Overview
 

This site was created to share my experiences bicycle-touring. When I obtained the domain name "bicycle-touring" awhile back, I was thrilled; I would create a site that offered everything everyone wanted to know about bicycle-touring. Well, I've spent a chunk of time gathering everything that I have on bicycle-touring, and arranging it to work as a Web site. I've got to be honest -- this site is not quite as grand as I planned. It's basically about three solo rides of mine.

If you're still reading, let me suggest why you may want to spend some time on this site:
I bicycled interesting places, relatively early in their popularity as tourist-destinations.

I took many photos.
I kept a journal.
I was not an experienced tourer, and thus many of my journal entries capture real mood-swings.

Let me comment on that last bullet. As I began posting old journal entries I became concerned about how I would come across -- did I complain too much? Was I ignorant? I toyed with doing some editing -- making each day's ride seem fun, and making myself look a little... better. But I'm going to keep the text as written. It's more entertaining, and it's really what this site is all about -- a normal person figuring out how to complete tough rides

 
 
  Why Travel by Bike?
 
If you're going traveling, riding a bike is unequivocally the best way there is to sight-see. "Unequivocal" is a strong word, so let me show you my rationale.
 
 
 
First, the negatives associated with using a bike for "touristing":
 
. Climbing hills and mountains will break your spirit.
. Riding in the rain for more than one day in a row will break your spirit.
. Long boring stretches can break your spirit.
. Bicycling is work!
 
 
But the positives are very positive:
 
. You can go anywhere you want - you never have to see if "this train stops there."
. Getting around town is a piece of cake. While other tourists are still figuring which bus will get them to the museum, you're half-way there!
. You can eat and sleep for less, since you'll be off the tourist track.
. You will experience the local culture as no regular tourist ever will.
 
 
  Independent Riding versus Organized Trips
 
At the simplest level, there are two types of bike-touring: independent versus organized rides. But it's really more of a continuum:
1a. Riding alone, carrying a backpacking stove, and sleeping outside
1b. Riding alone, depending on businesses for hot food, and sleeping outside.
1c. Riding alone, depending on businesses for hot food and sleeping inside.
2. Riding with a friend or two, then categorized as above, into a) stove, b) outside, and c) inside.
3. Organized trips, with scheduled group meals and accommodations.

The first step is deciding what type trip to take. Personally, I think it's a mistake to carry a stove. Besides the weight issue, I think the purpose of riding is to meet people, and the best way to do that is to eat with others. I understand stretching a budget by living on bread and cheese, but do plan on buying hot coffee or tea at roadside stands, if only for the human interaction. Likewise, I feel that riding with a friend is a very different experience from riding alone. The plus: the down-days will seem less down. The minus: inevitably you will miss the best experiences, as locals will always be more likely to interact with a solo traveler.

Finally: Organized tours. At one time I thought that they "didn't count" as bike-touring since a van was carrying your baggage, and a sag-wagon would scoop you up if you tired. I'm getting smarter - I've come to realize that organized tours are, at a minimum, the perfect introduction to this sport, and what's more, possibly an improvement on my own stubborn "I-can-do-it-all-myself" approach. To learn more about what it's like to go out on your own, click on the links to the left.
 
 
 
 
 
 
2008-2014 by Bill Fridl  ( billfridl@gmail.com )
Links to this site are welcome. Copying content or images from this site without written permission is illegal, and uncool.
Thanks for understanding.