What is it about bike touring?
Since we started our bike tour, we have had a constant barrage of folks who ask, ‘Why do you want to travel on a bike?’ To those people I generally say, ‘Well, there are several reasons…’
There are a lot of things that make bike touring my preferred method of travel. And here are my top ten:
10. The shear sense of accomplishment
Not to to be an egomaniac, but there is a bit of pride that comes with pedaling a loaded bike across some big distance.
No need to worry about bus schedules and where you can or cannot go when traveling. Just go where and when you please.
08. You never know where you are going to end up
Maybe camping in a yard, somebody’s ranch, maybe a hotel, who knows. That is adventure.
07. Makes you feel like a kid again
I think there is some shred of nostalgia that manifests itself every time I ride a bike. Bike touring feels like one big ‘ride out of your neighborhood’.
06. Traveling slowly really connects you with a place
Seeing several towns instead of the main cities lets you get more immersed in a culture. Also, it is an interesting perspective to slowly watch the landscape, culture, food and people change over distance.
05. Struggle = Sweet Rewards
I have always felt that beer tastes better and food is richer at the end of a tough ride, and I think this is true for everything in life. There is nothing quite like a tough climb, and then 2,500 feet of decent.
04. You can eat anything
A day of 2,500+ feet of climbing and 40+ miles will burn a lot of fuel, and this makes for some pretty good feasts!
03. Experiencing the surroundings
Not being encapsulated by panels and windows allows you to hear and feel the surroundings. Birds singing, the smell of woodsmoke, kids yelling and the sound of hoes picking the soil are all part of the ride.
02. Interaction with local people
Traveling amongst the slow-paced world breeds constant interaction with the people—asking for directions, being offered places to camp, frequent fist-pumps, whoops, thumbs-up, hellos and waves.
01. Seeing places you would not see on a tourist circuit
Navigating your way through a country on a bike will truly take you to some places that you normally wouldn’t be able to see. It’s nice to be able to stumble into places you never knew existed, like the river crossing pictured above… from San Francisco Del Mar to San Francisco del Ixhuatan—done with horse-drawn big wheeled buggies.