Considering my fondness for maps I’ve an awful sense of direction! I may give the impression I know where I’m going, but instead my internal compass has spun off it’s axis leaving me adrift and rudderless. The upside of this is you end up in completely new and unexpected places, the downside … you get lost!
Bad sense of direction aside, gazing and wondering at a map is my favourite step of planning a cycle trip. The world compressed to 2D encourages you to imagine what the landscape will look like, how steep the hills will be, the frequency of water sources and the condition of the roads.
As a cyclist you are more engaged with your surroundings than a cocooned motorist, you also tend to remember the ground underneath you.
Travelling by bike allows you to feel the road, absorb it, rejoice it and curse it! You remember the washboard roads, the deep sand tracks, swimming pool sized potholes and the downhill stretches of smooth tarmac. The quality of the road measured by the bruises on your arse!
It’s the roads and tracks that take you there.