I don’t remember the last cycle I did without planning out the route first. Last year, as I tried to hit my 100 towns, each route was planned out meticulously to maximize the number of towns I hit over the fewest miles. I always ended up going the same few routes for the first few miles and most often on busy roads. This year, I have no such problem. I set off with no route, destination or mileage in mind. I make it sound like I endured some sort of personal hell last year on my cycling adventures, as if there’s nothing worse than heading off on 4-7 hour bike rides in (usually) beautiful weather, as if someone was making me do it.

Temperature: 61 f | Wind Speed: 10 mph | Miles this month: 29.69m | Miles this year: 56.09m (1,943.91 to go)

I cycle to be free and there wasn’t a huge amount of freedom in what me and my bike did for much of last year. I’m a big fan of my alone time and this is where I get it. There was a time when I would find this in the pit of a milking parlour. I’d have time to listen to music and gather my thoughts. The added bonus with cycling is that I didn’t know where I was going – and I rarely ended my cycles covered in shit. I remember the first time I got a personal CD player while we were on holidays in Wexford. The day after we got back, I took my father’s bike and ended up going on a 30 mile adventure. I had no plan, I just thought it would be cool to go for a cycle on the aul’ lad’s new bike on a nice day with a bit of Snow Patrol blasting in my ears. It turns out it I enjoyed it more than I expected. It took a good 15 years for the cycling thing to turn into a full blown addiction but that day was when the seed got planted.

Today, it was very freeing to take off and immediately take a different road to begin and not know what direction I was going to turn. I’m making it sound a lot more adventurous than it actually is considering I was only rolling around the roads of Woburn and rarely was the highway (I93) out of sight or earshot. A little over half an hour in, I took a turn down what looked like a scenic driveway and was interested to see what lay at the end. It looked like I was entering a woodland trail but then I saw a body of water and was excited to find a new pond or lake. It wasn’t new. It was Horn Pond. I literally cycled here yesterday and dozens of other times. I had just never approached it from this angle before. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time something like this happens this year.

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