Don’t just take your bike on your next vacation – take your next vacation on your bike!
In July 2009, after getting rid of all of our stuff and saying goodbye to our friends, we left our steady lives to cycle around the US. The goal was simple: to see hidden corners of the country, meet amazing people, live as fully as possible. Almost 14 months and 9,000 miles later, we’re still pedaling – and we’re pretty much convinced that traveling on a bike is the best way to explore (and experience) the world.
On a bike, you become a part of your surroundings. You can smell the wildflowers and the taco trucks. You can hear the waves crashing and the neighbors talking. You can sleep out under the stars, buy fruit from a road-side farm stand, swap stories with strangers-become-friends. And, unlike a traditional vacation, you don’t have to wait to arrive at your destination – because when you travel on bike, your adventure starts the minute you walk out the door.
Here’s a secret about traveling by bike: it doesn’t have to be an enormously epic undertaking! Before we left on our current journey, we logged hundreds of miles on much, much shorter trips. A single overnight camping trip to a nearby park. A 4-day weekend to wine country. These trips may not sound as impressive as 14 months of rambling across the country, but they were every bit as much fun. Another secret of bike touring is that, because you’re so active and experience so much in a single day, time slows down – one day on a bike tour can feel like four, four days can feel like two weeks. “Normal life” fades away as you soar down hills and cook over a campfire, so don’t discount the simple joys of a quick bike trip!
We bet that a lot of folks who could potentially really enjoy bike touring never try it out because they can’t take off three months to ride across the country or they don’t have the “perfect” gear. In truth, you can enjoy a perfectly wonderful bike adventure with only a single night off and a backpack of clothes and snacks. We invite you to pull out a map of your area and plan a quick trip on your next free weekend, especially since the heat of summer is fading and the mosquitoes aren’t as frisky.
To learn more about our trip and pick up some bike touring pointers, visit www.pathlesspedaled.com.
Editor’s note: Laura and Russ are the brains (and bikers) behind The Path Less Pedaled. They’ll be writing for us monthly on all things related to bike touring and living the active bike lifestyle.