Bikes & That | by Jennifer Doohan

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.

The question I have been asking myself is, am I brave and capable enough of being as adventurous as I would like to be. To go cycle touring  on my own for example. I say yes of course, but I’ve yet to do it. There’s nothing actually stopping me from booking a flight to Milan with my bike and meandering my way to Italy’s Stelvio Pass on a scenic railway journey, that undoubtedly would make my heart sing and wonder what the hell I was ever worrying about… But there is also something that stops me. And it’s not physical, it is that internal voice that says things like. “You don’t know where you are going”. “You’re not experienced enough”. ”You’ve never done it before”. And the dreaded “What if…?” But what if I don’t do something that I really want to do? In 2014, I realised that I can do whatever I put my mind to. That with any adventure there are always helpful souls along the way. This was the year that a friend and I endeavoured upon a three week trip through Japan. From  Osaka to Tokyo. It was the biggest, longest trip I had ever done, it was a dream come true and I was very nervous about it. But to be honest, I surprised myself. I came up with the itinerary which developed as we travelled. I navigated, I booked. I even found us a place to couch surf when the city of Nara, about a one hour drive from Kyoto was booked up (out of price range) during cherry blossom season. The couch surfing experience turned out to be one of the best while in Japan because there we were chopping wood in the countryside, heating our own bath and seeing Kyoto with a local. I have it in my head to do the Transcontinental race in the future, from London to Istanbul. It sounds a bit ambitious and mad. And I know that kinda thing doesn’t just happen overnight. I am learning that it takes planning, practice and I guess patience whilst new knowledge, skills and well, funds are acquired. I remember reading about Juliana Buhring who cycled around the world in 2012 and in 2013 was the only female entrant to the Transcontinental Race thinking ‘WOW she is amazing, I want to be like her!’ But where does one start?! With the first pedal stroke one might argue. For now I will begin my solo touring experience with a four day trip to the Isle of man at the end of the month. The Island is small and I have never been. It will be exciting as I’ll get the ferry over to Douglas, bike and all. It’s not as adventurous as some, however I know I will learn and that it will give me the confidence to do and see more. It’s all about having the confidence in your own abilities.  

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