Bike Touring Tips

So – you say you want to go bike touring? I say go for it. And figured I’d give you a bit of unsolicited advice while I’m at it.

Expect the following:

  • You’ll be terrified of the unknown
  • At some point – and maybe all points – on your tour, you’ll be miserable
  • It won’t be all roses, rainbows, and unicorns
  • You’ll wonder WTF ever made you want to do this. After all, you could be sitting on a beach somewhere
  • People will surprise you with their kindness and generosity
  • A car will pass too closely
  • Some a*hole will yell at you
  • Another a*hole may even whistle at you
  • You’ll be stressed out
  • You’ll wonder where you’ll sleep at night
  • It’ll be 90% mental and 10% effort
  • You’ll experience the same sorts of things on tour as you do when you cycle at home –  because you’ll be going from your home to someone else’s home
  • You’ll trade one common set of risks for another – it will all balance out in the end
  • The big picture will be too big
  • You’ll focus on today. Sometimes you’ll focus on the next ten minutes
  • Sh*t happens, and it will happen at the absolute worst time
  • Chances are you won’t find urban gangs or angry farmers with shotguns
  • You probably won’t get food poisoning either. And most likely no flash floods or wildfires
  • You very well may end up with a skunk or porcupine rummaging through your food outside your tent
  • Raccoons might dig through your panniers and make off with your jar of peanut butter.
  • Road conditions in some places will make your tour like riding amidst a cloud of angry hornets. Just soldier on

And lastly –

  • You’ll have so much fun you’ll wonder why in the heck you didn’t do it before.
  • You’ll dream of heading back out as soon as you can.

Fixing a flat tire


books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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4 Responses to Bike Touring Tips

  1. Rachael Maddox May 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    These couldn’t be more true from what I’ve seen so far! Love it 🙂

  2. Lane May 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Ha! Great points. My wife and I are beginning a short tour in a couple weeks. She’s never been on a trip like this.

    I did a couple bike tours years ago and based on my experience, your points hit head on.

    Just found your blog via Russ and Laura’s Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. Rain May 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    LOL! All I could think of while reading this was how much it sounded like my own “new parenting tips” ;-).

  4. nancy May 12, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    A friend just told me to reread it thinking of life in Boise – yep, just like that too!

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