If the busyness of modern life is stopping you from getting out there on your first overseas bicycle adventure, try following these steps:
- Find the next available window in your calendar. Multiply the number of full days it contains by 50. Guard this window with your life.
- Choose a nearby country — somewhere new — and book a plane/bus/train to a major city there. (If booking flights, check that your airline is bike-friendly.)
- Take your answer from 1, find another city roughly that many kilometres away, and book a return plane/bus/train home. (Use Google Maps to estimate cycling distances.)
- Get a cardboard box from your nearest bike shop and pack your bike into it like this. Pack your panniers, tent and rollmat into one of these, and take your bar-bag as a carry-on (if flying).
- Arrive overseas and unpack your bike. Meander towards your destination at a leisurely pace. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Do entirely as you feel.
- Repeat step 4, having successfully completed your first overseas cycle tour.
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Today I have a few additional thoughts to share with you about cycle touring, one of the simplest and most rewarding forms of travel there is.
Despite what I tend to talk about on this blog, going on an overseas bicycle adventure does not have to involve quitting your job, spending years planning, and then embarking upon a long-winded odyssey of self discovery (though that’s fun too).
Sometimes it can simply mean going somewhere new, nosing around for long enough to unwind fully from daily life, and coming home refreshed.
It does not have to be heroic. It does not have to involve ‘epic’ days in the saddle. Or energy gels. Or lycra.
It does not have to involve hardship, heavy traffic, mountain ranges and continental crossings on £5 a day and with nothing but pasta and stock-cubes for sustenance.
Believe it or not, you’re allowed to have fun on a bike tour. Not the type of fun you later convince yourself you had. Actual, real fun. Sit by the riverside and read your favourite book. Wallow in a state of post-lunch, post-beer relaxation for hours every afternoon. Cook elaborate meals. Eat ice cream. Brew coffee. Occasionally do some cycling.
It does not have to involve telling anyone about it. Do not blog. Sleep in wonderful, wild places that only you will ever know. Meet new people every day. Ignore everyone and everything except what’s happening right here, right now. Leave your phone and laptop at home. I dare you. I double dare you. Throw out your calendar. Spontaneously change your plans, your flights, your life.
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Come to think of it, I should probably get around to doing this myself.
Yes. I really should. I work too hard. I need a break — a break from writing all this stuff about adventure cycle touring.
I’m going to go and ride my bike.
I leave tomorrow.