After completing my recent 2016 bike tour across Portugal, Spain, France, Andorra, Norway and Sweden, I flew back to the United States and some have you have been asking, “Darren, why did you quit your bike after only three months?”
After all, many of my previous bicycle touring expeditions have been much longer. Seven months, nine months, fourteen months… and sometimes even longer! This year, however, my bike tour in Europe was only three months long. Why was that? And did something go wrong?
No, nothing went wrong. The plan from the beginning was to travel for only three months. If you re-read my 2016 bike tour travel plans post… or watch the video I published back at the beginning of May, you will see that I planned on traveling for only three months this year before returning home to the United States.
The reason my trip was so short this year is because in late 2015, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. One week after receiving this news, I went in for an emergency surgery and it took me several months after that to recover – not just physically, but mentally as well.
One of the main things that got me through this terrible experience was planning and preparing for my next big bike tour (the bike tour that I just completed). In fact, I always find the planning and preparation process of a bike tour to be extremely motivating. It gives you something to look forward to… and it’s fun to dream about the adventures you might have along the way.
So, I spent the first several months of 2015 recovering from my surgery and preparing my body and my mind for another big bike tour in Europe.
But unlike my bike tours in the past, I knew that this bike tour was going to be different. Not only had a just recently undergone a pretty major surgery, but my doctors were telling me that I would need to receive regular 3-month checkups in order to make sure the cancer was truly gone… and that it had not spread to other parts of my body. Every three months I would need to return to Southern California (where I had my surgery and where all of my doctors were located) and get new blood tests, a new CT scan, and visit with each of my various doctors.
So, when I was planning my bike tour in Europe this year, I knew that I was on a tight three-month timeline. I had 90 days to fly to Europe, do as much cycling as I possibly could do, and then I would need to fly back to the United States for a new round of tests and follow-up doctor visits.
That’s why my bike tour was only three months long this year… and that’s why I’m back in Southern California at the moment.
I plan to stay here in SoCal for another 2-3 months, but after that I’m hoping to go off on another 3-month-long bicycle touring adventure. Watch the video above and you’ll learn that I have not yet decided where I want to go on my next cycling adventure, but I am debating between three very different places: Cyprus, Ecuador and Iran.
Which of these three destinations would you be most interested in cycling through? Leave a comment below and let me where you think I should go.
PS – Thank you to everyone who has messaged me privately or left comments on my YouTube videos and/or Facebook posts. Your kind and encouraging words really mean a lot to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!