People think that just because I’ve ridden my bike across the United States six times and traveled through a dozen different countries on a two-wheeled vehicle, that this somehow translates into me being a bicycling maniac. They think that because I’ve done all these things that I’ve got to be “one of those nuts” they see zipping around their town on Saturday mornings dressed in spandex and a neon pink jersey plastered with logos.
But you know what?
THAT’S NOT ME!
In fact, you want to know something else? Something very few people know? Okay. Here it is:
After almost ten years of long distance biking, I still don’t consider myself to be a cyclist… and frankly I don’t think I ever will.
You’ll hear it again and again. When most people find out that you are cycling for days on end, sleeping in a tent, and relying on the kindness of strangers to get from one place to the next, the most common response you are bound to get goes something like this:
“Are you crazy?”
Most of us take it as a compliment, but it brings up a subject worth discussing.
Many people think you have to be nuts in order to go on a bike tour. And even those that don’t think it’s crazy to travel by bike, many still believe that you have to be a cycling fanatic in order to conduct a long distance bike tour. They think you’ve got to have the latest high-tech gear. They believe you’ve got to be 100% up to date with the latest specs and terminology. And they think that going fast and getting there in record time is what bicycling is all about.
But here’s the truth: YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A CYCLING FANATIC IN ORDER TO TRAVEL BY BIKE.
What’s so great about bicycle touring is that it is the un-sport of the cycling world. We aren’t out there to win races. Most of us aren’t licensed bicycle mechanics. And most of us don’t do extensive training before we set out on our rides.
While we all ride for different reasons and enjoy different aspects of the cycling experience, I am here to once and for all to bust the myth that you have to be a “cycling nut” in order to go on a bike tour. It simply isn’t true!
If you are a first time bicycle traveler and you’re stressing out about learning all the terminology, knowing every little detail of your bike, and keeping up with faster riders in your group… don’t worry about all that! Just get on your bike… start riding… and do whatever you can to have fun along the way!
Photos by: Dana Lookadoo