Is Bike Touring An Extreme Sport?

Portugal Douro Valley Cycling

What category do bicycle travelers fall under? Are we cyclists? Backpackers? Tourists? Or something else completely?

No matter what grouping you think bicycle touring belongs in, for the next month at least, bike touring is being featured as an extreme sport – right up there with other crazy outdoor activites like base jumping, windsurfing and rollerblading.

A couple months ago I was asked if I would write an article about bicycle touring for I was told I could write a story on just about anything I wanted… as long as I made it “extreme.”

“Hmm…” I thought to myself. “How do I make bicycle touring come across as an extreme sport?”

After all, bicycle tourists don’t really travel at high speeds. We do don’t do any crazy tricks. There aren’t any real bike touring competitions to speak of. So how was I going to do this?

But then I realized that what bike travelers do is different than almost any other extreme sport. We may not jump off ramps or race in tight packs, but we do other extreme things. We cycle hundreds of miles in any given week. We knock on complete strangers’ doors and ask to sleep in their yards. And we encounter all sorts of wild animals (and strange people) on our travels.

When I got around to thinking about it, what bicycle tourists do is actually pretty extreme!

So after a couple weeks of writing and a little back and forth with the editor of XSport, my 12-page bicycle touring article was finally published in the June 09 issue of XSport Magazine!

If you’re interested in hearing about my run in with a supposedly non-existent creature on the backroads of Virginia or you want to hear how I nearly got my leg blown off by a man who eats nothing but beer and chocolate, then I enourage you to check out my story.

Just head over to and download your free copy today. The story starts on page 29 of the June 09 issue.

After your finished reading the article, please come back to this page, leave a comment below and let me what you thought of my “extreme” bicycle touring adventure on the East Coast of the United States.


0 thoughts on “Is Bike Touring An Extreme Sport?

  1. Michael Johnson says:


    Great article, it is extreme in a mellowing/satisfying sort of way. We should all be thankful there are roads out there that lead us directly into the everyday life and survival of our fellow “creatures.”
    Mike Johnson
    Columbus, Oh

  2. Paul Orsick says:

    Hi Darren… Nice article, giving a good insight of a day of a touring cyclist, have a safe touring year..

  3. Roy Reinarz says:


    An excellent article.

    We backpacked the Appalachian Trail. That was extreme in the sense that it is exceptionally challenging. So is bicycle touring. I have had adventures similar to those that you have experienced on the AT ass well as bicycle touring



  4. Dave says:


    I liked your article. You inspire people of all ages… I am one…Keep up the good work.

    Best of Luck

  5. tim briney says:

    Darren, well done.
    To confirm your cat sighting, many people [including me] have seen mountain lions and bobcats in western IL.

  6. Larry says:


    Read your story in It reminded me of when I was tracked through a meadow in GCNP by 3 mountain lions. Fortunately, my encounter was more cool than scary because they were about 100 yards away and I was flying downhill. The scariest part of that trip was when I blew a tire going @ 45 mph down a steep mountain grade with traffic just behind me. The second scariest was a very strange encounter camping on Hell’s Backbone in Utah.

  7. Brandon says:

    congrats on the feature. I’ve never seen a mountain lion and i dont think i ever want to. Keep riding!

  8. Darrell Robertson says:

    Absolutely awesome article. I am about to do my first sustained, self-contained tour that’ll be longer than 2 days. In July I’ll be riding southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. I’m about to turn 47 years old but tour cycling makes me feel really good about my age.

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