In 2018 I visited the Cairngorms to write and photograph a feature for the British Mountaineering Council’s ‘Summit’ magazine. The piece was about using eMTBs to access the steep skiing at the end of long corries in Scotland, the added power of the bikes negating the more inefficient standard issue mountain bike or a long walk.
After 10 miles, I knew I was going to finish this. As I stood on the start line at 6 in the morning, terrified, doubtful and teary, I talked myself into taking each mile as it came. It was all a win after the previous 8 months, I had nothing to prove. But to me I did, this was my target as I lay injured and broken. This is what I'd gone through the unimaginable agony of the manipulation of my wrist without pain relief and the hurt and frustration of physio, for. After 10 miles I knew I was going to do it.
For a period of over 150 years the landscape of Snowdonia, and particularly the western side from Bethesda to Blaenau Ffestiniog was dominated by a brutal, industrial, visage of dark grey horizons and giant spoil heaps.
The world is a frustrating place today. Full of people pretending prejudice is a worthwhile opinion. People being more interested in what others are doing and getting enraged about that rather than trying to improve things for themselves. People who think that their knowledge, procured watching Top Gear, The One Show and the fat liar on GMTV is as valid as someone who has studied evidence from opposing viewpoints and come to an informed opinion.
I try to stay away from a lot of this and cycling is my escape and blessed relief but sadly the stench of self righteous, whilst always there, has now become a risk to my sanity. Cycling is in danger of becoming another outlet of middle aged ire and rage and I can't just step aside and let it happen. Not on my watch.