Since last year, when the concept of traveling on a bike was talked about in a conversation, I have been dreaming and scheming about my own bicycle tour.
Me, off to ship the package of macaroons for Katie’s Japan Bake Sale.
For those who have never heard of it, bicycle touring is basically traveling (aka touring) anywhere you want on your bike! You can go to any country, you can pack your gear in a variety of ways, camp or stay in hotels, eat in restaurants or buy food as you go–there are so many methods, and from what I can tell each person has to find what works for them. It is a great way for me to see the US (and possibly beyond)!
I don’t want to highlight all my plans in one post (I’d rather spread it out a bit! Besides, they aren’t all final), but I have a few goals for my tours:
#1: Be as sustainable and environmentally friendly as I can manage. I’m already not driving, but I also don’t want to take a gas stove (harmful emissions), won’t buy food or objects with hazardous packaging, etc. There are many things I’m sure I haven’t thought of yet, but my overall goal is to tread lightly on the earth.
#2: Buy all my food local form the area I am in at the time (no supermarket produce!). This means I can learn to wildcraft edible plants, and discover the local tasties :). I want to create recipes with these local ingredients that I can share with you– who knows? if you live near the area you may learn some new ingredients grown right in you backyard!
#3: To make the best of whatever misfortunes may come my way. I don’t want to bring myself down! That is one of my big issues– and if it pours all day and I have a headache, I will work to make the best of it. Maybe the good thing out of that would be “yay, my clothes are washed now”.
In terms of gear, I am very interested in the idea behind ultralight packing– the concept being taking only what you need. This site had been an inspiration– I love the idea of having only what you need; it’s like what I’m trying to do with my belongings as home. On the other hand, I don’t want the desire to achieve the lightest possible gear weight to be at the expense of my environmental values. For instance, I’m not going to buy another sleeping bag because it’s the ‘newest’ in light sleeping bags, etc. Make sense?
On the subject of meals, I haven’t worked out all the details. However, diner meals aren’t an option for me with my gluten-intolerance, so I know I’ll be carrying food that I buy along the way; once I have more details I’ll fill you in :).
I am closer now than ever to embarking on my own tour– well, I was. Today I went to the bike shop for what I thought was just a simple gear shifting problem in my bike. However, one look at the bike had the guy helping me dealing out the hard news: practically everything but the steel frame was worn past the point of simple tune-ups. He went on to tell me all the things that would probably have to be replaced, and that the total cost could mean I may just be better off purchasing a new bike.
Way to have your dreams crushed.
Ok, I exaggerate. Seriously though, that bike is like my home, I’ve had it for years! (it belonged to a friend of my grandparents before it was mine!).
However, there is hope! My dad hardly ever uses his bike because he is convinced the brakes are not as good (and he doesn’t have much use for one– he just walks)– but I’m going to take it in to see if I could get it in tip-top shape for a reasonable sum. Otherwise I guess I’ll have to look at some used bikes! I’m hoping I don’t have to though…
To be honest, after the bike shop visit today I was feeling pretty hopeless for a while about ever getting out and touring– however typing out all my thoughts has really helped. Thank you 🙂
Have you or anyone you’ve known gone on a bike tour?