I am very lucky. I have a house, a loving partner, a supportive family, a sweet dog, I travel often, and I work from home. I rarely worry or want for anything. The fact that I'm able to have and do all this comes at price, time and energy. Most people would say that time is the most valuable thing we have. I agree. Having enough time to deliver a project, to spend with loved ones, to enjoy the things we love doing for fun is incredibly valuable to adding quality to our lives. However, I often find myself stuck between the first two without the energy to enjoy the things I love doing for fun. So I decided to put a hold on travel for the rest of the year and do something to fulfill the third.
I decided that my next trip would involve very little people, no computers, and no work. And this, would have to be forced by doing an activity that required self reliance and no digital distractions.
Wikipedia defines bike touring as a "means of self-contained cycling trips for pleasure, adventure, an autonomy rather sport, commuting, or exercise. Touring can range from single - multi - day trips, even years." Sounds fun right? I've been bike touring before, around San Francisco. I'm familiar with it although I haven't done one in 5 yrs. I've even written blog posts to help prepare myself before (i.e. DIY Bike Tour Guide). I definitely can do this.
While reading up on old posts on my past bike tours, I found that there is a very enthusiastic vibe and incredibly supportive culture behind bike touring. Adventure cycling happens to be one of the most inclusive and supportive cultures in cycling, period. Recently I posted on Twitter about my dreaming of cycling in Maine and with a quick response from online bike friends, I got thumbs up. I have to tell you, unless it wasn't for their enthusiasm I don't think I would say this here now that I am planning a bike tour in Maine this October! So thanks friends.
Whilst planning this bike tour in Maine, I have already met some very cool people along the way that inspire me with their bike adventure stories. Every now and then I will open my email and find a new story of entering a new town, a bridge slept under, the howling of coyotes, and the incredible support along the way. These bike adventures are about the stories, some grim and some exciting but mostly inspiring. In these correspondences I've learned that there are some things that will challenge me along my journey, some internal, some external. Already I have found myself challenged with going on this trip alone and while speaking to a friend solo touring in Iowa, I feel as if we are together in spirit and in support.
In the next few weeks I will be sharing my journey towards this adventure with you, along with the support and people I have met along the way. I hope that in this journey of documenting my fears, concerns, and expectations, that women who want to adventure by bike will be inspired to. There are unique concerns we have in our lives and out on the road. This is hoping that sharing my story will address these concerns and help level the playing field for women who want to use the bicycle as a tool into new experiences and adventures. This is also hoping to getting back to simplicity.
Image courtesy @clibbyontherun