Epilogue: After the Glory: What's in store over the next thirty years? - Hvala: It's Been Thirty Sweet Years (Tour 16) - 2016 🇭🇷 🇸🇮 🇮🇹 - CycleBlaze

November 2, 2016

Epilogue: After the Glory: What's in store over the next thirty years?

GOOD question.

As in 1986, during this trip there were hills that foiled my abilities. The difference is that in 1986 I did not know any better, having never done a tour before. Enthusiasm kept me going. In 2016, though I knew better to prepare and train beforehand, I trained by doing woodworking and watching television. A lot of good that did me. Did I lose some IQ over the past thirty years?

In 1986, in practical terms, there was no internet. I found rooms by using TIC offices or stopping when I saw signs in windows. These days with hotel booking apps I knew in advance where to go, how much it would cost and just had to get there once committed. Though I must admit that I like knowing that I won't go without a place to stay, not only does it take away some of the sense of adventure, but each day I am committed to that destination whether I can physically do it or not. Fortunately, on this year's trip, I kept distances to a minimum with the option to take longer routes to the final destination.

In 1986, I listened to BBC Radio 1 on my AM/FM Walkman as I peddled along. 'Sledgehammer' by Pete Gabriel, and 'You're my Favourite Waste of Time' by Owen Paul were played every hour. In 2016 I chose not to bring my Sony handlebar radio, but did have my Samsung tablet. No listening on the road, but I had the choice to listen to whatever I wanted once in my room. These days there is wifi everywhere. So, BBC it was once again, but usually World Service for its excellent news. Another benefit of the internet, but not as local a perspective. That is too bad.

In 1986 I took the only bike I owned and cobbled together touring gear that by today's standards would seem pretty sad. That being said, that original bike is still my fave, the panniers now have Arkel clips on them and they do work well as a second pair of panniers. In 2016, though I still have that bike and panniers, I took the folding bike with my fave Arkel panniers, the EXR series. There was no cobbling together of gear. I know what I need to within a few items, put it together and go. I rarely want for anything else. No, I am not a minimalist, since I like my comforts, but I don't weigh down the bike with 75 kilos of kitchen appliances, either.

In 1986 I had planned the journey for years before setting out to what was totally unknown to me. I was an excited kid who knew zero about cycling, going overseas or figuring out a new country. In 2016, I decided my destination only a few weeks before setting out, and having toured a few times, was a bit nervous, but otherwise fine once the sun came up the next day.

In 1986 some people thought this was the trip to get this crazy idea settled and done with for good. In 2016, nothing is settled. I'm in for another thirty years.

So, with this meandering around on my bike still in my system, what, may you ask, is to come in those next thirty years? Are there any other destinations where I feel I simply need to navigate?

In short, yes, there is a list.

England, Land's End to London (UK is where it all started), Scotland, Aberdeenshire (where the Irvines started), Catalunya, Bilbao to Barcelona (Spain), Netherlands/Belgium, Hochwald Forest (to retrace some of my grandfather Irvine's WW 2 steps), and the Baltics, north to south (before Russia decides they like their style of country). My list always tends to be rather fluid, so it will change. I often decide to go somewhere even before I know where - I enjoy that mystery of the unknown so that will continue.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0