Over the past seven years, I’ve been helped by hundreds of people from around the world. Some people have helped me by donating money for my rides. Others have given me a free place to stay or a free meal of some kind. Some gave me advice. Others shouted words of encouragement. Over the years, hundred and hundreds of people have helped me in one way or another to make my bicycle touring dreams come true.
But after being helped by so many people, I began to wonder how I might be able to help other people in their own lives.
It’s a topic I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about over the past couple years, so today I need your help to figure it all out.
What I want to know is this: How can we (as bicycle travelers) help other people while we’re on tour?
Let’s say that you have no money and little (or no) resources. How can you help other people along the way? How can you make this world a better place while you’re traveling by bike?
If you have an idea, a story, or a piece of advice on how we as bicycle tourists can help other people; improve the environment; or generally make the world a better place… please use the comments box below to submit your idea.
My hope is that by sharing these ideas, we, as a community of bicycle tourists, can help to make the world a better place. And hopefully, just thinking about how you can help others will encourage you to go out and do something for someone else.
3 thoughts on “How Can Bicycle Tourists Help Others Along The Way?”
I’ll get us started with an example of a quick and easy way I was able to help someone while on a bike trip.
It was on my second tour that I came across a couple in a pickup truck on the side of the road. They were obviously having car troubles, so I stopped to see what the problem was. They didn’t speak English, so I pulled out my cell phone and motioned in such a way to ask if they wanted to use it. They smiled, called a friend of theirs that lived nearby, and the friend arrived a short while later to help them out.
I don’t know anything about cars, so I wasn’t able to help them in that way… but by giving them my phone, they were able to call a friend and get their car to a local repair shop. The call didn’t cost me a thing and it took only 15 minutes of my time to solve this problem for this kindhearted couple.
Although cash is not usually a large resource while touring, I like to offer food to those who are housing me. I, too, have had crazy amounts of experiences with people pulling me in off the street, where they treat me like a king, with a nice comfortable bed, a shower, and a few meals.
Often (when I was in Central America) I would be given food and fruit for the road. This food I began to use as a currency, when someone asked me for money, Id give them some fruit. When someone invited me in for dinner, Id offer to help cook, bringing in my own tastey ingredients. Another idea I had that Ive yet to act on is writing postcards to some of the families after Ive reached particular destinations, or returned home. There was also one other instance where I was able to work at a restaurant that a family owned in order to earn my stay.
For my tour I wanted to have the ability to leave my contact information with people I would meet. I came up with a personal business card. The card had my name and address. I also designed an iconic picture that was printed across the top. The card also proved useful to write personal notes on the back and directions to the next pie stop or a good camping area to pass onto another biker.
The card evolved over time to become our family business card. The card now includes the family member names, address, phone and of course email address. But it had all started with my first across country tour back in 1981.
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