it is or should be a resounding ”no!”.

Although there were a lot of reasons stacking up for why I should not embark on this crazy cycling adventure (see the long list above). All very sane reasons I might add. The though of it filled me with a mixture of excitement and fear. It was definitely a ‘’Hell, yeah!’’ decision.

The thought not only filled me with excitement and fear, it made me feel alive. These are the kind of adventures I want to fill my life with. Raw experiences that do not entail a strict neatly organized agenda. I craved the thought of riding into the unknown and exploring Australia by bike. The open road called. I answered back ”Hell, yeah!”

Cue the freakout

Within two weeks, I sourced everything I thought I may possibly need or was advised to take. Although to be honest I did not know what I really needed. I had no idea if this was an awesome idea or just a really really stupid one. Two days before departure, I had an inevitable freakout. Yet, I did not let it derail my plans. I consoled myself with the thought of early cycling pioneers who cycled far longer distances, with much less and on much more primitive bicycles.  The minute I hit the open road I knew it was the right decision. All my worries, fears and concerns instantly evaporated once I began pedaling.

I have always been inspired by early pioneers, who set out on expeditions which required enormous feats of physical and mental endurance. Some which would not guarantee a safe return home. I have always felt compelled to test my physical and mental limitations and excel at being uncomfortable for long periods of time. This seems like quite an odd thing to be good at.

However according to Lucius Annaeus Seneca, also known simply as Seneca a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist

 

we are destined for hardship”

‘’Wherefore, everything must be patiently endured, because events do not fall in our way, as we imagine, but come by a regular law.”…

”Everything that happens to us in life – good or bad – must be endured because that is the nature of our universe. Adversity is built into reality.” 

 

What can we learn from struggle?

I believe that in today’s society, we continually seek comfort and easy options. Yet, this ill prepares us for times in our lives when we will inevitably struggle. Know that if you are struggling, you are merely fulfilling your duty as a human being.

 

I believe that undertaking challenging where you endure hardships prepares you for the struggles you will face in everyday life. This helps to equip you with the tools necessary to overcome such struggles and can even help to make you a happier human being.

 To struggle is natural. Which suggests that a life void of any struggle is unnatural. And not rooted in reality. This brings me to the Pixar movie ”WALLE’’, which made a profound impact on me.

 

In the latter part of the movie, we are introduced to a large space cruise ship, which is carrying all of the humans who evacuated Earth 700 years earlier. The people of Earth ride around this space cruiser on hovering chairs which give them a constant feed of TV, video chatting, and meals through a straw. Due to laziness and bone loss, they are all so fat that they can barely move. This is clearly unnatural. After watching the movie, although we are presented with an extreme future reality I began to think how far away are we from this animated scenario? I also began to question the true impact of easy options and convenience in everyday life.

 

To struggle is to be human

 

To struggle is to be human. I do not mean to suggest that life is merely an endless series of struggles and challenges. For when we overcome a challenge or a struggle something beautiful emerges. We see what we are capable of. We learn that we are perhaps more capable than we thought and this is empowering.

For this reason, I set myself challenges. Challenges that are outside my comfort zone, that scare me and that I might even fail. However, it makes me feel alive and empowers me. For this reason, I set out to cycle 850km across Australia.

Follow along on the below links to learn about the challenges I faced each day during my cycling adventure!

 

 

 

 

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