Escape Routes

enjoy the ride...

What's the rush? This was the radical thought that occurred to me one day while a friend I was out cycling with stopped momentarily to check the map. Under normal circumstances it would have prompted me to hurry him up with a series of impatient tuts and sighs - maybe even a tap of my velcro-strapped shoe. But today was different. Something changed.

Instead of stressing out because my pulse rate had dropped below '150', I looked up around me and realised that this countryside of ours is really rather beautiful. So why not enjoy it?

Now I understand that for a lot of people who ride their bikes, going hell-for-leather, notching up as many miles as possible and obsessing about kilos is important; I was once a Lycra-wearing, leg-shaving Roadie myself. Good luck to you. But here's something to think about while you're schlepping away on mile 76, wishing you could stop at that pub you just passed and actually soak up the view: no one's going to give you a medal. Probably not even a gold star.

ducks in a line illustration

Once I acknowledged this fact, I found myself falling in love with cycling all over again. The truth is that riding your bike is one of the most liberating activities you can do. That feeling you get when you swing your leg over the saddle and just let go... it's not often these days that you feel so free. And it really doesn't matter how fast you're going.

One thing I noticed while researching Escape Routes is just how varied the English landscape is. From the rolling hills and hidden beaches of Cornwall, through to the flat fenland of Norfolk, to the wide expanses of the Lake District, every corner of this country had its own character. And its own pubs (I saw a few of those on my travels).

There's only one golden rule to Slow Cycling, and that is: enjoy the ride. So this weekend - or even later today - why not give it a whirl? Dust off that old jalopy that's sat in the shed, grab your trendy single-speed or the sit-up-and-beg with a basket on the front, and see where it takes you. There's a whole country out there to expore - so why not slow down and enjoy the ride...

Matt Carroll signature