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Are bicycle tourers masochistics?

First things first, what is bicycle touring?

Maybe Wikipedia has the easiest definition: it's sort of backpacking on 2 wheels, or, in my case, 3 wheels

Bike touring can be hard work; attitude, energy levels, terrain, temperature, the bike itself and just plain luck all play a part in mind, body and equipment all working together to get you to where you thought you were going when you set out

Whether you ride alone or with a group, whether you take the minimalist bike + camp option, carrying everything you need with you or the more luxurious bike + credit card option carrying almost nothing or something in between, touring on a bike means that even on a sunny day replete with downhills and tailwinds it can take the whole day to cover a distance that would take an hour in a car/bus/train

So why do it?

This is the question most asked of a touring cyclist; usually accompanied with the observation that there is a bus/train/plane service that could have been used

So what do I answer?

Depends

Depends on who asks and how they ask but even so I really don't have a coherent, let alone concise answer, but the gist of an answer is that I do it because what would take an hour in a car/bus/train can take a whole day on a bike. As it has been said - by someone, can't remember who - bike touring is a good way to let mind and body travel at the same pace. Travelling at 'human-speed' leads to a level of interaction, whether with changing landscapes or with people met on the way, that makes the journey, and not just the destination, part of the adventure

How do I tour?

I've done supported tours - where someone else arranges for my gear to be taken to the next destination - and it's great!   I've also done (supported) group tours and really enjoyed myself but mostly I ride solo, unsupported. This means, obviously, that I ride by myself and, not so obviously, that I carry all my gear with me on the bike

Where do I tour?

Australia:   being an Australian, much of my touring has been here in Australia. In the Australia pages you'll find both solo and group tours of varying lengths from 50 kms to 1400 kms

Africa:   well mostly along the Mediterranean coast of northern Africa. I've travelled in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia. In the Africa pages you'll find details of touring in Libya and Tunisia

Europe:  La France est l'Europe est lui pas?

Middle East:   I've travelled in Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. In the Middle East pages you'll find details of touring in Syria

Use the Page Sub menuside links to check out more about what is in each destination

Axles of Evil Tours

OK OK a feeble joke...   I happen to have travelled in a few of the countries that George W believes to be part of an Axis of Evil. Actually, to be quite pedantic; that John R Bolton believes to be so...   Anyway, I was in Syria not long after 9/11 and my experiences there at that time - Syria gets my vote as the all time best place to go - amongst other things, led me to explore other places on George's list. I've been to Libya and I'm trying to get the trike to Iran (almost got there twice now and each time I get close, something else goes wrong but perhaps real soon now?   In'shallah)

If you want to read some reflections on touring in the badlands, use the menu tag on the left

Where am I planning on going?

Australia:   the so-called 'Big Lap' beckons, a circumnavigation of Oz

France:   anywhere. France has to be high on anyone's list as a really great place to ride

Iran:   I had a quick (trikeless) tour in in 2006/7, perhaps a trike tour real soon now?   In'shallah

Orient Express:   evocative name isn't it? Actually it's just Paris to Istanbul, mostly along river valleys

Silk Road:   a real perhaps/maybe ride. Across some pretty inhospitable territory following one of the Silk Road routes from Istanbul to Beijing. Needs plenty of time; maybe one for retirement

USA:   border to border on the West Coast. Again, a real perhaps/maybe ride. Just now other places are more attractive to me