The high point

There comes a point in every journey where you are on the verge of being extraordinary. In this post Alan Humphries shares with us some observations from his continent crossing cycling adventures and in doing so his story holds some great perspectives for all of our lives, whatever we are doing.

It was about 3 years ago at the age of 58 that I started the first of a series of cycling odysseys. I wanted to do this because I was working flat out and fora change wanted to do something just for me. As a kid I always loved exploring,  so even though I was approaching 60 and had not been on a bike for 30 years I relished the chance of some adventure. Since then I have cycled from Canada to Mexico and recently right across Europe West to East.

This picture was taken in Bulgaria last year at the highest point of our 3,750 km cycle journey from the Irish Sea to the Bosporus or Liverpool to Istanbul.

Although I don’t really see it this way, people I share these stories with think I was being extraordinary in attempting these trips with my friends.

I hope that some of my experiences help you when you choose to embark on a journey of your own. In a sense the experience and observations I have had on these cycling odysseys have often mirrored life in some ways.

  • Believe that even over 60, great adventures await for those who commit.

  • Never quite know how far you will ride or where you are going to sleep that night.

  • Share bedrooms with 3 other guys who certainly snore more than you do.

  • Take a role in the group from navigator, accountant, hotel sniffer, blog writer, grocer, cafe and ice cream aficionado, puncture repairer, greaser etc.

  • Forgive others and yourself when you make those lengthy navigational errors.

  • Enjoy the magic of riding alongside Europe’s mightiest rivers and great cities.

  • Endure the plains of Hungary & Bulgaria.

  • Consistently go to bed earlier than you ever have since you were 14.

  • Join in the best beer, meal, shower, moment, joke, downhill -ratings on the trip.

  • Forget you heard that joke every 5days throughout the 6 weeks.

  • Help mend 17 punctures.

  • Fall off at least once.

  • Never give up at the bottom of those endless escarpments after each Balkan village

  • Never get upset that you still cannot really explain to anyone why you did it. 

So I have learnt that whatever we are doing and wherever we are going, if we’re prepared for all these things and many more, being extraordinary is available to us all.

Alan Humphries is a leadership consultant, long distance cyclist and often an extraordinary fellow.