Exactly two months from today I am going to leave on my 11th bike tour. Yes, I said that correctly. This will be my 11th long-distance trip by bike!
But my upcoming trip is going to be a bit different from my previous bicycle tours. In fact, it’s going to be unlike any other bike tour I’ve ventured on in the past.
“Why is that?” you ask.
Well, the reason this trip is going to be so different is because unlike my previous ten bicycle touring adventures where I traveled from one location to the next on my very own bicycle, I am going to conduct this upcoming tour without a bicycle of any kind.
That’s right, I’m traveling to South America without a bicycle of my own… and once I get there I’ll be forced to find a bike that I can ride across the continent.
In most cases, this isn’t the approach you want to take. When you go on a long distance bicycle tour, you usually want to travel on a bike that you are familiar with, comfortable riding, and know that you can depend on to get you from the start of the tour to the finish. In the past, I always used my own bicycle on my cycle touring adventures and there were some definite perks in traveling that way.
But the truth is, I’m a bit bored by traditional bicycle touring tactics. After ten years of long-distance cycling, I’m anxious to do something different, challenging and unique.
That’s why, when I travel to South America is two-month’s time, I’m going to go there with nothing but a backpack and a plan to travel for 6 months straight, from one side of the continent to the other.
At this point in time, I’m still not sure where I will start my South American adventure or where I might end it, but my plan at this point is to land in some South American country (I’m thinking Brazil, but don’t quote me on that) around the beginning of December and then traveling from there in the direction of Peru and Columbia.
Very much like I did last year when traveling with my bicycle through Europe, I plan to rent small apartments along the way, continue working (so I can actually make some money while I’m traveling), and really get to know specific parts of the countries I find myself passing through.
As I travel, I will either look for bicycles to rent and ride for a couple days before returning, or I will look for an inexpensive bicycle to buy and then later sell or give away at the end of my tour.
My ideal situation would be to find an old, rusty, South American junker and ride it across the continent. But until I get down there, it’s almost impossible to tell whether or not I’ll be able to find such a bike. My fingers are crossed.
The reality of the situation is, this is a dangerous move. I could very easily get to South America, find that the bicycles there are ill-equipped for my needs, and never end up buying a bicycle at all. Renting a bicycle might be a horrible idea as well. I really don’t know!
But that’s what makes a trip like this so exciting… and I think it will be fun to spend my first several weeks in South America searching for a bike. At the very least, it will be a good way to meet people and get to know my new surroundings.
At this point in time, two months out from my 11th long-distance bicycle touring adventure, this is what I know:
- I’ve rented out my home in Park City, Utah for 6 months (from December 1, 2010 – May 1, 2011).
- I am going to travel to South America during this time.
- I will go to South America with a backpack, my laptop computer, two cameras, and a change of clothes (no bicycle).
- Once I get to South America, I will travel about, continue working, and look for a bicycle to either rent or buy.
Everything else is still up in the air at this point in time.
Over the next several weeks I will publish at least one new article per week about the planning process for my upcoming trip to South America (this article will be in addition to all the regular new content featured here on BicycleTouringPro.com). With these new weekly articles, I’ll be sharing with you:
- Where exactly I plan to go in South America.
- How I plan out my route.
- Estimates on how much I plan to spend during my 6-month adventure.
- A detailed packing list for the trip.
- And a whole lot more!
My “bicycle tour without a bike” is certainly going to be a challenge, but it’s also going to be a whole lot of fun!
Have you ever gone on a bike tour and rented a bicycle or bought a new bike once you reached the starting location of your tour? If so, how did that turn out? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
Photo by Rowen of Ravara