Road from Embaros to the Lassithi Plateau – Go for the adventure – © nick /

The strangest things happen in the city and on its streets at night. I was feeling light-hearted and without worry, which is a state of mind that always requires particular caution.

I was driving fast, too fast, and then I saw a bright flash before I slipped away into the darkness. My heart was beating like mad. Running a red light in an open roadster was going to have some serious consequences.

They took so long to weigh up my case, I almost forgot about the punishment they might impose on me. I was so used to driving my car to the supermarket around the corner that when my driver’s license was officially suspended, I had to deal with some completely new challenges. It was time for a change.

I needed a new mode of transport, something fast. I had a bit of money left after paying the fine and when I went to the bicycle shop, I saw a fragile Peugeot frame dangling from the ceiling at the far end.

To this day, and I’ve thought it over in great depth, I can’t honestly say what attracted me to this particular bike. The seller, while providing tips on how to adjust the far too small frame, came to the well-founded and expert conclusion that this racer was simply perfect for me. Back then, I was actually more concerned about finding a suitable pair of sunglasses.

While purchasing the bike was child’s play, riding it turned out to be quite difficult as my feet touched the front tire whenever I tried to steer it. Even though the bike was pretty flexible due to its small size, it did not always turn in the direction I wanted it to go. And using the click pedals on my first trip was an utter disaster. I’d already diced with the devil at traffic lights before and had no particular desire to do so again…

By the time the first winter came, the bike and I had become friends, and I had a bit more riding experience. But I found it increasingly difficult to handle my nine-to-five lifestyle. While the black beast of a bike was waiting for me, locked away in the basement, I sat at my desk, restlessly anticipating the most incredible adventures.

Those were the days when I was first acutely infected by the cycling bug and I was always all in a fever to get out of the office to the waterside by the harbour. The autumn sun still provided some degree of warmth, while my thoughts were on exciting alternatives to my current profession, when unexpected help occurred in the form of a haggard bicycle courier.

It was quite an effort to actually get to speak to him, but when he enthusiastically described his life on the streets to me, I was convinced and converted for good. Back at the office I announced that I was going to be a bike messenger and the management didn’t try to stop me. My colleagues, the old ones at the office and the new one’s at the messenger service thought I was a complete idiot, but it slowly dawned upon me what I had let myself in for: namely the biggest adventure of my life, which ended up taking me to a distant continent.

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