So, you want to go on a bicycle tour. In my view, there is no better way of seeing the world. The countryside. The ocean. Cities. Even my own backyard. Then from the saddle of a bicycle! But how to ease into bicycle touring without the expense of a touring bike and all of the accouterments that can so quickly add up – in money, and in physical space in our “toy sheds.”
Bicycle touring provides an opportunity to indulge every sense, completing the enjoyment of the tour. My favorite two would be the smells, the sounds (usually of birds unfamiliar to me) and stopping to put my feet in …yet another segment of the ocean. The aromas – fresh bread, restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, orchards – can suck you in – and why not – when you’re “earning” it on a bike tour. On my recent tour in Tasmania, I had a little game going with myself. I swear by two weeks into the ride, I could accurately predict the condition of the corpse, the animal (usually the poor wallabies who I learned are not very smart) and the distance I was to it. Unfortunately, I had way too much experience in this arena.
Then there are the stops in the small towns, each of which has its unique personality, charm and locals, oftentimes curious and wanting to show you their pride of their hometown. Many just want to say hi, see where you’re from, where you’re going and where you’ve been. The opportunities to meet are great. When I have toured solo, I often feel that I have the best of both worlds; being able to enjoy my solo-alone time while any time I want, I can open myself up to meeting people along the journey and share stories, experiences. Some of the best local community “jewels” (i.e. restaurants, breweries, coffee) are often discovered by striking up a conversation with someone who has been there for a while!
Our Colorado backyard has some of the most scenic (and sometimes) challenging riding of anywhere in the country. The great news is that cycling is so accepted and prevalent that motorists are aware. If you’re more comfortable on multi-use paths without as much vehicular traffic, options are many. Here are some questions to ask to get you started:
How many days do you have?
How many miles/hours/days do you hope to pedal?
Self-guided? Self-supported? Fully supported?
How much time do you want to spend researching maps/planning routes?
Fortunately, there are many options:
Fully supported bicycle tours can be fun, luxurious and sometimes pricey. These tours may offer bikes to use, and will shuttle all of your gear, often setting up lunch mid-way, offering snacks, rides (up the mountain pass, anyone?) and pre-planned fabulous meals. You get to just pedal your bicycle and stop if and when you want to.
Self-guided bicycle tours offer the option of going the distance you want at the pace you want while having luggage transported ahead to pre-booked accommodations so that you don’t have to carry it. The best part is that all logistics are taken care of for you, and you don’t have to do the road/route research in any place unknown to you. There is also on-site emergency support. And, did I mention that you only carry with you what you need for the day – whether a power bar, your phone, and your ID or your IPad so that you can pull over to write about all the beauty that surrounds you, in an attempt to relay the full beauty on a screen?
Self-supported bicycle tours. It’s all on you. Physically and emotionally. The options are camping, which will require more “stuff” (although less money) but don’t forget the sleeping bag, cookware, food, and tent; or the more luxurious hotel option. Be prepared, though – sometimes even the best of intentions get side-railed with weather, more rugged or challenging terrain or even just a missed tour!
Whichever option you decide upon, start small. Maybe just a few days to adjust. Have fun. Take your time to smell the roses, not the roadkill! Take a short trip throughout your own backyard. We have quite the playground in Colorado with amazing scenic options for all abilities. Or, pick a place you’ve always wanted to explore. And, click the Request your Date button – the first step of your 2016 bicycle touring adventure!
Our guest blogger this week is bicycle enthusiast Lauren Greenfield. Lauren is the owner of PinkPedals, offering bicycle consulting education classes and programs and more. In Lauren’s words, ” I love the bike, love to ride it and want others to be able to overcome obstacles to feel as comfortable in the saddle as I am…”
What are you waiting for? Book your self-guided bicycle tour now by calling us at 970-776-0181.