The Biggest Fears Of People Who Travel By Bike

Over the past six months I’ve been surveying the readers here at Bicycle Touring Pro and asking them to answer a series of questions about bicycle touring, world travel, their age, interests and more.

One of the questions I ask in the survey is, “What is your biggest fear when planning a bicycle tour?”… and today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of responses I’ve received to that one particular question.

To make things easy to understand, I’ve created a pie chart which demonstrates the biggest fears that people reported when preparing for a bicycle tour of their own.

What the chart above shows is that the number one fear that many people have when preparing for a trip by bike is that they will somehow not be able to finish the trip. Nearly a quarter of the people who completed my bicycle touring survey said they feared overexerting themselves, losing their motivation to keep going, or simply being unable to keep up the pace of day to day travel.

Not surprisingly, traffic, bad drivers, and accidents were reported as the second largest fear amongst those surveyed.

Theft, robbery and personal safety took third place with more than 11% of those surveyed saying they feared being accosted while out on the road or losing their gear to thieves when stepping away from their bikes.

A surprising number of people feared simply having a mechanical problem out on the road that they would be unable to fix.

Finding places to sleep, shower, and go to the bathroom every day is also be a big concern, with just over 7% listing this as their biggest fear when planning a bicycle tour of their own.

And wouldn’t you know it, but a significant number of people reported being afraid of wild animals, creatures that go bump in the night, and yes… even monsters!

Other fears reported by readers included not being able to get away from home/work, a sudden lack of money or surprise on-the-road expenses, running out of food/water while in an isolated locale, getting lost, encountering bad weather, and being alone for extended periods of time.

What do you make of this list? Are you surprised that the biggest fear people have is that they will be unable to finish their tour? What advice do you have for these people? And what about the people afraid of mechanical failures? What’s that all about? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the matter.


10 thoughts on “The Biggest Fears Of People Who Travel By Bike

  1. ha1ku says:

    Fears of over-exertion might be addressed by educating first-timers in planning their first tours realistically. I’ve read many articles about S240s, and hope to do a few myself this Fall, when the weather gets cooler.

    The fear of injury might also be partially explained by lack of experience/road skill. I’d be interested in how much bicycling experience the respondents had on the average.

    As a general response to the survey, I think it’s a fair representation of our driving culture and the way bicycling is perceived. It would be interesting to see this survey repeated over the years, to see how the responses change as cycling is adopted more.

  2. R.W. Jackson says:

    If you never begin, you have a 100% chance of not finishing. It’s funny how fears work. They really can blind us to the fact that the fear is the actual biggest impediment.

    All there is to it, is to do it.

  3. Dougabc says:

    The number fear was shared by my wife on the first tour we took together in Nova Scotia. It was her first tour, first time camping and first time of doing multiple days in the saddle. We rode out a hurricane, multiple days of rain and completed 700 miles in 2 weeks. When we were done her first response was when do we go again. But the tour was a reasonable amount of miles and terrain to have her feel successful. As Vagobond stated, it is funny how fear works.

  4. Colleen says:

    I think, after doing a tour with a friend who was not really prepared physically, my biggest fear is doing a tour with someone who is not having a good time. It kind of brings everyone down.

  5. Robert Conlan says:

    Your site is one of the best I’v come across re touring. My biggest fear is not being able to get my bike safely through the airport to arrive at the other end in one piece. Airlines do not make it easy for tourers to take thier bike with them. Next August myself and wife are planning a round trip Koln to Basel via the Rhine and back via the Mosel, taking three weeks in all.

  6. DPeach says:

    I have to admit to one of those people who fear wild animals and monsters. The only two other things that concern me a little bit is bad drivers and finding a place to sleep.

    I have never done a bike tour, but am planning at least one this year. Honestly my biggest fear is things that go bump in the night if I am alone. Having someone else with me takes care of that though.

  7. john ashby says:



  8. Anne Kessler says:

    While all those fears have a degree of validity, many of them can be minimized by appropriate route planning, training, and having a resource kit. The resource kit can deal with the mechanical, safety and financial concerns. Even getting lost can be a social experience when asking others for help. I think each day that one is successful will build confidence in repeating the adventures and even taking on bigger challenges. Those who fear being alone can join a group. While I admire and am so proud of Daren’s level of touring, we need not all go to such a distance, nor do we
    have to do it alone. Learn to accommodate and prepare for the things you fear and get out there and bike.

  9. funk says:

    I feel being alone is more of a problem then overexertion.. Of course if you have nothing being alone isn’t much a problem..

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