Bike tours can be whatever you want them to be. They can simply be a ‘ride’ of passage or a long-planned ride of passion. They can be a fast-paced, fitness-focused race across a continent or a slow, meandering investigation of local culture. Bike tours can be a two-week holiday or a lifestyle. Cyclists can follow prepared route maps turn-by-turn or make it up as they go along. There really aren’t many rules related to how it has to be done – just keep the rubber on the road and enjoy yourself!
So, what is a bike tour to me?
Well, over the course of my 37 years, there are three things that have always been very important for feeding my soul: 1) being outside; 2) riding my bike; and 3) learning new things.
Numbers one and two seem fairly straight-forward. However, number three means I’m a huge NERD. You know you’re a nerd when you get excited ordering natural history and geology books as tour planning materials. You REALLY know you’re a nerd when you get so excited by those planning materials that your evenings for the next two months are consumed with poring over maps and finding ways to incorporate interesting geological or ecological sites into your developing route.
I normally try to keep my nerdiness in check in public, but a bike tour is a perfect time to UNLEASH THE NERD within!! Nobody gives a damn if you’re standing beside the road staring at rocks, and who cares what passing strangers think when you are stooped over trying to tell the difference between two types of prairie grasses!
So for me, a bike tour is a great way to feed my soul. Bike tours are a chance to be outside and on a bicycle – my favourite places to be in life since about age 5. For my nerdy brain, which never ever shuts up, it’s a chance to think about new things in new places, connecting all the pieces of natural and cultural history. It’s a chance to deeply feel the beauty in various landscapes and reflect on the diversity and abundance of life. It’s a chance to imagine the landscape I’m riding through at various points in history. It’s a chance to just think and be and ponder and stare. It’s a chance to feel finitely small in an infinite universe. In other words, it’s a chance to think while simultaneously absorbing the vitality of the natural world. It rejuvenates my soul and feeds my brain. On a solo bike tour, I can be a cyclist AND a nerd AND be outside… it’s a pretty perfect trifecta for me.