Go slow, go far, make it feel like an adventure
The seed of Dreamer was planted in our minds at a time when our work lives were taking more energy than they were giving. We were perhaps burning-out, or boring-out and we needed to try and burn back in. We wrote down a manifesto of sorts on a Moleskine page, we bought ourselves a bike, we dropped everything and started cycling. Our lives got transformed.
People ride in different ways. They race, commute, mountain bike and tour. Alone or with other people. On-road or off-road. Granted that any time spent on a bike is time well spent, over time we developed a style of riding that worked well for burning-in: slow, far riding that feels like an adventure. Here is how it works:
Slow is not absolute slow, but it’s simply less focus on speed. Many amateur cyclists focus a lot on performance: how can I ride faster? How many watts am I putting out over the last hour? Can I get my PB on such and such segments? Whilst fast is fun and rewarding, it can make the cycling experience more narrow and one-dimensional, as bike, gear, clothing and choice of route are all aimed towards maximising speed. Instead, when we allow ourselves to slow down a bit, things are transformed: we can afford a more comfortable bike, we can raise our head to observe the nature around us, we can carry stuff to go camping, we can take more pictures, we can stop and brew fresh coffee. As these new dimensions enter our horizon, the cycling experience becomes multi-dimensional: more inclusive, rewarding, relaxed and interesting. Fast is fun and rewarding, but in a burn-in optic, slower is better.
Far is a consequence of slow: Once we shift the focus from speed, the main athletic challenge naturally becomes distance. And because we are on more comfortable bikes, we can stay in the saddle for longer and go further. Rides become increasingly long and exciting. The first century, the first overnighter, the first long tour: things snowball quickly. In a burn-in context, far is the opposite of fast.
Adventure is a feeling and is perhaps the most important dimension. We want to create some sense of adventure on our rides if the goal is to burn in. Adventure can be as simple as planning to go a bit further than it feels comfortable, or to climb a bit higher. It also means that we end up off-road a lot, as we enter the forest, find some nature and explore it. Ultimately the idea is to get a bit uncomfortable and a bit lost in nature. That’s when you start experiencing the good feelings.
Our goal with Dreamer is to share tools, resources and inspiration for this kind of riding.
Burn-in routes to try
Want to give it a try? If you are looking for inspiration and live in the Netherlands, these are two local routes that might work for you. The first one is a day long, the second about one week. Both have a sense of adventure built-in. How fast you go, is up to you. Happy riding!
Route 1: Epic Epic off-road in the Veluwe, ~100km, one day.
Route 2: Netherlands south to north gravel version, ~600km, ~one week.
If you feel like contributing a route, please get in touch. We especially would like to build a list of routes outside the NL to share with this community.