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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, January 14, 2008
    It's not the thrill that's gone (just the cash)

    Inadvisable, sneaking a quick look at the DVD you've bought your Dad for his birthday (tomorrow, and hopefully he won't read this before I see him). I ended up watching the first hour-long episode of Long Way Down before forcing myself to click EXIT and wrap the thing. Couldn't take my eyes off it. Possible reasons why:

    (a) The bike thing - it's getting on for fifteen years since I last rode a motorbike, which is about the number of years prior to that when I was almost exclusively a biker. I don't miss biking very often - certainly not in these winter months - but when I see others enjoying full-on two-wheel speed adventures, like McGregor and Boorman and crew did on their epic trip from John O'Groats to Cape Town, I realise that it's not the thrill that's gone (just the cash);

    (b) The lad thing - I think I envy Ewan and Charlie their comradeship, I warm to their pally competitiveness (first one to put their tent up wins), I sense deeply their satisfaction at planning routes together, solving problems together, fixing machines together;

    (c) The son and dad thing - now there was a surprise: one of the highlights of the first show for me was when Ewan's father and brother joined the crew for their first leg, from John O'Groats, and the crew spent a night at the McGregor family home. There they were, the men, riding south through Scotland's roads in convoy, McGregor expressing his pride at being at the back behind his dad. That's where I usually was when I went out riding with my biker (still a biker) father;

    (d) And then of course there's the whole thrilling journey thing - and my epiphany watching Long Way Down is remembering that epic journeys don't necessarily have to be made on two feet: you can make them on two wheels too...