One hour mini-adventure #1: Cycle in the city

Bike all ready for a mini-adventure

THE CHALLENGE: We have all seen the memes circulating on social media:

Do more of what makes you happy.

But in the busyness of our lives, how many of us actually take some time out on a regular basis to do something that we truly enjoy? I’m not talking about a full day of pre-planned fun, but a spur of the moment decision to just do something (or nothing perhaps) that gives us pleasure.

So, at the start of this week I set myself the challenge to make a 1 hour window of opportunity to do something I wouldn’t ordinarily do in the routine of my week that would bring me joy.

I crawled out of bed early this morning (it is Friday!), fuelled up on coffee and a light breakfast, stuck on a load of washing, made the kids’ packed lunches and got them all off to school.

There was still a list of household chores to be caught up on and I have an essay to write for my studies with the Open University, but on this occasion I decided to turn a blind eye to the rice krispies littering the floor, and hopped in the shower to ready myself for my 1 hour of fun. I had been on a very intense training course with work yesterday and knew that the time out away from screens and housework would do me good.

My happy place is being close to nature. I am most contented when I am sweating a bucket load while hiking in the mountains, and we do endeavour to get down to the Mourne Mountains as often as possible. I love nothing more than roaming through a forest or being near water as it is always relaxing and I believe it is good for the soul!

However, I am a city dweller and with my 1 hour window time-challenge I decided that staying within the environs of my home was the best way to make the most of my time – I didn’t want to waste half an hour driving somewhere picturesque only to have 5 minutes to appreciate it! Also, Belfast is a fantastic city with so much to see that it made perfect sense for my first mini-adventure to have a cycle in the city.

Adventure, in my opinion, can be doing anything you love to do, that pushes you a little and challenges you. It doesn’t have to involve zip-lining across a vast expanse or doing a Steve Backshall and scaling the sheer face of a Venezuelan Tepui (although that would be awesome!) Just find something you like and do it! Adventure is a very personal thing – for some people it can mean extreme sports, for others it is exploring nature and for others it might mean something totally different – that’s all ok, just find your passion and pursue it! For me, it’s being physically active in the everyday and going to new places.

St. George’s Market

So, first stop on my 1 hour mini-adventure was the world-famous St. George’s Market in Belfast city centre where I bought fresh vegetables to make a curry for tea (useful to have a basket on the bike!) I had a lovely chat with a local jewellery designer and had a great time wandering around the many stalls sampling some produce and admiring the many wonderful products on display. I only stayed for about 15 minutes, bearing in mind my time-challenge and the time it had taken me to cycle into town, but because I had gone early on a Friday morning the market wasn’t as busy as it would normally be on a Saturday or Sunday, so I could move around quickly.


From the market, I cycled on around the outskirts of the city centre to enjoy the cycleways and take in a few of the local sights.


The key to mini-adventure is to keep on moving, while remembering to pause every so often to appreciate your surroundings.


So, with that in mind, I cycled onwards towards the Titanic Quarter while staying alongside the water. This gives you a great vantage point for taking in the dockside of Belfast, with views across to the famous Harland and Wolff cranes and on a clear day, Cave Hill.


I stopped off at The Belfast Bakery Company in the Titanic Quarter for a coffee and something delicious to eat, I used my time there to do a little writing, fulfilling another one of my passions.


My 1 hour was up! Time well spent I think. And, as I mentioned earlier, Belfast is a super city with lots to see and do. There are museums, city tours, great restaurants and markets to explore but even just taking 1 hour to cycle around and admire the buildings, sculptures, harbour and coffee shops I had great fun and got some exercise too.

I had some lovely conversations, great food and coffee, all the while supporting local businesses which can only be a good thing. I am truly fed up with looking at my bank statement each month and seeing that big supermarkets have taken the bulk of my money – enough is enough!

I have discovered that it is possible to fit in 1 hour of doing something I love into my everyday. I am off home feeling happy and energised, ready to cram in a few hours of study prior to the school pick-ups. The rice krispies on the floor may have to stay where they are that little bit longer but I can cope with than in the name of mini-adventure!


Happy adventuring!

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