Bicycle touring is a fun, adventurous and life-altering sport. But before any of the good stuff can happen, you have to decide that you really do want to travel by bike. You have to make the commitment!
Almost every day I get an email from someone who has started to think about the possibilities of traveling by bike. But every time I get such an email, I think to myself, “I wonder how committed this person really is?”
In order for your bicycle adventure to be a true success, the first and most important step is making the decision that the tour is really going to happen.
Most people, when planning for an adventure like a bicycle tour, think in chronological order. They think they have to save up the money, plan out the route, get all the gear, find a riding partner, make arrangements with their work, tell their friends and family, and then… when all of that is sorted out… then they can finally commit to the idea of an adventure by bike.
But that’s not the way it works!
Instead, the first thing you need to do is make the decision that “Yes, I am going to go on a bicycle tour.” Once you’ve declared that your bicycle adventure is really going to happen, you need to give yourself a deadline.
For example, you might say, “Yes, I am going to go on a bicycle tour. I am going to leave the second week or January and I will return around the end of May.”
Once you’ve made that declaration to yourself, that’s all you need to kick-start your bicycle tour into reality.
Once you’ve made your declaration, you can then work backwards to fill in all the gaps.
Now that you know when you are leaving, you can start working on a timeline. You can make a list of everything that has to happen before you leave. You can work to get all the gear you will need. You now have time to arrange things with your work. You have time to tell your friends and family. You have time to find riding partner.
Now that you’ve declared that your bicycle tour is really going to happen, you now have a goal to shoot for. You have a deadline.
Take it from me: Incredible things happen when you push yourself to make them happen under seemingly impossible time restrictions. By giving yourself a deadline and a goal to work towards, you will make things happen 100 times faster than you would otherwise.
In the two months leading up to my tour of Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic last year, I got more done in those two months than I had accomplished in the entire year before that. I was pushing myself to get things done because I had a goal I was working for and a deadline that had to be kept.
If you are thinking about making a bicycle tour at some point in the future, make the decision right now that your bicycle adventure really is going to take place.
You don’t have to know how it is going to happen. You don’t even have to know where you are going to go. Just make the decision that your trip by bike is going to become a reality. Define a date for that reality and check back soon for my next installment of “How To Plan A Bicycle Tour 6 Months In Advance” when I’ll be discussing the next crucial step for planning your big bicycle adventure.