How Bicycle Travel Can Change Your Life And Make Your Dreams Come True

I’ve always been incredibly shy. I’ve heard stories for years about how my parents had to use the Jaws of Life to get me out of the car on my first day of Kindergarten. I’ve never liked being around large groups of people and my biggest fear growing up was making a presentation in front of my peers. I’ve just never been a social individual and I figured I’d always be that way.

So when I turned 16 and told my parents that after I graduated from high school I wanted to ride my bicycle down the coast of California, they were more than a bit concerned. In many ways, I think they doubted I could do it. I was a sheltered and socially inept high school student who had never been away from home for more than a week. Who was I to think that I could go out on my own and cycle the length of California?

Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking. But it doesn’t matter now, because in 2001 I completed my 30-day journey by bike and it changed my life forever!

Just a few weeks after graduating from high school I jumped on a Greyhound bus and began my 1000-mile journey by bike. When I got home a month later I was a completely different person. I was still a bit reserved, but my view of the world had completely changed and I was ready to strike out on my own. Two days later I started my first year of college.

My university education went well and over the next four years I continued to spend my summers traveling by bike. By the time I completed college in the winter of 2004 I had cycled through 27 states and seen some of the most amazing places this country (America) has to offer.

While I was proud of my accomplishments, graduation meant a sudden confrontation with reality. I wasn’t a college student anymore. I needed to get a job!

Luckily, finding work in the film and television industry wasn’t difficult. I picked up a couple sound recording gigs and was soon thereafter logging long hours on the set of numerous short films and straight-to-DVD commercial videos.

After one particularly long 22-hour shift, I came home and realized I was falling into a trap. It was a trap I had seen happen with just about everyone around me and it was a trap that the people I met on my bicycle tours had warned me about.

I had built a life for myself that was not conducive to the lifestyle I wanted to live. I wasn’t passionate about getting the (sound) levels right. I was passionate about travel, goal setting and lifestyle design! I wanted to see the world; I wanted to learn from the people I met on my journeys; and I wanted to inspire the people around me to go after their dreams.

On my travels I had met too many people who let work, family, friends and debt prevent them from going after they things they really wanted in life. I didn’t want to become one of those people. I needed to find a way out!

A few months later I took my sister’s car and drove for 12 hours to the state of Utah. Once there, I pulled into a realtor’s office, asked that the woman at the desk show me some properties in town… and a few hours later I had purchased my first condominium.

A month later I moved everything I owned to the ski town of Park City, Utah (home of the Sundance Film Festival) and started an entirely new life for myself. I didn’t have a job, friends or a plan of any kind. All I knew was that I wanted to build a life for myself that would allow me to travel and do the things I liked to do. I didn’t know how I was going to make that happen, but I was determined to see it through.

But before I get carried away, let me backtrack a bit.

You see, when you travel by bicycle you get asked a lot of the same questions time and time again. People want to know, “Where are you from? Where are you going? Where did you start? How many miles do you ride in a day? Where do you sleep at night? How much does your bike weight?”… and a bunch of other basic questions about your trip.

Over the years I’ve been asked these questions hundreds (if not thousands) of times. But the one question no one ever asks is, “What is it that you think about while you’re riding?”

The truth is, when you travel by bicycle there is a lot of time to sit and think. You think about food, friends, family and a million other things. But for me, much of my time was spent thinking about the future.

As I sat on my bike and pedaled away, I thought to myself:

  • Where do I want to live?
  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to spend my time with?
  • What is it that I really want?
  • Where would I like to go?
  • What will make me happy?
  • How do I want to be remembered?

These are the questions I asked myself time and time again as I slowly made my way across the country on my bicycle… and it was cycling that allowed me the opportunity to think about these questions.

Now back to Utah.

My first couple years in Utah were a struggle. I didn’t have a job. Making friends was difficult. And worst of all, I didn’t know how to ski (something you must know how to do when you live in a resort town surrounded by some of the best snow on earth).

But then, just over a year ago, I got a call from one of my old college roommates. For years I had tried to get him to join me on my bicycle travels, but I could never make it happen. He, like so many people I’ve met over the years, always had an excuse. But now, years later, he wanted to give “bicycle touring” a try… and he wanted my advice on how to make it happen.

We talked for a couple hours on the phone and the memories of my bicycle travels came rushing back to me.

While on the phone that night I thought to myself, “If I can help one person make their dreams come true by sharing my bicycle touring experiences over the phone, I wonder what I could do if I took everything I know, wrote it down and shared it with the world?”

So that’s exactly what I did!

Just over a year ago I started and since that time have been working non-stop to help people from all corners of the globe make their bicycle touring dreams become a reality.

My goal here is not to reiterate the same bicycle touring information that has been shared time and time again. There are a plenty of books on the subject and that’s not what I’m really interested in.

What I AM interested in is showing you that the bicycle can be a vehicle that propels you towards your ideal lifestyle.

You see, bicycling has taught me that you don’t have to follow the rules of the past in order to get what you want. You don’t have to work until you’re 60 and then be too old to go after your dreams. You don’t have to let your mortgage or your kids hold you back from accomplishing what you want in life. You don’t have to live in a big house and drive a fancy car in order to be happy. The world is changing and the way things were done in the past is forever being altered.

My bicycle travels have taught me that success is not determined by how much we own. And those I’ve met along the way have confirmed my suspicions by stating that joy in life is not fulfilled once we reach a certain number of zeros in our bank accounts.

My travels have made me realize that the successful people of the future will not necessarily be millionaires or billionaires, but people who have created lifestyles for themselves that allow them to pursue the things they want most.The trick is, in order to live the life you want, you have to change… and change isn’t easy.

That being said, my goal this weekend is to open you up to new ideas and possibilities for change in your own life. My goal this weekend is to share with you how bicycling can change the way you live.

If you get anything out of this weekend, I hope that you realize that what is most important is that you decide what you want in life and then go after it with everything you’ve got!

Whether you want to ride your bike across the country, get rid of your car or break away from your job and travel the world… that’s what this weekend is all about!

Over the next two days you will be learning about various aspects of the bicycling world. You’ll learn what it takes to ride your bike to work, to stay safe out on the road, cycle with your family and inspire others to jump on their bicycles as well! You’ll even learn about a strategy this weekend that is allowing people from all corners of the globe to quit their day jobs, travel the world and make money while they pursue the things they’re passionate about.

This weekend isn’t really about bicycling. This weekend is about what kind of a lifestyle bicycling can provide you with.

You want to know what I’ve learned from my bicycle travels?

Bicycling has taught me that what I really want from life is the opportunity to be myself and go after the things I really want.

I now realize that all I really want is to have a good life: A life that allows me to travel, continue to learn and help other people accomplish their goals.

In fact, that’s the reason I created this website! That’s the reason I’ve put this event together this weekend! And that’s why I’ve put so much time and energy into sharing what I know!

My goal here is not to tell you about what I have accomplished, but to open you up to the possibility of accomplishing everything you want in your own life – no matter what that may be!

We all have different goals in life and I know that. But this weekend I hope you will open yourself up to new ideas, new possibilities and new ways of thinking.

If you get anything out of the information that is going to be shared with you this weekend, I hope you will realize that whatever is wrong in your life right now, you can fix it. Whatever you want to do, you can do it. Whatever you want to have, you can have it. Wherever you want to go, you can go there. The only thing holding you back is you.

It’s up to you now!

Decide what you want; determine which steps need to be taken; and do what it takes to make your dreams come true.


0 thoughts on “How Bicycle Travel Can Change Your Life And Make Your Dreams Come True

  1. Roy Reinarz Jr says:


    I like your cycling outfits. But I wonder about your high top shoes. I really do not like the cycling shoes that I wear for my block pedals. I some times ride with my hiking boots. What are you wearing? Are the soles stiff enough for cycling?



  2. Darren Alff says:

    Roy, I’m actually going to be discussing shoes during my live streaming video Q&A session on Sunday night. See the schedule here for the exact time:

    I’m about to leave on a 6 month journey by bike and my shoes have been one of the biggest problems to figure out, so I’ll talk about that on Sunday. If you can tune in, that would be great! You’ll have the opportunity to ask me other questions at that time as well.

  3. Charlie Park says:

    Hello Darren,

    I have kind of come full-circle with my “Bicycling Lifestyle”, after nearly 20 years as a transportation professional I have finally decided to ride for the fun of riding. Rather than my life dictating my style, my style now dictates my life.

    Now I ride when I feel like it, go where I want to go, ride with whom i like to ride with, and ride what is comfortable for me. I find I enjoy the ride much more when I am “riding just for the ride”.

    It is always nice to hear from others and learn from their experiences. I appreciate what you are doing and I hope you are having fun!


  4. Bob says:

    I’ve enjoyed Bicycle Touring Pro, and I enjoyed your essay about biking and dreams. For each of us the challenge changes throughout our life, from escaping job entrapment when young to creating a new life upon retirement. What remains the same is the necessity of finding some act that breaks the dam and lets everything flow. That’s why your story about biking down the California coast was so important.

  5. Amy says:

    Nice story. It is not always easy achieving the balance between responsibilities and living your dream life, but absolutely a challenge well worth pursuing. Also really liked that last comment, “..the necessity of finding some act that breaks the dam and lets everything flow.” Nicely put!

  6. Marco A. Fort says:

    Thanks for your website, the information it provides, and your thoughts about bicycling. I am planning on a trip from Arizona to Lima Peru next month, your advice is being very helpful.


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