As Nicky was dying she told one friend, Laura Danks, “Phew, I think I have managed to get out of cycle camping.”
Life is too short for Cycle Camping
Nicky tolerated camping, she got used to (and even began to enjoy) cycling but she simply couldn’t abide a combination of the two. Cycle camping was an anathema to her. It inhibited the freedom of the ride with luggage, and it meant camping became a Spartan, puritanical affair. Living without toiletries, pillows, extra blankets, books, camping chairs and hot water bottles was not a holiday for Nicky. On the contrary, for me, the reduction of luggage to its basic functional minimum was almost an obsession. I carry only what is necessary for sustaining life; warmth, shelter and food. Ridiculous, how on earth did we come to love each other so much?
The prospect of this ride across France and cycle camping for a month would leave her aghast. “No way I am doing that,” she’d say, “Over my dead body!” Well, Nicky. Ha! You are coming with us. Here’s why.
As she was dying she told me first that she wanted her ashes to be scattered under a tree, but because a location for a tree seemed hard to find she changed her mind and asked to be scattered on the sea. Her rational was simple, “The sea is everywhere” she said, describing a single connected entity. “Put me in the sea, and I’ll be in all seas”. We talked a lot about carbon and energy (another cycling post to come here).
I’ve been thinking about her sea theory and it occurred to me that even though I’ve never been a fan of homeopathy and the ‘more dilute the mixture the stronger the effect’ school of science, there’s a parallel here, somewhere. I am about to drop half a bucket full of Nicky into the sea. Will her molecules therefore inhabit the whole sea? What would the homeopaths say? A dilute homeopathic sea of Nicky. Sounds good. But what of the Mediterranean with it’s infinitesimally small tidal change, surely even the most ardent homeopath would balk at such a dilution? This is an unacceptable risk, what are the chances that she comes up the Suez or crosses the straits of Gibraltar? Not great. Surely? We’ll visit the Med in Future and we’ll want to KNOW she’s there, dammit.
So I am going to take a little of her remains on the ride. If ever there was a reason to get over my Spartan camping orthodoxy now is the time. It means that I must for a month pack and carry an unnecessary vessel. Useless, Lifeless, Precious. I will carry in my panniers my wife, in death, like she often carried me in life. When we reach the Med the girls and I will scatter these ashes on the azure waters of the Southern French coast.
Of course it also means that Nicky will after all get to go cycle camping,whether she likes it or not.
Life is Too Short for Cycle Camping