Josh TK is a young bicycle traveler from St. Louis, Missouri at the beginning of his bicycle touring career. He’s conducted a few short bike tours across various sections of the United States, but he has plans of cycling in other countries and one day cycling all the way around the world.
In this short video, Josh shares just a few of the reasons why traveling by bike has not only peaked his interest, but quickly become a way of life. Watch the video above or read the transcript below. I have a feeling this short video will make you want to try bicycle touring as well! Click here to learn how.
What got me into traveling basically came from my parents. My father is from Kenya. My mother is from Trinidad. So, growing up, we were always traveling to other countries. From then on, I was kind of hooked on it.
I guess the more you travel, the more you see, and the more you realize what you don’t know. So there’s always more to learn. Every time you travel you discover something else, and it’s kind of like a drug – once you get into it, you gotta keep going back.
I’m obsessed with the world. I’m obsessed with everything about it. The food, the culture, the language. I love exploring and discovering new things.
Travel for me is freedom. There’s nothing like it… and again, that’s why I live my life for it. Everything I do is to fuel that.
Some friends of mine were like, “Hey! Come with us on a bike ride.”
And I was like, “I haven’t ridden a bike since I was a kid.” But I borrowed my friend’s bike for that night and we rode all night long. I was immediately hooked. I went and got a bike a few days later!
Bike travel is pure freedom for me. There is no better way to see your city, your state, your country… to see the world, than by a bicycle.
There is something really beautiful about moving your body through space and time while carrying everything you’ll need, everything that you own with you, and being very self-sustained.
I can look at a map now and I can say, “I can go anywhere on this map as long as I have two working legs and a decent bike.” It’s very empowering!
As soon as I began riding my bike, I began planning in my head, longer trips.
I’ve been on three larger trips. I biked from my parents’ house in St. Louis, Missouri to Indianapolis (Indiana). That was the first time. The second time was when I biked from Portland (Oregon) to San Frnacisco (California), and then I just recently got back from a trip where I biked from St. Louis to New York City.
The best moment about bike travel, for me, is always the people – going out of their way to be incredible. To be awesome. To be nice. To be kind. To help you out. No matter where I’ve gone, there’s always amazing people, and that’s the best part about a bike trip.
There are a lot of downsides to bike travel – especially traveling solo. You know, there are just says when it’s really tough. And you’re riding through a small town, and you’re seeing all these families inside their homes, and their nice and warm and they’re having a great time, and you’re just kind of like, “Ah, I wouldn’t mind being back home.”
Even when times are bad, it’s really important just to embrace that. It’s not going to be a real trip or adventure without that, because you have to have that downside.
When I left home, I told my mom I was traveling to Chicago, which I was. But I didn’t tell her the full story (that I was traveling there on my bicycle!). And they found out, a few days later, that I made it to Canada. And once I made it to Canada, they just flipped out! But they kind of understand it because they’re travelers as well. They know what it means to travel. They know what it means to leave your home. They think I’m crazy, but the accept it now. They are at peace. Once they realized that this is not a phase for me – this is something I’m going to do… and this is something I’m going to continue to do – I think they’re at peace with it now.
The minimum and maximum number of miles I do in a day depends on a lot of factors. For me, it averages between about 40 and 85 miles a day.
I definitely understand the concern with personal safety, and I get that questioned asked a lot. I think we’re given the idea that places are more dangerous than they actually are. I can tell you I’ve never feared for my safety on any of my bike trips – so much that I don’t even think about it until someone brings it up. You know? I camp out everywhere. I camp out in abandoned buildings or behind Wal-Marts, behind gas stations. I’ll camp out in the middle of a city – it doesn’t matter. I’ve never had a problem.
My biggest goal as a bike traveler is to go to as many places as I can, learn as much as I can, meet as many people as I can. I want to eat the world. I want to soak everything up. As long as I can, I’m going to try and feed that. Whatever that thing is that’s making me want to do that, I’m going to keep feeding it.
Whenever I’m out there on the bike, I feel right. You know? I feel at peace. I feel like this is where I need to be. There’s just this sense of this is where I need to be – more so than anything else!
Biking from St. Louis to Brooklyn is the beginning of the beginning. I have so many other adventures planned out for myself. I’m thinking maybe I could bike from St. Louis to California? Maybe St. Louis to Louisiana, then fly to South America, Central America?
(Cycling) overseas is definitely part of my future plans. Eventually I’d like to do an around the world trip, as well as do long excursions, like Alaska to Argentina.
Once you realize you can do it on your own, you look at a map and literally you can look at a map and say, “I can go anywhere on this map!” You know what I’m saying? “There is not a place on this world that I can’t get to as long as I have the right gear and the right equipment.”
There’s nothing that can stop me! Now that I know that… I can’t. I can’t just stay here. I have to go!