No matter where you live, you end up spending a lot of time in the same places. You create hotspots; roads, highstreets, cafes and shops that you pass and use daily.
New for a while, they soon become familiar. As you see them more and more, that familiarity transforms until they eventually become not just well-known, but markers; breadcrumbs that anchor and contextualise your journey.
"That shop means I'm 10 minutes from work".
"That pothole means I need to think about indicating to change lane".
But between those hotspots, those cosy indicators that assure you that you know where you are, lie unknowns.
And it's there that the fun and satisfaction lie.
Cumulatively, I've lived in London for a little over five years. I've been pedalling through its roads and lanes for at least three of those. To begin with, I knew my route to and from work and little in between -- perhaps the surrounding area of my home within a 3km radius. Gradually, I deviated from the norm, finding new ways of getting from A to B.
As time went on, I'd agree to meet freinds in another part of town and find out how the streets of London would deliver me there. As I navigated my way through my new surroundings, I'd suddenly find myself on a street I knew all-too-well.
And just like that, two entirely separate locations, two until that moment utterly disparate parts of the sprawling city, became connected.
It's like the dot-to-dot pictures I used to complete on rainy Saturday's as a child. They'd always start out as a non-sensical rabble of discreet entities; a mess of dots.
But you start to connect a few up. Then a few more. As your pencil bridges the void between the apparent chaos, you start to see patterns and, eventually, the entirety of the picture emerge.
Riding a bike offers an opportunity to do the same, but in a far more wonderful way. It opens places up, whether you know them or not.
If the place is new, you discover more. If the place is known, you get to know it better.
Cycling enables you to zoom out by zooming in. By exploring the connections between your hotspots -- the lines between your dots -- you not only get to see and feel their intricacies, but are better able to place them in their broader context.
You feel confident in exploring more.
You feel less likely to find yourself entirely lost.
You feel empowered.