Since 2019, I’ve had on my study wall a 2019-20 year planner. I’ve been meaning to replace it, but in 2020 there was nothing really to plan, and in 2021 trying to plan anything more than a week ahead felt like a massive act of hubris. And now in 2022, it’s almost coming back into its own as my diary fills up with all the events that we spent those strange weeks in March 2020 cancelling. It’s not that anything feels any more certain than it did last year, it’s just that we seem to have collectively decided to batter on regardless, whatever this year throws at us.
Last weekend I rode a 70 mile round trip to attend a gathering of bikey folk who are doing great things out west that I had in the calendar for March 21st 2020, and over the summer we’re attending two weddings that are on their third planned date each, including one in the US. But first, tonight, I’ll be setting off for an adventure that I hadn’t actually thought might be possible back in those days of 2020. Ride to the Sun – an overnight ride from Carlisle to Edinburgh on one of the shortest nights of the year – has been an itch in my mind ever since I heard of it (and before that, the Dunwich Dynamo had a similar pull) but I didn’t think I’d manage 100 miles on the bike, and certainly not overnight. Since then, I’ve done a (almost) century and I’ve ridden to Edinburgh into a massive headwind, although in that case I spent the overnight part of that in a nice comfy hotel. Over the past year, I’ve definitely extended my cycling range, and this ride will be in the company of two pals (and a good thousand strangers) and, assuming my bike doesn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight I should make it. Stay tuned.
Of course, this being 2022, nothing is quite straightforward. Back on my Bike agreed to join me when it was several months away and before a week of train strikes were announced. Yesterday she made it to Bigtown despite strike impacts, late-running buses and the wrong kind of lorry on the line. Today there are no trains at all to Carlisle so we’ll be setting off early ad doing our own DIY ride as far as Lockerbie to meet Edinburgh Night Ride and join the official route. And then there will be nothing to it but to keep pedalling through the night as a steady stream of fitter, faster and better prepared cyclists overtake us (this is in fact my back up navigation plan).
With good luck and a following wind (literally – the wind is howling around the house as we speak but will hopefully stay in the south and push as along) we’re aiming to catch the sunrise(ish) at Cramond at 5am – having ridden what will be, annoyingly, once more just under 100 miles.
And then I’ll have to see what new challenge catches my imagination. Something I can’t let go of, even while it fills me with anxiety. Because those usually turn out to be the best kind.
I might even risk buying a new wall planner …
Mind yourselves as Windy Out
But it was a tailwind…