“Cycling does it all — you have the complete satisfaction of arriving because your mind has chosen the path and steered you over it; your eyes have seen it; your muscles have felt it; your breathing, circulatory and digestive systems have all done their natural functions better than ever, and every part of your being knows you have traveled and arrived.”
Who knows which countries lie ahead of me, how many kilometers my bike will endure in the coming years, and what amazing experiences are just waiting to happen. What I do know, is that July second I will be dropped off in Washington with my bike, camping gear, and clothes for every climate ranging from California in August, to winter in the Himalayas. For someone who has never bike-toured (and rarely does more than the required five or six miles a day it takes to work and back) just making it the 3,000km to the Mexican border should be more than enough. On the other hand, why not just make that the warm up, and plan a three year bike trip around the world from there?
This bike trip started much the same as a fair number of my ideas tend to… a small simple plan that exploded and ended up as something wildly different. From the thought of taking a year off to backpack through Asia, I somehow have found myself preparing for a three year bike trip around the world. After I got that into my head, I started to research what I was going to need (remember, at this point I had never even changed a flat on a bike, and to be totally truthful, I still haven’t). I started reading bike touring blogs about people who have biked across literally every country. I read about a family with twin eleven year olds who biked from Alaska to Patagonia. I read about a guy who worked in Japan for two years, and then decided to spend the next four years biking home, 50,000 km, to London (and who since has done all of Africa as well). I read about people who have gone around the world completely on their own power (their own row boat across the oceans… and people think I’m crazy?). I was hooked.
Bike touring, I realized, was the prefect way to travel. It will let me go where I want, when I want. It will provide me with the opportunity to visit villages that no other traveler will stop at, meet people that no one else will ever meet. It is the ultimate “off the beaten path” travel guide. It will also keep me in the best shape of my life, while providing me the cheapest form of travel that forces me to eat, sleep, and live outdoors in every condition and situation imaginable. For me, it’s the dream.
When you realize what is ahead of you, years on the bike through over a dozen different countries, you realize that you are no longer planning a trip, but rather a whole new lifestyle.