An adventure is forming, bubbling, brewing, fermenting. A month or so ago it was just a tiny seed of concentrated excitement. Since then it has grown into a fully fledged living, breathing plan - simply this - to cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats (LEJOG) - a thousand mile one way trip across the length of Britain.
I don't want this to be a race, but there is no great challenge in an endless amble. I am planning around 60 miles / day, so factoring in some rest days, I am looking at a three week immersion in all the quirky delights the UK has to offer. From the majesty of the Severn Estuary to the industrial heartlands of the North West. from the crashing seascapes of the Cornish Coast to the grandeur of the Scottish Highlands.
Obviously there are practicalities to sort out.
Where am I a going to stay each night?
The last thing I want to be is fixed to a ridiculously rigid timeframe. I am banking that the combination of B&Bs, AirB&B and lightweight camping will give me all the flexibility I need to explore at my own leisure whilst affording me a shower and a clean set of clothes every few nights.
What route shall I take?
Libraries of books have been written by far more experienced cyclists than me. But I have some ideas of my own. Number one is to avoid A roads at almost all costs. There is no fun for me, nor for the car drivers having to avoid me. There are also friends and family who I haven't seen for many years who I would love to catch up on, allowing me to see a part of their world if only for a day or so.
How do I get fit enough?
This is going to require a degree of stamina and lung capacity that I have not possessed for many years - if ever to be honest with you. But achieving this cannot be a chore. It is all part of the grand adventure is it not? Little and often are the order of the day to start off with. 40 to 60 miles / week then building up to a longer 60 / 80 mile ride at the weekend. Not only am I training for the LEJOG adventure - the training itself allows me to explore my own Devon, deepening those connections whilst giving me the tools to widen my limited horizons.
I am aiming for August. It is a convenient break for me work wise and also affords the best chance of sympathetic weather and long days.
So that is my 2017, many hours spent with my maps, in the saddle, and out in the world. Plus lots of new kit. Lots. And Lots. Bring it.