Joe Reid
Written by Joe Reid
Published on 1st February 2019
3 min read

Robert Hughes of Cycle Wand is a Brighton-based bicycle repair and maintenance specialist. As a past Brake the Cycle tour leader, Robert reflects on how cycling isn’t just about shifting gears, but also shifting habits of mind.

Sometimes we forget where we are. We forget that we are all connected and that we are fully intertwined with everything and everyone and whether we like it or not everything moves and changes for us.

For me, there is no denying that life appears before me how I imagine it to be and it is forever shaping into an outward projection of my inner thoughts and feelings.


Rob doing what he does best

The two Brake the Cycle trips I was involved with helped connect me to my inner world and as a result, a beautiful experience was created.

On the bike I couldn’t help but be in a good place and realising the value of nature I can’t help but feel good when I’m in it, surrounded by it; when new panoramas of life appear in front of me at every moment, when my blood is pumping through my veins after an intense hill climb and my celebrations of achievement are met by the sweaty hugs of those around me; when I was totally parched and offered a precious gulp of thirst-quenching water from a fellow rider; when a beautiful lake or river appeared just as I needed a cooling dip.

Cooling down with a spot of wild swimming
There is something about travelling by pedal power as a group, in nature, which changes you. You feel a sense of community, you feel people are there to back you, you tap into a power that resides in all of us which alone we rarely have the courage to explore. It’s when you feel supported that you can move mountains (or at least cycle over them) and feel totally connected.

I can often find myself isolated and alone in my little bubble of life -- the weight of carrying the burdens of the world can sometimes feel heavy. Brake the Cycle was a great way to shift those burdens and to break the
habit of thought that placed me there in the first place.

I felt that Brake the cycle was going to be a ‘fun holiday’: it turned out to be far more. It was a lesson in teamwork, community, sharing, giving, adapting, stamina and virtue. An experience that doesn’t come from a ‘holiday’.

Sticking together through the narrow tiled streets of Andalusia as we head to the plaza for coffee

For Brake the Cycle, teamwork as a word doesn’t cut it. There is was something deeper than that as each adventure ultimately became a nomadic community flowing harmoniously, everyone held together (not literally, often we split into groups whilst riding), sharing the ups and downs of the road. The sense of achievement that Brake the Cycle gives is undeniable: the momentum and motivation combined with the ability to apply the principles learnt to my life have been a game changer.

Brake the Cycle has become a metaphor for my life: a different way of being and a reminder to celebrate, share and contribute to the world around me. It’s also a reminder to create a better life for everyone while having fun and constantly challenging myself.

Rob in the center in blue. The celebrated arrival into Seville

To back this up the trip included sessions with Chris Hardy, a solid Coach and mentor who really helped me to extract the true value of these experiences, a value that exceeds any monetary price, a value that adds to the quality of the life I live -- and to me that is priceless.

Rob and Joe celebrating in Munich at the end of our Berlin to Munich ride

I really love what Joe and the Brake the Cycle team are achieving. A value wrapped package with real nourishment for the soul, beauty for the eyes, and friends for your heart. Brake the Cycle offers a truly life-enhancing adventure.

Robert’s blog originally appeared on his website Cycle Wand

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