The Difference Between Travelling And Just Getting There

With cameras, for a long time I was looking for the perfect one camera that does everything.

It doesn’t exist.

Since I’ve rediscovered cycling, the same hunting pattern has emerged.

After purchasing an ebike to replace my car for commuting to work and most of my local trips – including photo shoots – I hoped it could be the ultimate bike.

This desire was heightened further as brand new it cost me nearly ten times what my previous used mountain bike cost.

But however I might want it to serve every purpose, it just doesn’t.

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The Mule, as I affectionately refer to it, is fantastic for transportation, getting me from one place to another.

It gets me there quicker than a regular bike – not because I ride it at the maximum speed, but because the electric assist cuts in when my legs are flagging, so the lowest speed I go is about 13mph. Whereas on a pedal only bike I might dip to seven or eight mph on a hill.

The Mule also encourages me to go further, because even if I’m tiring, I can let the electric assist come to my aid and trundle me home with much less effort than a regular bike.

But in other ways, it falls down.

It’s just not particularly fun or freeing to ride – ironic, given the electric motor. I enjoy my Specialized Crossroads far more, which feels faster and lighter, and more relaxed, because of the more upright position.

The Mule is also so heavy.

Big wheels and tyres (27.5″ x 2.1″), suspension forks, disk brakes, plus of course the motor in the rear hub and battery on the down tube all add up to 23kg plus (over 50lb).

I am curious to know how much less the bike could weigh with V brakes, fixed forks and slimmer, more street oriented tyres, and whether this would make it feel more nimble and fun.

So I’m resigned to the fact that The Mule is just that, a heavy, sturdy, lumbering beast that I can rely on to transport me (and a not inconsiderable amount of cargo in my rear panniers) to where I want to go.

Put another way, it’s a bike that’s all about getting me there, a destination bike.

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The Crossroads, in contrast, feels far more like a journey bike.

When I head out on that, I’m not usually heading to a specific place within a specific time. I’m roaming, exploring the country back roads of lovely Sussex, all at my own rather gentle pace.

When I feel like stopping, I do, to have a drink, a snack, to sit and enjoy the view, and maybe take a few photographs.

Again the difference is quite stark.

The Mule, my ebike, is my destination bike. The Crossroads is my journey bike.

Then I realised, I have a very similar set up with cameras.

My destination camera is my camera phone, an ever present device for getting a final result (image) without fuss, but also without being especially fun or enjoyable along the way.

Then my digital compacts are the journey cameras.

I greatly enjoy using them, and as a bonus, sometimes end up with a pleasing photograph (reaching a pleasing destination) at the end of the journey.

I think there’s a place in my life for a journey bike and a destination bike, a journey camera and a destination camera, they each fill a unique purpose.

Sometimes you just want to get where you’re heading, other times it’s more important to enjoy the journey along the way, seeing where it takes you.

How about you – do you have destination and journey cameras or bikes? 

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking. Please share this post with others you feel will enjoy it too. If you’re interested, this is what my photography and cycling life looks like right now.

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