First 472 Kilometres are Always Hard!
Dec 23, 2017 – a beautiful, sunny day in Lahore. The trees were veiled in the lightest of mists, with mercury declaring 230C as I started my cycling journey from Lahore to Bahawalpur – my hometown. I had all necessary gear tied to my bike. Two of my friends were supposed to accompany me, but they couldn’t join at last-minute notice. I love my friends. All of them are super non-cooperative creatures. I am sure everyone has the same breed. Since I had already considered this situation, my motivation didn’t shake. I got on the bike with the second learning of my trip:
Talk about planned adventures and your friends will ditch you, ALWAYS!
I had first long break at Pattoki for lunch, where I left my water bottle, which to my surprise, was delivered to me by two guys working on that restaurant. This gesture increased my faith in small acts of kindness by ten-fold. As soon as I crossed Pattoki, I witnessed an accident. A chilling thought occurred to me, “what if I get in an accident serious enough to make me dead?” The answer came in as a third learning of the tour:
Some things (in fact all things) are out of one’s control. We can’t do anything about them. Like it or not, there’s a master plan and an extraordinary planner!
Keep your adventure secret from your relatives. Whenever you’re planning something that seems crazy or something that hasn’t been done in the family, don’t disclose it. Casually discuss it with parents and siblings and see their response. If they are positive about it, go ahead, otherwise, go ahead without mentioning it to them.
Planning is a waste of time. An ill-executed tour is better than the best-planned tour that never happened. Don’t waste time and energy on planning everything in detail. Just get the roadmap, highlight few targets to achieve by the end of the day and hit the road. You will see that as soon as you start, things will begin to fall in place. If something unexpected comes along, enjoy it. Let the excitement lead you.
If you’re really up for an adventure, be ready to have some tough time. Anything may happen. The point is, if you want something to be exciting and bold, it is not going to be easy at all. Adventure is not meant to be all cool and fun. There definitely are patches when it’s not pleasurable anymore and one has to push to survive.
“Welcome to Bahawalpur” was not just a simple road sign for me. It reminded me the caress of my mother’s finger as she combs them through my hair (and complains about their ever-growing length), the hug of my father and the sweet smile of my sister. The excitement to make it home, made me merge three sessions into one, 5 hours and 22 minutes long session with odometer announcing 472. I didn’t stop for lunch or any tea break. My legs were hurting but it wasn’t pain, it wasn’t discomforting either, it was a feeling of nothingness. I kissed ecstasy, the first time in my life, and it was — sweet. I felt like I could pedal forever.