Life - Cycling Challenges

I finish work in a week's time and finally I get a well earned break. I'm so looking forward to having the opportunity of travelling a little around Europe, visiting family in England and also attempting to get a little rest somewhere along the way.

As previously posted, I have been setting myself new challenges here and there. Something I have always done and probably will always continue to do in the future, as long as my body lasts. Some of those challenges have already failed and some are still work in progress, but determination and motivation continues to drive me on, in the pursuit of something new. 

One of my recent challenges started in January, when I went back to work, after an enjoyable Christmas break. I decided as much as possible to cycle to work and see how long and how far I could go, within the working year. I had been cycling occasionally to work before Christmas and also sharing some of the difficult days with either a lift in with my friend Paul or a mix of bike, train and tram. The difficult days obviously refer to days when I was simply to tired and low on energy, issues with health (man flu) and of course the extremes of the winter weather, like strong wind, rain, snow and ice.

However and wherever possible I have continued to remain positive, focused and simply tried to just keep moving on and push forward towards achieving my desired goal.

In the process of doing so and attempting what sometimes feels like the impossible, things have often been difficult. Inevitably, there has been times of both highs and lows. Yes... I have got extremely wet, battled against strong wind and been blown off my bike a few times, argued with car drivers about the right of way, ate a lot of bananas and throughout this journey had a rather intimate relationship with various types of chaffing cream.  

Although, when looking back to the start, whatever the difficulties might have been initially, it is clear to see that the positives far out weigh the negatives.

So much so, today I spent a lesson talking to the class all about challenges and trying to explain that if you put your mind to something, then you can almost certainly achieve what you set out to do. As a class we talked about my challenge, then looked at my Strava statistics and reviewed where I had started and where I was currently up to. It all seemed fairly straightforward as we began to look and analyse numbers and compare distances over time.

Here the you can see the weekly goal of 100 miles a week and a totally distance ( and maybe more) of 5,000 miles.

Here the you can see the weekly goal of 100 miles a week and a totally distance ( and maybe more) of 5,000 miles.

After a while a child asked to see what the distance might look like on a map, a keen visual learner it might seem. Therefore we decided to plot the distance covered, by selecting a starting point of the Hague and looked towards a finish destination that we assumed might be around 5,000 miles away. Once discussed we settled upon Cape Town, in South Africa and began using Google Maps to create a route. It was great to see and discuss a potential route, as it passed through some of the children's native European countries and moved into some of the most inhospitable places on earth, like the Sahara desert.

Overview of the cycle route from The Hague to Cape Town. A long way!

Overview of the cycle route from The Hague to Cape Town. A long way!

A more detailed look.

A more detailed look.

We then started to look at what those locations were like and draw comparisons to our home. Of course from the images shown I have some distance to go. Cape Town might also actually be a little further than the target of 5,000 miles, so I will probably have to add on some extra cycle rides in order to complete my desired goal. Using an accurate calculation of the distance traveled, it appears that I'm currently located in Algeria with the closest location being Ain Salah. 

Gas 

Gas 

Hot, Hot, Hot

Hot, Hot, Hot

We had never heard of Ain Salah and I can't say I would like to ever visit such a place, as first impressions show that it is pretty warm and the extensive gas fields might appeal to some, but not to me.

With that said, I'm really delighted with what I have achieved so far and the enthusiasm and learning opportunities for the children is just huge. With all of my class now eager to follow with interest and push me to greater things. Unfortunately, as most of this virtual journey (shown above) has been completed through my regular commute from Rotterdam to The Hague. One day my dream of cycling the real thing might actually come true and I might do it for really. Possibly, The Hague to Cape Town or maybe even circumnavigate the globe. Just watch this space....

So far this has certainly been a learning curve, a journey and also a wonderful experience, one that has now just become part of my daily routine. It has allowed me to explore my new surroundings in great depth and of course enjoy an abundance of photo opportunities. As well as improving my health, by being active and taking in plenty of fresh air. My travels have been interesting and staying dry with the Haglofs clothing has definitetly helped. Therefore I would like to extend a huge thank to them for all of the generosity and support in providing me with suitable clothing. 

Studies have shown that riding a bicycle everyday makes you more awesome than the general population.