Philosophy Of Travel

The funny thing about long distance bicycle travellers


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?