A Route Without Hills


“On a rest break from cycling yesterday a gentleman approached me and asked me if I was local”

“Well I’m originally from a long way north of here” I replied

“Oh, only how do you cope with riding around here with all the hills? I’ve just recently moved into the area, the other side of the river as a matter of fact, and bought myself a lovely new bike. Because it’s so hilly I’ve only ridden it a few times. Do you know of any routes without hills?”

“Routes without hills, hmm, that’s a tricky one.”

Since the encounter I have thought of a snappy retort: “Have you though about a fucking velodrome mate?” It’s perhaps not in my true nature to be quite so sarcastic, and yet, it did seem a slightly silly question.


The thing is, it’s the hills that make cycling so much fun. Yes it’s tough climbing them (especially at 20%), however, once at the top, racing down the other side is exhilarating.

Losing weight and getting fit can obviously be achieved on the flat, or in a velodrome for that matter, but there does need to be more to it than that. Experiencing the great outdoors and feeling that sense of achievement when, having struggled up hills for some months, you now find the process easier, must be part of the whole experience. I told my enquiring gentleman to stick with it.

“We can view many things in this light”

If life as a whole were to be a boring ride around a velodrome, or even worse, a continuous easy glide downhill, it really wouldn’t be worth living. We must have the rough with the smooth; the ups and the downs etc. Without challenge, life would be a bit of a meaningless drudge.

It brings to mind those individuals who seem to think that life shouldn’t involve any kind of challenge; in particular emotions that feel painful or difficult to shrug off.

It also brings to mind the thousands of antidepressants prescribed to children in the UK (and no doubt many other countries) simply because the child doesn’t know how to take charge of their mind and emotions.

“No one is teaching them how. Is it not a form of abuse, to neglect a child in such a way, only to then visit a doctor who prescribes pills? Just a thought”

Perhaps parents don’t have the time to deal with children and their unruly emotions? If parents don’t have time for this, why are they having children, in the first place? Oh, I suppose it’s living the velodrome mentality: everything should be like riding on the flat: fast and easy. A brave new world. Tut, tut, so sarcastic!

We could ask: “Why shouldn’t life be an easy journey with no ups and downs? Why does it need to be a challenge?” In answer, all we need do is imagine the brain of a lion trapped in a cage. Imagine it pacing up and down, backwards and forwards, caged in one of those zoo’s we seem so fond of.


Eventually the lion starts to become unwell, fur falling out, chewing it’s paws just to feel something. If the animal is caged for long enough it will become so unfit and unwell it will die. Parrots are also renowned to be very intelligent creatures who would go the same why without stimulation. Perhaps the answer is to put these animals on antidepressants? No? No. Ridiculous isn’t it. So how is it we think it’s sensible to put a child on them? 

“In the greatest sense we are all still animals”

Those losing touch with their humanity are done for. We are fairly advanced creatures. We do need to train ourselves into how to control our wayward minds. That needs to start from a young age.

A child who doesn’t enjoy cycling up a hill, and only enjoys the rush of freewheeling down one, is the child neglected. We must point out to our children that our humanity dictates the necessity of balance. There is no balance when all we want is pleasure and no discomfort.

“Even though this is the case our discomfort can be in the form of our choosing”

For example, working down a mine for twelve hours a day was a discomfort not necessarily of our choosing. Now we have advanced sufficiently we’re able to steer away from this kind of suffering into challenges that are life enhancing. And there is the key. We must show our children that challenges are not about suffering but are simply things to overcome. A necessity to fully living life.

Eventually we reach the top of the hill and realise the climb wasn’t that bad after all. Believe it or not, challenging ourselves in this way, is actually the easiest route of all. Reading this will help you understand.

It can seem the hardest thing in the world to understand that life is about giving and not having. If you know of a depressed child, would helping them understand the principles here, help them?

We believe it would. Want more? Contact Us.