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Monday, November 4, 2013

Bicycle travel doesn’t have to be hardcore. You can even bring your knitting

After reading Julie Huck’s article,  “Knitting Club tackles trail of the Coeur d’Alenes”,  on the Adventure Cycling blog, Carolyn and I started talking about the all myths surrounding overnight bicycle travel that might keep people from actually trying it.  In her post Julie shares a recent experience convincing her knitting club to go on an overnight bicycle trip.  Since most of the group had never done an overnight bicycle trip, it sounded difficult and messy at first glance.  The knitters were reluctant until Julie countered their arguments with easy, simple solutions.  Proving to her friends that bicycle travel, even overnight bicycle travel, doesn’t have to be hardcore to be fun.  Anyone can do it.
bicycle touring can be easy; bike travel; two wheel travel
Carolyn pedaling on a quiet gravel road.
Czech Republic. Spring 2011

BICYCLE TRAVEL IS NOT AS HARD AS YOU THINK

With the idea that overnight bicycle travel needn’t be hardcore to be fun we began plumbing the depths of bicycle forums, message boards, asking friends and the like to come up with the “Top 5 myths about bicycle travel and how to dispel them”.
Here’s what we found:
  1. You have to be a hardcore adventurer
  2. You need special, expensive equipment.
  3. Weather- It’s too hot / too cold.
  4. You need to be a bike mechanic
  5. It’s not safe
Remember as we go through list below, we are talking about beginning bicycle travel for the newbie or someone who might be an avid cyclist but has just yet to take the jump to overnight travel by bike.  We want to keep the distances short and the investment in equipment minimal.  This list is not meant to be the definitive bicycle tourist’s kit list nor a technical primer, but rather an introduction on how someone might try a bicycle overnight and overcome some of the myths surrounding it.

DISPELLING THE MYTHS ABOUT BICYCLE TRAVEL


1.You have to be a hardcore adventurer (a.k.a. I can’t pedal very fast or far…)
Like the example of the Knitting Club above, bicycle overnight travel doesn’t have to be hardcore to be fun.
You don’t have to go fast.  You should see me.  I redefine slow.  I sometimes need to speed up just to stop. :)  Our experience tells us that some of the best places are often close by and some of the easiest trips.
multi-modal bike travel, bicycle touring in europe; bike on train
Bikes on a train:  Multi-modal bicycle travel
Pedal at your own pace, to a destination that is within your reach.  The idea is to get out on your bicycle and go someplace.  Even if that place is only on the other side of town.  It’s just fine as long as you enjoy it.
You don’t have to go far.  One option we use regularly for extending our trips is public transit.  We use buses and light rail to extend our range or cut down travel time.  Check with your local Public Transit agency to see if they will carry bicycles and how they must be loaded on and off the bus or train.  After that, it is as simple as picking a destination that is within your range.  Remember bicycle travel is about having fun. So have fun. Go someplace on your bike.  You can do it.
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