Not a week goes by without me discovering another person on the Internet who is planning a long distance cycle tour. The proliferation of cyclists returning from long distance tours, writing books, making films and giving talks about their experiences to excited people in lecture theatres and libraries all around the country has increased the profile of international cycling. I imagine many people have walked out of an auditorium or put down a good book and decided cycle adventuring was the life for them before setting about making it a reality. It is the slow trickle down effect that we see now, as people have saved hard, researched and planned until the day comes to set off and turn a dream into a reality.
This is certainly how I came to get involved in cycle touring anyway. I had an idea to go touring, read a few books and websites then went to see a cyclist give a talk. The latter was the catalyst that spurred me on to set off on my trip, the speaker giving me the belief that I would never find out if I didn’t give it a go.
Those tweeting, blogging and giving talks are encouraging us to get involved in something that we could not have ever considered before. There’s no way 100 years ago someone like me would be able to consider doing a big bike tour. Trips lasting months on end are no longer the preserve of the wealthy or connected, anyone can now have a go. Research and inspiration through the Internet are free.
But no matter how good a website or blog is it can’t replace sitting enthralled for a couple of hours as someone stands and waxes lyrical on their most recent trip, with nothing but their storytelling ability for backup. If anyone is in any doubt about quitting their job to go cycling going to see an adventurer speak could be a very dangerous thing. Before you know it your possessions are on eBay and you’re spending your spare time researching Iranian visas.
Over the coming months I’m sure I’ll discover more people leaving home on long distance tours. For now keep an eye on these cyclists setting off on trips soon:
The Cycle Diaries – also supported by Van Nicholas bikes
Around The World For Water
Next February sees the Global Bicycle Race setting off too.