Ever dreamed of achieving a goal or going on a journey into the unknown, but doubting whether you should take the leap? Juliana Buhring’s story of going from novice cyclist to the fastest woman to cycle 29,070km around the world is the perfect example of not knowing what’s possible until you try.
Upon beginning her epic cycle, Buhring goes from a heavy hybrid bike to an light carbon-fibre road bike weighing less than 7kg. As with most new bikes, this takes some getting used to and her cycling journey isn’t without a few falls along the way. But despite initially doubting whether her goal was achievable, she gives it everything and proves that you can accomplish way more than you may believe possible.
Written in a diary format over the 152 days she spent cycling, ‘This Road I Ride’ shares how Buhring feels along the way and how different experiences affect her motivation to keep pedalling day by day.
‘I embarked on this journey knowing there would be moments when I would question the whole thing and my motives for doing it; when I would think the hardship and struggle outweighed the good times. The Facebook updates show only the highlights – exciting snapshots of interesting or beautiful moments. But cycling the world also involves long periods of tedium, exhaustion and dealing with recurring problems daily’ (p.165).
From the hotel of horrors in India to the road angel who saves her from a pack of angry dogs in Turkey, Buhring’s journey is full of highs and lows. Even when pedalling along New Zealand’s Desert Road with no phone signal or GPS, she finds a way to push on through. Buhring’s honesty in recounting her experiences along the way is what makes ‘This Road I Ride’ such a good read.
One particular paragraph really resonated with me, and it was this:
‘There is always something to be afraid of in this world, but fearing the unknown seems a futile waste of energy. One can plan for every potential risk, possibility and eventuality, but if a truck is going to hit you, all the planning in the world won’t make any difference. Of course, the alternative would be to stay at home, in the safety and unpredictability of a familiar environment, and never venture far for fear of myriad dangers. But then none of us would do anything at all, and what would be the point of being alive?’ (p.17)
I would thoroughly recommend ‘This Road I Ride’ to anyone who is interested in long-distance cycling or has considered embarking on a challenge or journey into the unknown. Many of us harbour great ideas and allow fear to prevent us from taking them forward. But we must remember that, as Juliana refers to in her book, ‘fear’ has two possible meanings… Will you choose to ‘forget everything and run’ or ‘face everything and rise’?