Switch off and Reconnect
If you’ve called or emailed the team at Apidura, chances are you’ve spoken to Harry. When he’s not answering your questions, Harry likes to unplug from modern life and head into the backcountry. Here, he tells us why it’s so important to regularly switch off and reconnect with the world around us.
It’s often suggested that we are too connected and too easily reached these days, making it impossible to really switch off and recharge our batteries. It even sneaks into our bike riding – the perfect Instagram post, the mid-ride pause to take a call, or the group of cyclists sat in the café not really talking to each other while they check in with absent friends.
For most, disconnecting means escaping phone reception by getting lost deep in nature. But there’s so much solace to be found in even the less wild places, closer to home – it’s amazing what you see and feel when you leave the phone at home and head for the trails. Heading away from the pavement quickly allows you to immerse yourself in the wonderful planet we call home and disconnect from your daily commitments and distractions.
We often forget the immense joy that can be found in these simple, beautiful natural places close to home, but all it takes to be reminded is a diversion from your usual route. The simplest pleasures found in natural environments the world over, like the sound of water flowing over a rocky riverbed, can make the world seem like it’s spinning slower and give us time to reset and find internal balance.
Only by disconnecting from the instant gratification and never-ending stream of digital content constantly at your fingertips, can you really immerse yourself in your surroundings. Fear of missing out and comparing our lives to what we see on Instagram means we often come to expect, and demand, the exceptional and the ‘epic’. We forget the value and joy of the mundane, the moments that are far more meaningful to us; the beauty of our own backyards and the experiences on the trails around us that bring smiles to our faces and wash away stress. Most of these moments aren’t ‘Instagram-worthy’, but they live longer in your memory and bring more joy than any number of likes and comments.
It’s a lesson in delayed gratification; the outdoors can’t be summoned indoors with a few quick taps on a smartphone. It must be earned. That journey into the beyond, the immersion in what is around you, is far more valuable and rewarding than anything conjured by a 5-inch glass rectangle. And the further you push, the less pronounced the call of the modern world becomes as you become more attuned with your body and the world around you. Power readings, the perfect Instagram shot, that witty riposte to a Tweet… it becomes less important the longer you bathe in the discoveries you make along the way. The singular goal of riding amplifies the minutiae of the ride and the hours disappear as you explore, discover and wash away the chaos and distractions of everyday life.
After steeping yourself in the natural world around you while you ride, the highlight of any day in the wilderness is identifying a compelling spot to rest your head. Perhaps perched on an outcrop on a hillside or under a forest canopy. Compared to the fixed routines and schedules of everyday life, it’s a refreshing immersion in unfamiliarity. Rolling out a sleeping mat somewhere new and calling it home for a few hours is the perfect antidote to the disconnected, zoned out feeling that daily familiarity creates. Accompanied by just the necessities, an experience like this inevitably pulls you into your surroundings. There’s nothing quite like sitting up in a sleeping bag to catch the opening light of an early sunrise, with a mug of stove-brewed coffee in hand.
It’s hard to express the emotions felt while immersed in nature, but they’re universal and addictive. Once you know where to find them, and the best way to seek them out, you can find them again and again. Not every ride has to be an adventure of epic proportions, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be ordinary. We can so easily find and lose ourselves in nature, but often we don’t make the effort – we’re too busy, too rushed, too connected.
The next time that the opportunity to saturate yourself in all that nature has to offer you, don’t just take the chance, seize it and ensure that you extract the most possible out of it.
Follow Harry’s continued adventures on Instagram @futurecrusoe