We are teaching our eldest to drive. I say we but the reality is that Robyn has taken on the task. It has been agreed by all parties that my involvement would not be a good thing.
You can start to learn to drive here in Australia when you are 16. You complete a theory test and then have to accumulate 120 hours of driving experience before you can take your test. This is recorded in a log book and has to have a number of hours driven at night as well. As painful as this can sound it is a really good thing. It builds up a reference structure of what is actually required to drive on the roads and should make it better for all drivers.
I do find it hard to believe that we have a daughter old enough to drive. Time is flying past and this is further bought home when we bump into old primary school friends and families. It’s always fun meeting with people we haven’t seen for a while, apart from the kids, the topic of conversation normally gets around to what are we up to and subsequently we explain our planned adventures in France next year. People think we are slightly mad and are very supportive. Apart from wanting to understand all the details the best question I have been asked was, “Have you even thought about not being able to do it?”
Interestingly enough until this question was I asked, I hadn’t. This prompted me to think about why this hadn’t even occurred to me, my conclusion is that having ridden a bit over the last 5 years I have my own reference structure of what is required:
A large part of cycling long distances and then doing it day after day is about your mindset.
Providing you have done sufficient training a large part of it is a mental game. My thinking is that other people have completed the task before so it must be possible, I am doing this of my own free will, in fact I am lucky to be able to do this so it’s up to me to enjoy every moment. Just deal with what’s in front of me and keep pedaling.
“How do you train for an event like this?”
This is another question we get asked. My approach is simple, you ride lots! We get up and go out for a long ride and then do the same the next day and so on. Eat, sleep, bike, repeat as the saying goes. Sure we can manage our overall fitness, do some interval training, hill repeats, etc but the thing I have learned is to make sure that when we ride you are comfortable on your bike.
I read somewhere that the biggest issue most marathon runners face is to actually get to the start line without any injuries. For us it’s all about sustainability, providing we can get up and get on a bike and if we are not in any pain (apart from obviously feeling tired) then we can pedal. Even the discomfort of riding up any large hills is temporary once you get to the top; you just have to keep on pedaling.
Doing what you love for a sustained period of time, without worrying about anything else in your life, has to be good for the soul. I love riding my bike so being able to combine this with traveling half way around the world and having Robyn do it with me is a perfect combination. Throw in to the mix that my extended family are planning to bring our daughters over to France to visit us somewhere along the way and I start to feel very grateful for what I have.
Who knows what will happen before and on the roads of France, our challenge is to make sure that we prepare the best we can and then deal with whatever comes our way.
Not a bad approach if you are learning to drive as well. As the eldest clocks up her driving hours we will clock up KM’s on the bike and look forward to what is ahead of us.
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I must love riding my bike, given I was up at 5am on Christmas Day to try out a present!