Friday, May 9, 2014

The highs and lows of going Solo..

When you want something done, you might end up doing it yourself...

Single-handed journey can end up in triumph or agony.
It depends on your mental strength, planning and preparation.
And if you fall sick on the road or met with an accident, you have to brace to abandon your trip or spend some time in the hospital getting well.
Some stories end up well, while some are filled with misery.

The mind game

When you decide to go on a long-haul, all you have is yourself and your bike.
All the gear that you carry is your lifeline.
Some cyclists prefer to be minimalists, carrying what they feel is just right for the ride and risk it.
While there are those who overkill their equipment list.
They tend to carry a little bit extra, an assurance that if anything would go wrong, they have what it takes to recover quickly and move on.
In this case, the cyclist who is better prepared would usually have a more pleasant day.
While on the road, planning and discipline is crucial.
You set your goals based on your physical capabilities, draw the distance so you could cover as much as you could before reaching your destination.
If you don't manage your time properly, you end up getting to your end point late.
And when you rush, many things can go wrong. So, plan ahead and be punctual.
I've seen people give up just falling short of reaching their destination. They have nobody to push them and help is not available. 
All bets are off when morale is low. But if you have the positive mental attitude to deal with this, you end up fighting your battle another day.
So, moral of the story here: "Be prepared and always better safe than sorry.."

Dealing with unexpected...

Murphy's Law always have the upper hand in anything you do.
Sometimes, even a bomb-proof and well-executed trip can go wrong.
In my case, it was an attempt to cycle 200km in a day Solo.
Everything checked out fine, but my bike had some mechanical problems.
I had to detour to a bike shop along the way and lost precious time.
My decision was to move on despite the delay and I ended up riding late into the night.
This was an "all or nothing" situation. 
I pushed as far as I could and reached the end point 194.7km, just shy of 200.
Riding in the dark and all alone, there are plenty of vulnerabilities. 
And with everything that I had, I completed the ride well after midnight.
This was a lesson well learned. Whenever in doubt, be prepared to abandon the ride.
Pride and ego would only lead to disaster.

Points to ponder

Well, if you decide to do it all by yourself, here are some key pointers:

  • Train yourself in basic bicycle repair and maintenance
  • Be in the best of shape, you will need it in physically-demanding situations
  • Stay healthy, if you are sick, there is no point in making things worse
  • Be disciplined, manage your time properly
  • If shit hits the fan, be ready to call off your ride and do it another day

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