Times are different these days. Package holidays are as out as filter coffee with condensed milk. Right now we’re all hankering after real experiences and micro adventures. New routes, minimal preparation; just follow your nose. What constitutes an adventure, what’s the perfect ride, and who even wants that?
In today’s ever accelerating society, there’s a real sense of longing. It’s an insatiable desire to make your own decisions, regain control and not be robotically controlled by the 9-to-5. So to all you disciplined over-timers, get-me-on-email-at-all-times-of-the-dayers, and to those trying to break free of the shackles of the daily grind’s hamster wheel while mastering the balancing act of family and work, we’ve got one statement: there is hope!
Our solution is pretty straightforward: a micro-trip from Barcelona to Girona, one night included – but not like you’d find in any book. This was minimal planning, redefined. After all, the best stories come from those rides that don’t quite go to plan (and that’s often an understatement). Forgive us if we’re wrong though; was that you we overheard regaling your mates with tales of the perfectly executed training session?
“So, where exactly are we headed and what’s the route?”
“Girona. I’ve got a rough idea of the way. Just pack some essentials, as we should really get moving!”
The route is of little importance, we realize, as whichever road you take you won’t be riding on your own. In any event, your riding buddies will always donate a bit of slipstream to your gingerbread-fuelled body when needed.
But as cool as it looks when tattooed bike messengers on steel bikes snake their way through the relentless traffic, it didn’t take long for us to question whether it was really the sort of riding that we’d get up at 5.30 am for? In short, no Barcelona ride-out: we’d take the train instead. Destination: Lloret de Mar.
Your inner cyclist might feel deceived and cheated, a bit of a cop-out decision – especially if you’ve already mapped out how you’ll detail your mega exploits to your colleagues on Monday morning. But faced with Spain’s motorway-esque coast road, you’ll agree that there are far finer places to pedal than through five lanes of traffic at Spanish rush hour. And the fun factor is all about how you flaunt in the office, not what you flaunt. Our train judders to a halt in Blanes and we’re back on the bike.
After getting our fill of exactly why we ride on the coast road by Tossa de Mar, it’s hard to deny that the non-existent plan to reach Girona by nightfall probably won’t happen. Whatever, there’s still some light and we’re still having a great time. In team time trial position we thread our way to Girona. We can’t feel our fingers any longer, but it subsides as we roll into Girona’s old town for a welcome drink. Time for an Aperol, a cigarette and a reminisce.
Rides and trips can be a lot like a hotly anticipated NYE party when one’s expectations are so achingly high that the pressure you put on the party makes you too blinded to even realize that it is the year’s sickest happening. The same applies to rides: the lower your expectations and the more minimal the planning, the bigger the likelihood of a positive surprise. Right now, in this bar in Girona, we’re thankful for spontaneity. Time to say cheers, and good night… or, wait, where’s the next bar?
Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Robin Schmitt Translation: Emmie Collinge