Did you ever wonder if it was possible not to use mechanical mean of transportation when traveling ? If not you should ! Indeed traveling by bike is a great way to cross a country differently from the others and allows to to discover and envoy beautiful landscapes, to take your time to really catch all the details that make a trip magical and especially to meet super friendly and curious people along your journey. You are not convinced ? Let me show you how a bike travel looks like.
First of all let me show you what a travel bike is:
You said messy ? No… not at all 🙂
As you can see, you can end up with a lot of stuff on a single bike. And trust me, you need everything. In another article I will make a list of what you may need during a bike trip.
Your first question must be: “Isn’t heavy ?”
My answer is yes, definitely. You can carry more than 20kg of stuff on your bike. That’s a drawback, but you can adjust your pace to it.
Your second question should be: “Isn’t too difficult to ride with such a burden and how long can I ride ? It must be SUPER hard to cover a great distance…”
Well, of course it demands more physical effort than sitting in a car, but it is not that hard. Once again, adapt your pace of travel ! Even without a hardcore training you can cover 100km easily in a day. After one week of travel I was able to travel for 150km across a relatively flat land.
A trip should remain a pleasure. You can ride until exhaustion if you want, yet I do not recommend it ! Take your time, visit local point of interest you encounter, go to talk to people to ask what there is to see in the region. They are usually super friendly and the fact that you travel by bike is a great plus. This is not something that common and it tends to draw attention on you. Human contact is very easy when you ride a bike ! So do not hesitate to stop and ask for help, for water or just for your direction.
There are many ways to approach a bike travel. You can go alone or in a group. I do not recommend a group larger than 3, it is way easier for organization. You can go for two weeks or two years. You can go just to cross a country, to go from a point A to a point B or stop at each natural site you find interesting. Everyone has his own way to travel. The most important point is that you go fast enough to cover an important distance but in the meantime you can really enjoy the landscapes you cross and take your time the admire them.
Personally, I am found of solo trips, when I take time to see what I find interesting. I do not hesitate do stop an entire day to walk or climb a mountain or to visit a monastery. You may think that you feel lonely when you travel alone. It is not the case. As told before, human contact is very easy when traveling by bike and you always stop to talk to locals. My trips usually last for 1 month. This is, for me, the perfect duration. You can go quite far (I cover more than 2’000km in one month), yet you have enough time to enjoy your trip and explore deeply a region. For accomodation, I am a huge fan of wild camping. Chose a field, a lake shore or whatever suits you, plant your tent and done ! Total freedom rules ! A camp looks like that:
You must admit that it is beautiful ! The first place was at Lac de Barterand shore (near Belley, Ain), the second in a garden near Annonay, Ardèche. The last one is just above Lac de Devesset, Ardèche.
So jump on your bike, ride the roads and explore the back country !