Before things get awkward, I feel the need to address a certain issue regarding ride alongs as I embark on my cycling journey across Europe this Summer 2023 to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief, the 7500 km journey from North Cape, Norway to Tarifa, Spain.
First and foremost, I want to express my immense gratitude for the incredible support I’ve received from cyclists across Europe and around the world who will be making special trips to join me along the way. Your presence and contribution to the charitable objective mean the world to those in rural Africa who urgently require mobility.
On my previous adventures, many people have joined me to cover distances and for the most part, it has been a smooth and enjoyable experience. However, I want to address a few important points to ensure clarity and avoid any misunderstandings.
It’s important to understand that I am a slow cyclist compared to most. While my cycling feats may surpass the average rider’s repertoire, whether on a journey or during my everyday rides, I maintain a slow pace. This means that if you’re significantly faster than me, I won’t be able to keep up and attempting to do so could result in exhaustion or even injury. Riding a faster bike and pushing my muscles beyond their usual limits is not something I’m accustomed to.
(Photo credit: Jānis Hofmanis)
Additionally, my journey consists of a series of 50 rides, if I recall correctly. This requires me to pace myself and not go all out when we ride together, as I have many more trips to cover. While you may join me and ride vigorously, it’s important to keep in mind that I’ll need to continue riding the following day and beyond while you may have a break for a few days or a week.
The above points explain why it’s crucial for the ride-along to match my speed if we wish to stay together. However, if you prefer to ride on the same road but at your own pace, you are more than welcome and we can meet at the finish line of that day’s stage.
During my second cross-Canada ride in 2020, amidst the pandemic, a group of new friends graciously helped block the headwind during a 200 km stage which was an incredible gift. It resulted in the fastest 200 km I’ve ever covered in my life with an average speed of 30 km/h compared to my usual 20 km/h without wind and challenging climbs.
However, the consequence of that fast-paced ride was significant exhaustion, leading to a two-day break for rest and recovery. Unfortunately, it also meant that I couldn’t reschedule three of my motel bookings due to fully booked rooms. Consequently, I had to take a busier and riskier route to find available accommodation.
This story illustrates how seemingly small decisions can have a big impact and pushing beyond my abilities can create problems for me. Therefore, it’s essential to ride within my capabilities to ensure a smooth “sailing” for everyone involved.
I also want to mention that I do take occasional stops to capture photos of the beautiful scenery or document the ride for my personal memories and social media content. I apologise in advance if this interrupts the flow of the ride for some individuals but it’s an integral part of the journey for me.
What seems to work well for most people is riding with me at my pace and when it’s time to turn back, enjoying a faster return trip while I continue at my casual speed.
I understand that this article may seem a bit peculiar but on this trip across Europe, I anticipate riding with more people than usual as I aim to make it a community event. Therefore, it’s crucial to address these points that some people may not be aware of to ensure a positive and enjoyable experience for all involved.
There is one ride, however, where I will be going all out – the final ride to Tarifa. After reaching this milestone, I will be taking a well-deserved long break, as my adventure across Europe will come to an end!
Thank you for your understanding, and let’s make this European journey an incredible and memorable one together!
This is a post by JaBig, a Canadian DJ who is (as of this writing) about to cycle across Europe from North Cape, Norway to Tarifa to raise funds for World Bicycle Relief, in addition to embarking on a dream adventure of a lifetime.