People have many different motivations for cycling. For some, it’s about fitness, training and honing the capabilities of the body. For others, it’s the thrill of pitting yourself against competitors and against the clock. And then there are those who cycle for the places it can take you, the sights you can see, and the locations you can explore under your own steam.
- From sun to savagary, Icelandic gravel has it all
- How to have a big mountain adventure in just one weekend in the UK
- Bike of the Year 2017: Radon Swoop 170 8.0 wins Enduro Bike of the Year
I sit firmly in the latter camp, though the first and second also apply. I love travel and exploration, and for me there’s nothing quite like doing it by bike, whether it’s a road bike, mountain bike, gravel bike or e-bike.
The connection with the environment is more visceral and you’re immersed in the landscape. You’re travelling slower so you have longer to contemplate the view and, of course, can stop and take it all in if a particularly stunning vista presents itself — let's not forget meeting interesting people and sampling local cuisine, too!
And because I love to explore new places, I’m always on the lookout for new places to ride.
I scour websites, magazines, Instagram accounts and I chat to other riders about their favourite places — the ones that have really stuck in their minds. I research how to get to that beautiful smooth tarmac road, hopping outcrop to outcrop across open water in Norway. I’ll daydream about a stunning ridge-line trail an acquaintance is riding in the Alps.
It doesn’t even need to be far away and exotic, there are plenty of places in the British Isles on my riding bucket list, including the Isle of Skye... though maybe I’m better off waiting for it to quieten down a little first.
So yes, I’ve got a riding bucket list, it's my wish list of places I’d love to ride in my lifetime. I’m working slowly through it, with a lot of budget management, and since I’m adding places quicker than I’m ticking them off chances are I’ll never ride everywhere, which is part of the beauty of the whole thing.
You’ve probably guessed a few of my dream destinations from above: the Atlantic Road in Norway and wild and beautiful Skye, for which Danny Macaskill and a certain video is very much to blame.
So over to you? Which countries, trails, roads and routes are on your riding bucket list? Which places have you ridden that have really stuck in your mind (I'm always open to new ride ideas!) and have you got any bike adventures coming up? And where do you get your inspiration?