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  1. #1
    Boris - Tour d'Afrique
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    What makes you decide to go on a bike tour?

    Hi there,

    I was just curious to find out what motivates and makes people to decide to take time off work or, in some cases even quit their job and sell their house, and embark on a bike adventure? It's something that a lot of people have trouble understanding, since it can be a very challenging thing to do and is pretty far away from a "typical" vacation that most are accustomed to.

    Would be very interested in hearing stories of people that have made the leap and the circumstances that led up to that.

    Boris
    Tour d’Afrique Ltd. - Fully Supported Trans-Continental Bicycle Expeditions & Races

    - Tour d'Afrique Race/Expedition - Africa - Cairo to Cape Town. 11,800km.
    - Orient Express Expedition - Europe - Paris to Istanbul. 4,000km.
    - Vuelta Sudamericana Race/Expedition - South America - Rio to Quito. 13,000km.
    - Silk Route Race/Expedition - Asia - Istanbul to Beijing. 10,800km.

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    For me it was a dream to do Bikecentennial (now the Trans America) since 1976.

    In 2007 I decided I was going to actually tour and do the Pacific Coast from Seattle to San Francisco. My daughter decided to do a bike tour that year and invited me. She and one of her college apartment mates were thinking of doing the Trans America. How could there even be any need to think about that? It was a pure no-brainer. The Pacific coast was put off for later and we did the TA.

  3. #3
    Senior Member foamy's Avatar
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    I wanted to go see the United States. Had never been west of the Appalacians before. Turns out we live in a great country full of nice people. It's no wonder people want to live here.
    None.

  4. #4
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I just plain like touring. When I have some time off, or a long weekend comes along... I start thinking of where I can ride.
    Last edited by neilfein; 11-04-08 at 12:27 PM. Reason: spelling
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

    I'm in the celtic folk fusion band Baroque and Hungry. "Mended", our new full-length studio album, is now available for download.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Ascii(027)
    ...

  6. #6
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tourdafrique View Post
    Hi there,

    I was just curious to find out what motivates and makes people to decide .....
    Boris

    I just love cycling, and touring makes the most of that. I like traveling in an environmentally and physically fit manner. I like meeting people in the country, instead of the morons who live in cities. I like travelling and having an alternative to the "lonely planet" concept of sightseeing.

    So now, whenever i see myself having alot of time on my hands in the summer or whenever, off a-cycling I do go!

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    First, it just seemed like the natural thing to do. I've been cycling since I was 6 years old, and "seriously" since I was 23.

    Second, when I was 17 my father rode from Jasper to Banff in three days, and I joined him for the last day. It took me 11 years to get around to it, but my first tour was Jasper to Banff in three days.

    Third, I'm one of the ones who quit her job, gave up her apartment, sold, gave away, and tossed about half my stuff ... and hit the road.

    What motivated me to do that? A friend suggested that we tour the world for 5 years. My first reaction was, "no way, that would be impossible!!" But it planted the seed of an idea in my head and I began to wonder how to make it possible ..... and then began to make plans to make it possible. When I hit the road, it was just for a 3-month trial tour, and then I hit the books. I'll be graduating soon with a degree I can use in many places to support myself. And then I'll be off.

    I have no desire to settle down forever in one place ... that simply does not appeal to me at all. But being a bit of a nomad does appeal to me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    It is a hidden secret. You learn why/has meaning when you go yourself.

    for me, its cheap, remote, a challenge, adventure, gorgeous scenery at 10 miles an hour, and there is never failure only success or death.

  9. #9
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Ascii(027)
    Good one!


    Valygrl you are such a nerd! I had to look that one up and I am the king of the nerds.
    Last edited by spinnaker; 10-27-08 at 08:26 PM.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tourdafrique View Post
    Hi there,

    I was just curious to find out what motivates and makes people to decide to take time off work or, in some cases even quit their job and sell their house, and embark on a bike adventure? It's something that a lot of people have trouble understanding, since it can be a very challenging thing to do and is pretty far away from a "typical" vacation that most are accustomed to.

    Would be very interested in hearing stories of people that have made the leap and the circumstances that led up to that.

    Boris
    I think you mentioned the very reason why I do it. Challenging. My vacations have rarely been easy. Previous vacations usually involved chartering 15 meter sailing yachts. A lot of responsibility being captain but I have always enjoyed it.

    I enjoy touring for the physical challenge but also the mental challenge of getting from point A to point B on roads where bicycles are allowed to travel.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Good one!


    Valygrl you are such a nerd! I had to look that one up and I am the king of the nerds.
    hee hee. I saw it on a license plate once.
    ...

  12. #12
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    (it's "Escape" in prehistoric geek-speek)
    ...

  13. #13
    Senior Member iamarobotman's Avatar
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    I'm a thru-hiker and I wanted to try something new and exciting. I've been a bike messenger for awhile and I ride a fixed gear bike. I wanted something fresh and with gears. I also wanted to prove to my friends and family I'm capable of being a Renaissance Man.

  14. #14
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    We get asked that question all the time - Why? How??

    Honestly, I think making the decision to take this trip was by far the hardest part of it all. We are raised in a society that considers it "responsible parenting" to get up early, drop the kids at day care, work in an office all day, pick up the kids, cook a quick dinner, take the kids to soccer practice, and then collapse into bed exhausted. That's what's expected of us.

    So to make the decision to chuck it all and march to our own drummer was tough - very tough. We had to overcome all our ideas of what being responsible was all about.

    In the end, however, we came to the conclusion that perhaps we are being even more responsible in that we are spending TIME with our children. We are giving our boys the gift of MEMORIES of being WITH their parents. And is that really so bad??

    I would say the main reason I'm on this tour is time. Time with my husband and kids. Time to stop and smell the roses. Time to see the world we live in. Time to meet the wonderful people who populate the earth. Time. That's the currency of life.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  15. #15
    mev
    mev is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by tourdafrique View Post
    I was just curious to find out what motivates and makes people to decide to take time off work or, in some cases even quit their job and sell their house, and embark on a bike adventure?
    It is addicting, and I've been working up to it over time. Frequently the weeks just after returning from a trip are the most "dangerous" in thinking of all the wonderful places to go visit on the next trip

    Grew up in Colorado doing lots of hiking, camping and trekking through the mountains. Went to college in a very urban setting in Boston metro without owning an automobile. A bicycle was a great way to escape the city and New England is pretty compact, 60 miles from here gets me to Laramie, Wyoming but 60 miles from Boston gets to three different states.

    After college "settled down" and did some less touring. However, some unforeseen circumstances gave me a chance to do something I always wanted to so - bicycle across the US. Enjoyed that so much that worked towards doing something similar, bicycling across Canada five years later...and so on with many short trips as well.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Good one!


    Valygrl you are such a nerd! I had to look that one up and I am the king of the nerds.

    A true nerd would point out that 027 has a leading zero and therefore means octal 27 (decimal 23), the ASCII value of which is "End of Trans. Block". Good enough reason to tour, I suppose

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by PickledFetus View Post
    A true nerd would point out that 027 has a leading zero and therefore means octal 27 (decimal 23), the ASCII value of which is "End of Trans. Block". Good enough reason to tour, I suppose
    oops, i've been outed. I'm not really a nerd, I'm play one on the internet. don't tell my boss, m'kay?
    ...

  18. #18
    Neil_B
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    I've been obese since childhood. I never learned to ride a bike. In my 40th year I lost more than 100 pounds of weight, and went from someone who couldn't walk a city block without stopping for breath to someone who could hike four or five miles. However, I have crooked legs, with a knock in the right knee that has to be seen to be disbelieved. Long-distance or loaded hiking is out of the question for me. I'd always wanted to learn to ride a bike, so I purchased one at the end of 2006 and taught myself to ride.

    I was very sedentary and isolated for much of my adult life, one of the drawbacks of being 400 pounds. Cycling is a great way to overcome the isolation I suffered. Bike touring lets me celebrate the world that I was previously kept from by my wall of fat, and helps me keep my weight in check so I never build that wall up again.

  19. #19
    crazy bike girl msincredible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    I've been obese since childhood. I never learned to ride a bike. In my 40th year I lost more than 100 pounds of weight, and went from someone who couldn't walk a city block without stopping for breath to someone who could hike four or five miles. However, I have crooked legs, with a knock in the right knee that has to be seen to be disbelieved. Long-distance or loaded hiking is out of the question for me. I'd always wanted to learn to ride a bike, so I purchased one at the end of 2006 and taught myself to ride.

    I was very sedentary and isolated for much of my adult life, one of the drawbacks of being 400 pounds. Cycling is a great way to overcome the isolation I suffered. Bike touring lets me celebrate the world that I was previously kept from by my wall of fat, and helps me keep my weight in check so I never build that wall up again.
    Congrats on your accomplishments!
    Countries I've ridden in: US, Canada, Ireland, UK, Germany, Netherlands, France, China, Singapore, Malaysia
    States I've ridden in: Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, California, Nevada, Missouri, Colorado

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    tourdafrique, have you done the Tour d’Afrique? Did you like the group that organizes that event? Was it well organized?

    I'm only mildly interested in the Tour d’Afrique, but the Vuelta Sudamericana, Orient Express and Silk Route interest me more.

    http://www.tourdafrique.com/southamerica/route.html
    http://www.tourdafrique.com/orientexpress/route.html
    http://www.tourdafrique.com/silkroute/route.html

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    we get asked that question all the time - why? How??

    Honestly, i think making the decision to take this trip was by far the hardest part of it all. We are raised in a society that considers it "responsible parenting" to get up early, drop the kids at day care, work in an office all day, pick up the kids, cook a quick dinner, take the kids to soccer practice, and then collapse into bed exhausted. That's what's expected of us.

    So to make the decision to chuck it all and march to our own drummer was tough - very tough. We had to overcome all our ideas of what being responsible was all about.

    In the end, however, we came to the conclusion that perhaps we are being even more responsible in that we are spending time with our children. We are giving our boys the gift of memories of being with their parents. And is that really so bad??

    I would say the main reason i'm on this tour is time. Time with my husband and kids. Time to stop and smell the roses. Time to see the world we live in. Time to meet the wonderful people who populate the earth. Time. That's the currency of life.
    +1

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    >pretty far away from a "typical" vacation that most are accustomed to.

    "Typical" anything is lame.

    Steve

  23. #23
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    It's one of the few situations where one can feel truly independent and self-sufficient. Add the physical challenge, new landscapes, new cultures, new friends, and the fact that even cardboard tastes great after a hard day on the bike - it's a great break from 'normal' life.

  24. #24
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    What's not to like. A couple weeks on the road.. A time to complete one's head adjustments and make us think the world a perfect place. The key to long distance cycling. Take one day off in seven and just enjoy the scenery. I know a guy who talked divorce in order to do his Pan American Highway adventure. Get rid of the bad marriage and a mortgage and just go. Never did, but always his dream. Instead he got a kid.
    Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living






    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  25. #25
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    I haven't really had a chance to do a tour yet. Been working on building up my confidence and the stamina of both me and my husky.

    But I would love to take a bike tour for the same reason that I love packing up food and water for an all day ride. Finding and seeing new things, places I've never been, and the huge sense of accomplishment I get from the fact that I got there all under my own power. I have countless pictures of old churches (oldest from 1100's), manor houses, a castle, ruins, rune stones, grave mounds, open air museums with old wooden farmstead buildings, and some just simply nice views along the roads or flowers in the spring. There's so much more you can see from a bike (or recumbent trike in my case) than you can with a car. I know this area far better than my husband does and he was born and raised around here. I've discovered things he was completely clueless of.

    Next spring or so, I fully intend to ride along the Sverigeleden (Sweden Route) for a few days, just me, the trike, camping gear and a hyperactive husky. See what I can find further out than the 30 mile radius from home I'm already so familiar with.

    Then who knows, maybe some other part of Europe. Norway? Finland?

    And this itch to explore via bike is nothing new. Even when I was about 8 years old, I still did my all-day trips on a bike. Pitch a ham sandwich and a soda into my handlebar basket and vanish for the day. Turned my mother's hair gray when she'd ask where I'd been and I'd tell her of someplace 20 or more miles from home.

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