Back in the Golden Years of motoring – the 1930s, the 40s, perhaps even into the 50s – driving was a pleasure, the road was a destination in its own right.
Motoring holidays were just as much about the car and the open road as the eventual goal.
From the 1930s on, this started to change.
Author G.K. Chesterton said the motor car “shuts in” the motorist, who sits looking “inward at his speedometer or his road book” as he speeds along roads that do not go “to places but through places.”
This desire for speed and arriving, rather than enjoying the travelling, made motoring something quite boring.
Does any family now head off on a car holiday? Going slow and arriving at a destination whenever is no longer the done thing. Now, it’s a rush along the motorway. The destination is the start of a holiday.
A cycling holiday isn’t like that. Not for me anyway, and nor for my wife and kids. It’s not about athletic prowess or speed, it’s about the road as destination. Yes, we’ll be heading to a B&B, a hotel, a Youth Hostel, a relative’s house or a campsite but getting there is a major part of the holiday. When we leave our front door and start to pedal to our destination, we’re on holiday from the very first second.
This is liberating.