There’s definitely something funny about them (us?). And I’m quite not sure what it is.
The thing is that bicycle travel is actually a totally sensible thing to do. It allows you to travel with an incredible level of independence. And by that I mean independence from planes and public transport, agents and brokers and guides, hostels and hotels and campsites, infrastructure and industry of all kinds — in short, almost all of the tie-downs and costs and restrictions associated with consumer-based travel.
Cycling with a tent allows you to go anywhere, sleep anywhere, meet more of the ‘locals’ (it’s all you ever do), and travel far longer on a far smaller budget. You’ll get fit. Ridiculously so. And contrary to popular belief, cycling doesn’t take a long time; it in fact gives you back the time that modern life stole from you, and in doing so creates a kind of freedom often missed entirely. It’s an exercise in meditation, rediscovering humanity and living in the present. In fact, I really struggle to think of a compelling argument against the bicycle, assuming the goal of travel is adventure, intrigue, freedom and — ultimately — satisfaction.
So why (though its popularity is undoubtedly on the increase) does bicycle travel largely remain the domain of loners, eccentrics, outcasts and hippies?