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17th January 2018 / Comments (0)

What is an adventure?

Moorland view adventure

Over Christmas, while suffering a bout of near terminal manflu, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. During one of my more lucid moments my wife asked me what ADVNTR was all about. She isn’t into cycling, far less riding off the beaten track so it is all anathema to her. Primed to give her my best Elevator Pitch I was about to sally forth but stalled. Masking my lack of words with a manufactured coughing fit, I waved her away and suggested we pick it up later.

Thankfully, we did not revisit the question but it did give me pause for thought and I concluded that to find out what we are getting at, you have to start off by defining an ‘adventure’ (or should that be “Adventure”?) and working from there.

Defining Adventure
  • What defines an adventure as distinct from a normal ride?
  • Is it the type of bike you ride or the stuff you strap to it?
  • Is it where you choose to ride your bike?
  • Can you only have an adventure if you sleep in ditches or the woods, or a bothy?
  • How realistic is it to expect to be able to emulate the epic rides you read about online or in glossy magazines?
  • Or is “Adventure” a state of mind?

 The more I thought about it, the more questions arose. For example, the bike industry is keen to promote ‘gravel cum adventure’ bikes so they can jump onboard the latest niche bandwagon. Aspirational marketing would have us believe that by jumping on board the right type of bike we will soon be riding dusty roads up through the mist and over an impossible col. How does this relate to reality?

Pinnacle Arkose and Alpine Gravel

The Marketing Dream. Adventure in the sun, just you and your new gravel bike climbing a mountain. Photo: Scott Cornish

Reality Clash

Reality just isn’t like that. Work and family commitments get in the way, not to mention money and who is to say that I can’t have an adventure in my own backyard. Who is to say that my own backyard adventure isn’t valid either?

Taken a little further, who is to say that I can’t have an adventure on whatever bike it is that I already own? And who decided that if you aren’t kipping under the stars it doesn’t count?

Assessing our own little subset of the cycling community, we are all big on aspiration but only one of us actually has the time and let’s face it, relative liberty to live the dream – albeit on a part time basis. The rest of us make do with the time we have got, the bikes we have, and the kit we wear.

Chasing Trails on an adventure

Just ride the bike you already own, make your own adventures. Photo: Steve Phipps

For me, this whole adventure lark is about freedom. Freedom from the tyranny of the waymarked MTB trails, the rigour of the racers and the demands on my wallet of the bike industry at large. OK, I do end up spending more than I ought, but having broken free of the cash cow mentality that is associated with the mountain bike, or the road racer or time triallist, I am free to explore whatever roads or trails I like, with whom I like and in whatever locale I find myself. More importantly, having established that ‘adventure’ is not predicated on the bike you ride, it has opened up a whole new range of opportunities.

Last modified: 18th January 2018