Weave of the Ride is a book I wrote about cycling from England to the Caucasus between 2007 and 2008. It is a tale of wanting to make a change and have an adventure. Do you want to read about beautiful but unusual places, unique experiences and freedom and how to discover these things yourself? If so read on about Weave of the Ride.
- It is the story of going from one lifestyle to another. Sometimes it isn't easy to make a transition in life and you get stuck in a rut. I think it's good to read a story about having anxiety about life, feeling like there are no options, but following a feeling, process, taking opportunities and making a change. The process of making a change can be really hard. However, in reality it is just a series of small steps, which lead to you in a different path.
An idea becomes much more real when it is out in the world and when other people are involved. The momentum builds, other people's dreams and aspirations get wrapped up in the process and things begin to snowball. The book is the story of how this happened to me at that time. Of how an idea can mean different things to different people but if the idea is good enough different people can see different kinds of value from it. For example, the main protagonists just wanted to have an adventure, but the sponsors were interested because they wanted to get exposure for products. When many people are involved in the same dream it can be a wonderful process but it has its pros and cons.
A bicycle touring adventure involves a certain amount of technical kit. Obviously you need a bike, but then there are also the other things that you need for sleeping, eating and in my case taking photos and recording film. This equipment became my world. I really felt as if I had everything I needed to exist, roam freely and not allow objects to control my life. The story is interesting because you get to read about the choices that we made about the equipment that we took with us and what went wrong and what worked really well.
It is one thing to have an idea but it is something else to make it a reality. When I kept a journal before I left and during the early stages of my adventures I captured my emotions, feelings and observations. When I came to writing the book I could then see things from a different perspective and see how the idea of an adventure became an everyday reality and how when you look back on something that you've done you remember it differently from how it was at the time.
When on a bicycle tour you move slowly, you don't see the world through glass, you are in contact with your environment. There are different ways we can travel but a cycle tour strikes a good balance between making distance and being in contact with your environment. In the book I write about the places, which I saw in detail, and this forms a rich tapestry of colours, objects, people and landscapes.
A part of adventure that I was interested in was to be hedonistic and not worry about the future. At that time I was only interested in enjoying what I was doing in that moment. That could be sipping red wine, eating Pavlova, having maple syrup on pancakes in the morning, drinking a huge cup of fresh coffee in France, eating a delicious fresh baguette, dancing, embracing life or looking at the sun rising in the morning. It is not possible to live like this all the time but the story is definitely gives motivation to live more in the present.
When you go through the education system in the UK you are very privileged to be taught the general basics that you need such as English, maths and science. I travelled with a couple of friends who definitely had a lust to discover more and build on their knowledge based on the world itself. The story is an example of being constantly surprised by the world and realising just how much there is to know.
If you want to ride a bicycle day in day out and go from one place to another you need to do all of the normal things that you would do if you are staying in one place to stay alive but there are also certain skills that you pick up and learn. For example learning to navigate using signs, GPS, maps of different scales on cycle routes, city streets and infrastructure, back-roads, paths, main roads and cross-country. If you travel in a group then you often put your trust in someone else’s ability - e.g. in cooking a meal for three people using one pan and one stove. Creative skills of keeping a journal, taking photographs, and attempting to record everything for a film were honed. It doesn't sound a lot these days but I learned to balance tasks and go deeper into my newfound creative activities.
People, contrary to what the media like to tell everyone, are generally nice. I had enough experience to know that it wasn't fluke that people were always welcoming us with open arms, letting us stay in their house or garden, feeding us, inviting us to events and treating us like their friends. The book stands as evidence that the world is not like what you see in the news media and its highly advised that you read a book like this and then you make an effort to go out and meet people yourself via a trip like this or some other events of your choosing.
When I travel by bike I was constantly in connection with the outdoors. How much these days can we say that we spend time outdoors in such a way that we really start to get a sense to nature, changing conditions, weather patterns and not see the weather as being positive or negative but rather just the way it is? Unless you work as a landscape gardener, builder, park ranger, farmer the likelihood is that you spend a lot of time working indoors. This book is a story about my experience of spending months outdoors and I share with you how that affected my mood and how I came to terms with nature.
The story is about connecting, communicating, meeting people but not just on the level of wanting to exchange some skill or work rather more on the level of an unusual surprise, playful meeting, or negotiating the way forward in often non-monetary ways. When so much in the news media focuses on the monetary economy this is a story with very little money involved in proportion to the amount of non-money value that was generated and used along the way.
In normal relationships with friends it is likely that you meet up with them, do something that you enjoyed, share stories and then part company and go back to your private homes and spaces. In the book I spent months with an old friend who I've known for many years but I never spend that much time with him. Through the story you will read how a relationship is forced to expand, deepen and is put to the test way beyond a normal friendship. Throughout that process you can see how boundaries formed, knowledge of behaviour increases, and coping mechanisms developed to deal with the day in day out process of the journey.
When you live in just one country and you get used to that culture it is easy to see other cultures as being different. However what happened when I went on the bicycle tour is that I realised that it's not only a different culture but a completely different reality between different countries. The story explores my experiences of moving between these different realities as I move from the UK and the West, through Eastern Europe and into Asia. The story details how this process created new kinds of freedoms in my mind as I realised that the world wasn't limited to the rules of the culture I’d been brought up in.
Meeting new people whilst cycle touring was an everyday occurrence but occasionally you would meet special people who stood out from the rest. These people had particularly interesting experiences, knowledge or something that they had to offer us in particular. Now, I'm not a suspicious person, but there was certainly personalities that emerged from the meetings who seem to have some really valuable information, stories, objects, love, motivation, perspective to add to the proceedings that others couldn’t. These people were not the kind of people that you could find by searching on a social media network, typing into Google, or going down to the citizens advice bureau. These people emerged because of being involved in a process with an objective that appealed to other people and maybe some other deeper reasons.
Before I started the journey my motivations were very self-focused. However through the process of the journey, it was impossible not to get a heightened level of awareness of the contrast between people's lives, the effects of powerful institutions on people and to care more about other people, their rights, their struggles and the different power relationships between people and organisations. This journey through human lives can't help but make you more politically conscious.
Finally this book is told as closely to how I experienced it as I was developing myself as a person as opposed to looking back retrospectively. It was my objective is to capture as best as I could the magic of a journey that I thought warranted sharing with others. My aim was to be able to share the energy and inspire others to seek adventure.
I hope you enjoy the book I really appreciate if you wrote a review, left the comments, or drop me an email if you have some say about it. It makes it worthwhile.