Why riding alone?
In normal life, I am a very social person. I love meeting people and make connection. But during this kind of trip, it is interestingly the opposite. I love my solitude. Riding for the entire with no music or any other distractions, my mind has time to process things. Memories come up and go. Whatever my mind wants to think about, I let it do. In the beginning of the trip, wild, strong thoughts are emerging but as the days go by, the mind comes down and relaxes. It is like meditation.
And maybe because I don’t want to get out of this relaxed mindset, I prefer to stay to myself, so my head does not get any input that it needs to process again. When I did my first trip four years ago, I was worried that I would get bored and lonely by myself but I realized that the opposite happens. I become actually more sociable with my own self and start to appreciate my own company. I don’t need distractions to be content with myself. It might take one day before entering this state of mind but afterwards, it is like never feeling lonely because I am in my own very best company. So, by avoiding talking to other people, it is not that I am not interested in others but it is more that I don’t want to leave this meditative state.
My communication to the outside world is reduced to telling my parents were I currently am. No phone calls. And on social media the one-directional updates.
Lessons learned for work and life situations
As I was hoping for, the next day started riding alongside a beautiful sunrise. What better way to start a day. This day was similar to day 2, an entertaining mixture of hike-a-bike, gravel section surprises and turnarounds. The interesting thing, one gets quickly used to the situation. And once, you experience the worst possible, the bad doesn’t seem that bad anymore. It was all about adapting to changing situations, dealing with the unpredictable and making creative decisions along the way. And taking it all in good spirits. Yes, there are moments where I was fed up from getting stuck on unrideable roads. But instead of complaining (to whom anyway?), it was about finding a workable solution for this immediate situation with the focus on the goal: Getting to Mallorca. So true that the lessons of adventure riding are very applicable to work and normal life.
After day 3 and 195km I reached Elche, 20km away from Alicante and 130km from Denia. This would be my last hotel stop before taking the ferry tomorrow back to Palma. Being so “in the zone” now, I was sad that it would be over soon. Even though, it had been only three days, I quickly developed a daily routine that I had to give up again tomorrow. The next day, it was an easy navigation to Denia.
When I saw the town sign, it hit me what I just did. 638km in 3 days and 2 hours. What a ride! I lost the feeling of time. Monday felt far away. So many things have happened since then. So many experiences collected, memories created and situations mastered. A great feeling of accomplishment was sinking in. It is amazing what you can do once you decide to do it. This trip once again showed to me that cycling is a lot more than physical exertion, it is about discovery of ourselves and our surroundings and can be incredibly meditative.
Tips for your first adventure ride
It sounds scary just to ride off with the bike to an unknown area but it is actually easier than it looks like. For those, who are thinking of doing such a trip, I would suggest a country you are familiar with in regards to language and as a cyclist on roads. It takes so little to take along, especially for a few days.
A weekend trip would be a perfect start to get your feet wet. Just ride for one day into one direction, stay in a hotel and ride back the next day. That gives the opportunity what to take along for such a trip and how best to carry it.
For me, it takes one day to get adapted to riding all day and to be present. Everyone has their own way but I would not be surprised if you feel better at the second day than the first. I also have a few friends and family members who always know where I am through What´s app live location (especially for safety).
(Extra tip: I shut off all Bluetooth connection as they drain battery). As a woman riding solo, I am not worried but I make sure that I don’t find myself on shady roads and I don’t ride in the dark (unless I know it is safe). Also, I seek out decent hotels. On all my trips (600km Madrid-Motril, 1100km Mallorca-Munich and 600km Malaga to Mallorca) I never had any incidences. I find these adventure rides incredibly meditative; energy-recharging and it gives a new perspective on things. And it is affordable. This trip costs me 300 EUR including flight and ferry (excl. food) and I stayed always in 4-star hotels.
Here are the two videos of day 3 and day 4: