Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 79
  1. #1
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    I caught the bug, the road is calling, but I can't tour until next Spring, depressed

    OK, this will be a chaotic post and there will be several issues here that I'll try to get some advice on.

    This summer I toured for the first time. I did a few overnighters, then a 10 day ride around Adirondacks and 5 day spin across Connecticut and Massachusetts. I made some mistakes, I have still a lot to learn but I loved it. This was the best time I had in my adult life since I can remember.

    I used to hike and do dayrides for years and bike touring combines it all: cycling, outdoors, camping into incredible experience.

    So.... I can't go anywhere again until Spring. Although, there is a small chance of driving somewhere South and doing a short tour before that. I obviously caught the bug. I think about touring every day, I look at my photos and re-live the trips, I read CGOAB daily. I feel depressed that I can't go again any time soon.

    I've started seriously considering changes in my life: simplifying my life, changing jobs, moving so I have more time and money for myself so I can go on tours more often. I regret that I waited until my 40s before I discovered bike touring. I want to catch up. I dream about doing Trans Am and other rides. I can get several months of leave of absence, but I can't do that every year, they won't let me.

    I have a full-time IT job for a biomedical research facility that I used to love, but that I'm beginning to hate since corporate drones took over the medical center IT and sucked us into their world of meetings, charts and metrics. The only good thing is that I worked here for 18 years and I get 6 weeks of vacation time. That seemed like a lot until I started thinking about touring.

    It also happens that I grew tired of NYC. I've got to get out of here.

    Some of this started happening years ago before I even thought of bike touring. Last summer bike trips were the last drop in the bucket: I decided that I don't want to live like that any more.

    We have no kids, we can settle for lower paying jobs and move to an area with lower cost of living. In a year we'll be completely debt-free, we don't own any real estate. We've started getting rid of clutter and junk from our apartment. We had a yard sale, then just gave away and thrown out lots of stuff. Much more to go. The idea is to have enough savings and little stuff so we can just pack up and leave in a year or two and basically go anywhere.

    Ideally I'd love to work for six months and then have six months free. I'm really tired of living the American way: living for work. But I have no idea how that's possible. Our needs are minimal, we don't crave luxury cars, houses, vacations in exotic resorts, our big screen TV is collecting dust most of the time, we dress inexpensively, we're car-lite (42k miles in 6 years). The only thing that kept me in NYC was my job, but that's changed too.

    So here are some questions:

    How do you folks deal with such withdrawals?
    How do you find the time for extensive touring?
    What do you do for living that affords you the time?
    Have many of you made such changes to your lives?
    Any tips and ideas, suggestions?

    Adam

  2. #2
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    643
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It's a process. Once you decide you want it, that's the most important step. After that, you start to read like you are doing, and learn from others. Then follows getting in shape, slowly for most of us. Lastly, one finds a job and a location flexible enough to get away for the amount of time one needs and starts to go for it.

    I used to be in R&D. Now I do non profit work. The ability to control one's time is key. What you usually give up is income potential. As usual, it's all a trade off

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    2,345
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    but adam if your touring all or most of the time i reckon you will get soon fed up with it.if you can do a six week tour every year your a lucky man or even a couple weeks at a time .i certainly could not afford that .
    i used to really look forward to the weekends riding with the group the craic as we say here in ireland was great.but when the speed went up i lost interest, now most of the time i cycle on my own i have yet to tour on my own but hopefully i will do this year.
    listen at the end of the day you need a roof over your head and food in your belly ,DONT pack your job in until your sure you can have both.i certainly hope things work out for you , your going through a mid life crises i reckon .

  4. #4
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    643
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A useful thought experiment for deciding if a change is worth it is the following:

    1. Imagine yourself near the end of life, at however long you'd hope to live for.
    2. Imagine yourself not in any major pain but well worn out.
    3. Look around: are there people you care about around you?
    4. Think: do you have good memories to comfort you?
    5. Remind yourself: was the life you led worth living?
    6. Evaluate: did I give everything the best shot I could given the breaks I got?
    7. Was your life lived on purpose?
    8. Did you leave this earth a little better than you found it?
    9. What would you change?
    10. Did you enjoy the ride?

    Peace.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    NE Tx
    My Bikes
    Tour Easy, Linear USS, Lightening Thunderbolt, custom DF, Raleigh hybrid, Felt time trial
    Posts
    2,638
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Where does your wife fit in here?

    If she is onboard with your yearnings, has a decent job, and is willing to work full time while you work part time, more than half the battles won.

    First though, I'd suggest you take that leave of absence and find out what it's like to live on the road for several months. You'd then have a more realistic perspective on just how bad your touring bug is and how your wife handles your being gone. You could then adjust your life style plans accordingly. All you've been able to do so far is tip toe into the water.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 11-12-10 at 06:08 AM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    I ride where the thylacine roamed!
    My Bikes
    Lots
    Posts
    39,193
    Mentioned
    36 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    So here are some questions:

    1. How do you folks deal with such withdrawals?
    2. How do you find the time for extensive touring?
    3. What do you do for living that affords you the time?
    4. Have many of you made such changes to your lives?
    5. Any tips and ideas, suggestions?
    1. We are involved in randonneuring/audax cycling. In this part of Australia very few of the events are really close to where we live, so we pick events in different parts of the state, and make a weekend of it ... drive up stay a couple nights, and do the event on the day in between. Although we aren't cycletouring, we are travelling and cycling and seeing different parts of the state. Our most recent event was in the Gippsland area (sort of south east of Melbourne) two weeks ago (end of Oct) ... we live in the mountains and the ride was rather coastal so we got to see the ocean, plus we went back out to the ocean on the day after as well.

    In addition to this, we do several hub-and-spoke tours throughout the year where we drive to an area, set up our headquarters there, and then cycle out in several different directions. It's a great way to get to know an area and to cycle on roads, and see things and places we may not have seen before. Our most recent one of these was in mid-Oct up to a nearby small city in a very flat fruit growing area of the state. Rowan was getting his heavy rigid truck driving licence, and while he was doing that, I was cycling here, there, and everywhere. We rode together on the weekend and in the evenings.

    In addition to this, we "train" for our randonneuring/audax events by cycling fairly long distances most weekends. We spent quite a bit of time cycling around our immediate area, and we still cycle here now and then because there is some good cycling (one of the biggest lakes in the area, mountains, etc. ... it is a tourist destination here, so we play the part of tourists some weekends), but we've purchases a very detailed map of some of the outlying aeas and have started picking destinations just beyond our immediate local area. We might drive 20-50 km or so with the bicycles, and then cycle from there.

    These things give us a chance to see new things and to explore which takes away the burning desire to tour ... because it is almost like we are on a tour just about every weekend.


    2, 3 & 4. In 2004, I gave up my full-time permanent job which I could have held for many more years, got rid of half my stuff (tossed, given away, sold), packed up the remaining things and moved it all 2 provinces over to go into storage in/near my parents place. Then I boarded a plane for Australia and toured here for 3 months (cycling).

    When I returned, I lived in a very tiny suite, and went back to University to get my Bachelor of Education degree. I had very little in the way of living expenses, which was good because most of my money went to my education. But in the few months before my classes started, I signed up with temp agencies and got a temp job. I continued to use temp agencies throughout my years in University, and I highly recommend them.

    With a temp agency, you can choose when you want to work, and when you don't want to work. My school year was from early September to the end of April, so I arranged to get a job from the beginning of May to the end of July ... leaving me August to go tour the US, Europe, etc. And temp agencies pay as well or better than you'd get paid if you were a "normal" employee. Also many businesses don't hire full-time permanent employees anymore ... they hire temps, and if the temps work out, then they might make them full-time permanent.

    Going the temp route, you may indeed be able to work 6 months and travel 6 months.

    You may also want to look at being a contractor. Where I work here in Australia (a job I got through a temp agency), several of my coworkers are contractor. One in particular works for a while, and when he gets a bit tired of that, he travels for an extended period of time, then he comes back and looks for contract work again.

    Over here in Australia (which, incidentally, doesn't have as much of that "living the American way: living for work" going on), many people quit their office jobs and go to work following the harvest trail. I met a number of these at my first job here in Australia, working in a cherry packing plant. They are called "grey nomads" although some of them are fairly young. They live in caravans (or tents if they are just starting out) and start in northern Australia early in the season and travel south as things come ripe. If they feel like taking a break from the picking or packing life, they jet off to other parts of Australia, Asia, Europe, or other parts of the world for a while, and then come back after several months and resume what they were doing.

    5. See above. First get a really good, detailed map of the areas 100 km or more around where you live, and start exploring. Second, check into what it would take to become a contractor and/or what temporary agencies in your area are looking for.

    One other comment ... is a 10-day tour the longest you've done? There can be quite a difference between that and a tour that lasts a month, 6 weeks, or several months. You might want to see about using your 6 week vacation to go on a fairly extended tour, and see how you like that before you make any firm commitments to a life change.

  7. #7
    Junior Member bikeNRGY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Cincinnati, OH
    My Bikes
    Trek 7500 hybrid converted to touring, Schwinn Ti Paramount
    Posts
    14
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    How do you folks deal with such withdrawals? I ride 100 miles on Saturday or Sunday.
    How do you find the time for extensive touring? Sometimes I ride 100 miles on Saturday and Sunday. Take Vacations, ride after work....
    What do you do for living that affords you the time? I work in InfoTech as well...
    Have many of you made such changes to your lives? I started riding when I was 40, i'm 48 now and very healthy! No other changes except time to get on my bike!
    Any tips and ideas, suggestions? Learn to ride, self supported day trips or day tours with a local club!!
    --------------------------------------
    I'd rather be riding!
    http://bikenrgy.blogspot.com

  8. #8
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow, there are a lot of thoughts here, thanks.

    Where does my wife fit? She's unskilled and has no formal education in the US and does part time, odd-jobs, she says she can move wherever I go and still find something to do. Besides, our marriage has been a little bumpy in the last year so that adds one unknown variable to this equation. We may not be even married any more a year from now As bad as it sounds, that would made things easier for me. I know I can survive on my own. Right now we have agreed that we need to cut down on our expenses, get out of debt and move out of NYC. Where and how far, it's still open to debate.

    We may try first moving from Queens to the Northern suburbs of NYC (Westchester, for those familiar with NYC). This will get me closer to the "outdoors" while still allowing to keep my job. The problem with living in Queens (or Brooklyn) is that you live on a congested island. Getting out for a nice bike ride means driving out, crossing at least one crowded bridge. If we lived in Westchester I'd be a dayride away from the Catskill Mountains. That would make 3-4 day weekends very possible. Also, Westchester is really nice for cycling while Queens frankly sucks. I ride to work every day and I have enough of my urban cycling Weekend rides around the town aren't much fun.

    Temp agency? Not a bad idea! I know some people who used to work for tempt agencies in IT fields doing short gigs, migrations, etc. I'll have to look into that.

  9. #9
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Where does your wife fit in here?

    If she is onboard with your yearnings, has a decent job, and is willing to work full time while you work part time, more than half the battles won.

    First though, I'd suggest you take that leave of absence and find out what it's like to live on the road for several months. You'd then have a more realistic perspective on just how bad your touring bug is and how your wife handles your being gone. You could then adjust your life style plans accordingly. All you've been able to do so far is tip toe into the water.
    That's the plan. Next year I will take 4 months off and try to do a long tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by safariofthemind View Post
    A useful thought experiment for deciding if a change is worth it is the following:

    1. Imagine yourself near the end of life, at however long you'd hope to live for.
    2. Imagine yourself not in any major pain but well worn out.
    3. Look around: are there people you care about around you?
    4. Think: do you have good memories to comfort you?
    5. Remind yourself: was the life you led worth living?
    6. Evaluate: did I give everything the best shot I could given the breaks I got?
    7. Was your life lived on purpose?
    8. Did you leave this earth a little better than you found it?
    9. What would you change?
    10. Did you enjoy the ride?

    Peace.
    Ha! Getting philosophical here.

    I found this quote in a blog somewhere, it's taken a bit out of greater context but these few sentences stand out and on their own:

    "For me, I have what I will call, for lack of a better term, My Greater Fear. It is that I will live a perfectly unexceptional existence with this exceptional chance I have been given.

    My Greater Fear is that I will rot beneath a matrix of fluorescent lights staring at the carpeted walls of a cubicle, or that I will wake knowing exactly what I will be doing every minute of every day for the rest of my waking life, or that I will wait until I am old and enfeebled to give myself permission to live..."


    I think this is what's eating me... that I'm wasting my life away, day by day, from one routine to another... weeks and months pass by and they're all the same, last week wasn't any different than the one before. I can't remember what I've done last Wednesday or two weekends before, because I haven't done anything meaningful worth remembering. I have nothing to reflect upon and I have nothing look forward to... I'm a hamster on a treadmill.

    I'm scared of getting old because I won't have anything to look back to, I won't have any memories to cherish, I won't remember what I had done in my life. I'm a totally average guy living uneventful, boring life and I realized that I'm tired of working most of my life only to maintain a lifestyle that is expected by the society, just to fit in, to be normal. I no longer care about "fitting in". I want to have more time for myself.

    I understand that touring all the time would eventually get tiring or even boring. That's not what I mean. But 6 weeks of vacation is too short to do a Trans-Am kind of ride every year. I would also like to spend more time at home, doing DYI projects, working on my bikes, learn some other skills, etc. I no longer care about maximizing my income, I want to maximize my free time. I don't want to give all my time to my employer.

    I know, there is more here than just the need to tour by bike.

    Adam

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boulder, CO
    Posts
    7,374
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In 2003, I founds myself in almost the same place. I made a huge change in my life, and it worked out really well for me. Make sure you really want to move somewhere else and change your life, though - getting a new job with 6 weeks of vacation a year is not going to be easy.

    So, I'll tell you the medium-long version of my story, but YMMV, of course.

    I had an OK IT job, making OK money, with OK vacation/time off. But, things on the job had changed, the career path had taken a wrong turn in the startup crash in 2000 and I found myself doing production work when I wanted to do development. I wanted to take a sabbatical and try to refresh myself at work since my heart wasn't in it. It was going to be a climbing road trip, and they wouldn't let me take it, even though it was supposed to be part of my compensation package. So I evaluated my options, did a lot of careful math to make sure I wasn't totally screwing up my financial situation, and decided to quit, go on the trip I wanted to do, and then get a new job after the trip.

    Meanwhile, I had met and was dating a guy who was also going through a big career change, he had done some bike touring, and we decided to tour together. The relationship didn't make it past the last day of that 2-month tour, but I loved touring. When I got back to real life, I got a job at a bike shop for a little while, then a contact from my old job, who had been layed off and was working with another company, had some temp work for me. I rented a room from my sister and worked. Then that job ended and I toured again. I repeated this pattern for a while, and on one of the tours met a man, who turned out to be The Man for me. Temp work morphed into contract work, The Man and I decided that living in my sister's house and his van wasn't going to work long term, and we found a place to live out here in Boulder.

    So now, 8 years since quitting my full time IT job, I have contract work part time, make the same amount of money as I did working full time, own a house, married The Man, and life is good. However, I haven't done any more really long tours for a couple of years - last year I did a 3 week tour (and several 1-week supported tours), the year before a 7 week tour. Even with contract work, I have to be available a reasonable amount or lose the contract, and when I'm not actually working, I'm not getting paid - so it's a balance between goofing off and paying the bills. I didn't have to buy a house, but it seemed like the right time (market, interest rate, comparative rents) but now that I did I do have to keep making money.

    All in all, I'm really happy with the choice I made to leave that job and try something new. I learned a lot about myself and what I think is important. I also tested the "grass is always greener" waters, and found that although I love touring and being on the road rock climbing, I actually do get a lot of intellectual satisfaction out of my work, and full time touring wouldn't be any more fulfilling for me than full time work. Also, I found I like having enough income to buy stuff without worrying about it too much - I'm not a very big consumer, but I'm not a total freegan by any means, so having decent income is important to me.

    I did make some choices that are questionable financially - I'm fine now but I'm sure not going to retire in luxury, or maybe at all. Part of my decision making process initially was that I had fully accepted that some things need to be done NOW, instead of waiting for a later that might never come - so I'm taking a risk with the retirement, but taking it with my eyes open.

    Since you can take sabbaticals, I would recommend you go ahead and do that next year - take the longest sabbatical they will let you and spend the entire time touring, in the same style you would if you didn't have a job to come back to. Then go back to work, let the whole thing settle in your mind for a while, and then make any longer term decisions.

    Anyway, hope any of that helps at all. THink it through all the way and be patient with your decision making process, so you are confident you are making a good decision before you leave your job.
    ...

  11. #11
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Austin, TX
    My Bikes
    2002 Litespeed Vortex, 2010 Specialized Tricross Expert,2008 Gary Fischer Hi Fi Carbon, 2002 Specialized S-Works hard tail, 1990 Kestrel KM 40
    Posts
    1,517
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Wow, there are a lot of thoughts here, thanks.

    Where does my wife fit? She's unskilled and has no formal education in the US and does part time, odd-jobs, she says she can move wherever I go and still find something to do. Besides, our marriage has been a little bumpy in the last year so that adds one unknown variable to this equation. We may not be even married any more a year from now As bad as it sounds, that would made things easier for me. I know I can survive on my own. Right now we have agreed that we need to cut down on our expenses, get out of debt and move out of NYC. Where and how far, it's still open to debate.

    We may try first moving from Queens to the Northern suburbs of NYC (Westchester, for those familiar with NYC). This will get me closer to the "outdoors" while still allowing to keep my job. The problem with living in Queens (or Brooklyn) is that you live on a congested island. Getting out for a nice bike ride means driving out, crossing at least one crowded bridge. If we lived in Westchester I'd be a dayride away from the Catskill Mountains. That would make 3-4 day weekends very possible. Also, Westchester is really nice for cycling while Queens frankly sucks. I ride to work every day and I have enough of my urban cycling Weekend rides around the town aren't much fun.

    Temp agency? Not a bad idea! I know some people who used to work for tempt agencies in IT fields doing short gigs, migrations, etc. I'll have to look into that.
    I like the idea of you being able to do long weekends on the bike - it will give you something to look forward to in the near term and give you lots of experiences and enjoyment. So, I would say you should seriously look into the Westchester move. FWIW, I have always looked at work as a means to support my leisure activities instead of dedicating my life to a career. Seems like you might now be thinking along those lines as well.

    Since you're in IT, you're employable anywhere you go and consulting is often a very lucrative route. The upside is that the money is great, and the downside is that contracts are often unpredictable. That unpredictability, however, might work to your advantage as you could go on trips between contracts, especially if you have significantly reduced your financial needs through downsizing. Look into IT consulting firms - basically temp work for IT folks and see if anything looks interesting. Also, since you're still working full-time, get certified in your speciality areas. I don't think certs make you a better IT person, but they are something that consulting firms love because they feel it makes you more credible.

    Finally, I'm no marriage counselor, but perhaps if you make some of these small but important changes in your lifestyle (a short move, more local touring, considering a change in employment as means to see the light at the end of the tunnel), you might find that there really are many things that you and your wife still enjoy about each other's company instead of focusing on what makes you unhappy.

  12. #12
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    In 2003, I founds myself in almost the same place. I made a huge change in my life, and it worked out really well for me. Make sure you really want to move somewhere else and change your life, though - getting a new job with 6 weeks of vacation a year is not going to be easy.

    So, I'll tell you the medium-long version of my story, but YMMV, of course.
    That's a great story valygrl, thanks for sharing.

    So I guess, I will continue on the current path: getting rid of debt, limiting my possessions, simplifying my life and saving money. That should let me make the move/job change in 1-2 years. Meantime I will take the longest time off I can next year and go on a tour. My wife can use that time to visit her family back home. Perhaps being separated for few months will allow us to re-think our relationship as well and figure what we want to do next. I will definitely look into temporary work.

    Still, I'd love to hear more stories!

  13. #13
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Denver, CO
    My Bikes
    Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
    Posts
    15,733
    Mentioned
    18 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post

    So here are some questions:

    How do you folks deal with such withdrawals?
    How do you find the time for extensive touring?
    What do you do for living that affords you the time?
    Have many of you made such changes to your lives?
    Any tips and ideas, suggestions?

    Adam
    I deal with the withdrawal by planning the next trip. I finished my tour this spring (Arkansas is actually pretty nice to tour in and the weather was good in late April/early May)and started thinking about the next one. My legs were hurting, I was tired from 2 weeks on the road and I drove from Texarkana to Denver over 2 days thinking about a tour of the Ohio River Valley for next fall the whole way back.

    Since I've been at my job for nearly 30 years, I earn a bucket load of vacation and I make a good living. I'm in research so my deadlines are different from most people.

    My wife actually encourages me to go touring by myself since she doesn't want to participate in the usual suffer fest but she does go with me on occasion. I have to keep things mellow for her (she'll meet me in Pittsburgh for the ride to DC) but I don't really mind.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  14. #14
    Mud, Gore & Guts eddubal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bloomfield, NJ
    My Bikes
    2012 Van Dessel Gin & Trombones; 2011 Masi Speciale SSCX; '87 Peugeot Cannonball Express
    Posts
    497
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Can we say MID-LIFE CRISIS?

    Yeah, I'm right there with you. I'm going through some of the same pains. Like you I just found that touring might be a fun thing to do. As I've expressed before, I started cycling again because of my health and it's bloomed into a fairly important part of my life. I'm riding more and not just for pleasure. Even though my commute is too long to cycle, (40 mi x2) I try to get on my bike, or at least an indoor exercise bike as much as possible. Even if it's for errands. I'm working on getting stronger and am venturing out a little bit more each weekend.

    Unlike you, I am tied down here with wife, child and a mortgage. My wife doesn't work because of a disability, so I am truly the only bread winner. I build scenery for Broadway in a job that is technically a "day labor" job, but because of the position, it's a very steady job. If I don't work, I don't get paid. We are union, so we do get some vacation pay, health insurance, a retirement plan (for now) and other similar benefits.

    Basically this all combined precludes me from extended touring. I am finding rides on the internet, to do on my own, but plan on getting involved with the Bicycle Touring Club of North Jersey. They do rides most weekends and various events during the year. Once I have a day available, I'm going to make the plunge. I figure that it's a good way to test the waters. REI also schedules rides that you want to look into. They're now in Manhattan, so it should be easy for you to get there. They did a ride along the East Coast Greenway a few weeks ago that I couldn't make, but will plan to do if they do it again. I guess my point is that you can find rides fairly easy a short distance from where you live. Even Google now has bike path information that you can access. Explore those first. A cross country trip is a major undertaking no matter what. Save that as a special treat.

    I would be VERY careful about jumping in the deep end before you check things out. It's ruined many people before and will do so again. Just be smart about it. When I started to get feelings of unrest and needing to change, I looked up "mid-life crisis" online as a lark and actually found many good pages on it. It is a natural part of everyone's lives. Just about all the sites said to be very careful making major changes to your life. This is a time that you try many different things and some work but most don't. It can backfire badly. Try things, get involved with clubs etc, and find something that works for you. Don't get in a situation that you can't back out from. If the job situation changes, great, but don't just get frustrated and walk away from a decent job.

    It sounds like you get excellent benefits from your company. Use them. There are plenty of rides that you can do within your six week allowance from week long rides that you can do several times a year to full six week adventures. If your company will let you take that much time off in one fell swoop. Take your sabatical and see how you really feel about touring, living frugally, not interacting with coworkers, etc. Then make a descision. Remember that it's easier to get a job if you have a job. That is especially important in this economy. You might have to suck it up, but the bean counters can't stop you from day dreaming!

    Also, work on your marriage. Get a counselor if you need to. Riding away from it might end up being a bad mistake. I work in an industry that has a divorce rate second only to police and firefighters. A divorce can be very sticky and leave you in a worse position than you are now. How are you going to pay the required alimony based on the job you are in now when you are working part time and touring the rest of the time? Judges don't care about you doing what you want to do. Especially when you are on the male side of divorce. I have friends on both sides of the Hudson who ran into that problem. One lost his truck, and another lost everything except the clothes on his back.

    We went through a turbulent period a little bit ago, but in finding our own interests and supporting each other in theirs, we've bridged the gap that was between us and are both enjoying life much more. Instead of hating it, work is has become merely an annoyance until I can leave. Every so often, there is something very interesting that comes my way and work is actually fun.
    My wife is neither interested in biking, nor touring/camping, but she's glad to let me do it. She says that I come home much more relaxed and invigorated afterward. Try a change of pace first before you jump in full time.


    Good luck with your decision.

    "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation" -Henry David Thoreau

    (Me, I say screw desperation. Enjoy the life you got. If you don't, find out how you can.)

  15. #15
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by eddubal View Post
    Can we say MID-LIFE CRISIS?
    Probably. But I've been unhappy with the way my life was stuck for at least 5 years now if not more, before I even discovered the pleasures of extended bicycle riding, before my second marriage (yeah, there was one before). I was looking for some outlet in art: music, photography, then I discovered that I enjoy outdoors a lot, which reminded me of my childhood, so I started hiking and riding a bike.

    Then a time has come that I become disillusioned with the American Way of Life, fed up with commercialism, advertising and the rat race. I never really wanted to end up like this.

    It's really hard to ruin my life. It's so simple, so basic that even if I lost all my possessions and my job I should be able to get back on my feet relatively easy. I'm no stranger to hard work. Before getting my degree and starting in IT field I did all kinds of jobs.

    Adam

  16. #16
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    643
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Life is full of transitions. There are 2 books that I have recommended to people in similar situations to yours that have resolved things to their satisfaction:

    1. Levinson's Seasons of a Man's Life - http://www.amazon.com/Seasons-Mans-L.../dp/0345339010 - a little dated, but still apropos.
    2. Strauch's The Secret Life of the Grown Up Brain - http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Gr...9585725&sr=1-1

    As a person who has "transitioned" more than once, my 2 cents is to be patient and keep talking to your friends. The answer will present itself.

    My wife grew up in Westchester, White Plains, and we have visited there. It is lovely but very expensive. Like so many ex-New Yorkers, she likes it better down here for the warmth, the space and lower cost of living. The downside is the lower salaries and the very different cultural milieu. It helps that there are plenty of highly educated people in RTP (we have the world's largest concentration of PhD's per capita, believe it or not...go figure).

    As for the marital issues, that's a whole 'nother can of worms. If it were me, I'd follow the old saw of "one change at a time". Of course, my advice is only worth what you paid for it.

  17. #17
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Someone has suggested moving to New Jersey. Life is cheaper there apparently compared to Westchester, although I wouldn't be able to ride a bike to work, unless I ride a folder to the train. But the total commute time can be still under an hour each way. However, realistically speaking bike commuting from Westchester may not be feasible either.

  18. #18
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    My Bikes
    Surly Krampus, Surly Straggler, Pivot Mach 6, Bike Friday Tikit, Bike Friday Tandem, Santa Cruz Nomad
    Posts
    5,237
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    The only good thing is that I worked here for 18 years and I get 6 weeks of vacation time. That seemed like a lot until I started thinking about touring.
    6 week paid holidays is a good start. See if you can take a few extra weeks off during a slow period unpaid. If you can score say another 3 weeks off you can now take a 4 week tour, a 3 week tour and a 2 week tour each year. Add in some weekend tours and you are doing pretty good.

    If you want even more time off see if they will okay a job sharing arrangement and find someone else who wants to work 6 months of the year.

    Personally I think the smart move is to keep a high paying job if you can because each hour you work is worth so much more. If you can be frugal you can save a lot of that money. Then you just need to increase your holiday time to meet your needs. The problem with a low paying job is you'll have to work so many more hours to make the same $$. Now if you love the low paying job and hate the high paying job maybe that makes sense, but for example I worked retail in an outdoors store making $10/hr....it wasn't hell, but it wasn't super fun either. I worked a lot and was tired when I was off. It was hard to save any $$ at that wage. I'd rather make $50/hr and work less or work the same hours and save a lot more.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  19. #19
    Mud, Gore & Guts eddubal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bloomfield, NJ
    My Bikes
    2012 Van Dessel Gin & Trombones; 2011 Masi Speciale SSCX; '87 Peugeot Cannonball Express
    Posts
    497
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    Someone has suggested moving to New Jersey. Life is cheaper there apparently compared to Westchester, although I wouldn't be able to ride a bike to work, unless I ride a folder to the train. But the total commute time can be still under an hour each way. However, realistically speaking bike commuting from Westchester may not be feasible either.
    It is cheaper, otherwise i probably would have moved closer to work in Yonkers. From what some of the local guys say, it's either expensive or crappy, not much in between.

    I believe all trains have a bike blackout during rush hours, but you can take full size bikes at other times. While working at a studio in Long Island City, I found that my train commute and driving in the morning were approximately the same, however driving home took me twice as much time than mass transit. I dropped the car really quick. I live close to a train station and the studio was close too (easy to do) so my walking time was less than 15 min. It was nice to not have to drive!

    Right now, I have about 50 minutes by car or about 2-1/2 hours by mass transit. needless to say I take the car. The worst part of it is the GWB. I'm starting to look for a parking lot that I use in Fort Lee and ride the rest of the way into Yonkers. I'll have to scope that out one weekend.

    In any case, Jersey might be a good fit. Definitely look into it.

  20. #20
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by eddubal View Post
    It is cheaper, otherwise i probably would have moved closer to work in Yonkers. From what some of the local guys say, it's either expensive or crappy, not much in between.

    I believe all trains have a bike blackout during rush hours, but you can take full size bikes at other times. While working at a studio in Long Island City, I found that my train commute and driving in the morning were approximately the same, however driving home took me twice as much time than mass transit. I dropped the car really quick. I live close to a train station and the studio was close too (easy to do) so my walking time was less than 15 min. It was nice to not have to drive!

    Right now, I have about 50 minutes by car or about 2-1/2 hours by mass transit. needless to say I take the car. The worst part of it is the GWB. I'm starting to look for a parking lot that I use in Fort Lee and ride the rest of the way into Yonkers. I'll have to scope that out one weekend.

    In any case, Jersey might be a good fit. Definitely look into it.
    I know a few people here who commute from NJ, I'll pick their brains. While riding my bike to work is nice it would be a fair trade-off for living in a cheaper, nicer place. I will most definitely not attempt to drive to work. It's either PATH, bus or the bike

    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post
    6 week paid holidays is a good start. See if you can take a few extra weeks off during a slow period unpaid. If you can score say another 3 weeks off you can now take a 4 week tour, a 3 week tour and a 2 week tour each year. Add in some weekend tours and you are doing pretty good.

    If you want even more time off see if they will okay a job sharing arrangement and find someone else who wants to work 6 months of the year.

    Personally I think the smart move is to keep a high paying job if you can because each hour you work is worth so much more. If you can be frugal you can save a lot of that money. Then you just need to increase your holiday time to meet your needs. The problem with a low paying job is you'll have to work so many more hours to make the same $$. Now if you love the low paying job and hate the high paying job maybe that makes sense, but for example I worked retail in an outdoors store making $10/hr....it wasn't hell, but it wasn't super fun either. I worked a lot and was tired when I was off. It was hard to save any $$ at that wage. I'd rather make $50/hr and work less or work the same hours and save a lot more.
    I can take 2-3 months unpaid leave next year, plus my regular vacation time, I've already asked. So if everything goes well, I may fulfill my dream of riding across USA next year. It's the first step. Next, I'll see if I can negotiate some extended unpaid leave every year from now on. I'm an employee in good standing and I'm respected by the administration and researchers (my "users") so I hope they will agree to that.

    Next step will be to move out of the city to make weekend getaways easier while still keeping this job.

    And I'll take it from there. If I come across a job at some other university in a different state (I like working with researchers, I don't want a corporate job) I may jump on it. But, one change at a time. Maybe it is indeed mid-life crisis and I'll get more stable eventually

    Adam

  21. #21
    Mud, Gore & Guts eddubal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Bloomfield, NJ
    My Bikes
    2012 Van Dessel Gin & Trombones; 2011 Masi Speciale SSCX; '87 Peugeot Cannonball Express
    Posts
    497
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Good to hear.

    Chris

  22. #22
    hi YoKev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Kingston, NY
    Posts
    2,522
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    What about moving up to Poughkeepsie? Gunks minutes away, Catskills 40 minutes, Berkshires 30 minutes, Taconics even closer. Cheap living (comparatively), and Metro North. Sure, you put in 2 (relaxing imho) hours on a train, but your're so much closer to prime Hudson Valley riding. It could be the solution you're looking for.
    Last edited by YoKev; 11-12-10 at 01:46 PM.

  23. #23
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Queens, New York
    My Bikes
    Surly Disc trucker (DIY), Fuji Reveal 1.0 (DIY MTB), Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    5,161
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Poughkeepsie was my starting point for my tour of the Adirondacks I plan to do this again a few times before I move out of NYC, it's a great getaway point for touring NY State. But that's a bit too long of a commute though. I'd like to keep it under one hour. I love the Gunks though, some of my favorite hikes are around Minnewaska Park and Sam's Point Preserve, not to mention the Catskills.

    Adam

  24. #24
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Victoria, BC
    My Bikes
    Surly Krampus, Surly Straggler, Pivot Mach 6, Bike Friday Tikit, Bike Friday Tandem, Santa Cruz Nomad
    Posts
    5,237
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
    I can take 2-3 months unpaid leave next year, plus my regular vacation time, I've already asked. So if everything goes well, I may fulfill my dream of riding across USA next year. It's the first step. Next, I'll see if I can negotiate some extended unpaid leave every year from now on. I'm an employee in good standing and I'm respected by the administration and researchers (my "users") so I hope they will agree to that.

    Next step will be to move out of the city to make weekend getaways easier while still keeping this job.

    And I'll take it from there. If I come across a job at some other university in a different state (I like working with researchers, I don't want a corporate job) I may jump on it. But, one change at a time. Maybe it is indeed mid-life crisis and I'll get more stable eventually

    Adam
    That sounds like a sensible plan. You will have to start building up your track record with any new employer so no point burning bridges if you can make it work.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  25. #25
    mev
    mev is offline
    bicycle tourist
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Austin, Texas, USA
    My Bikes
    Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500
    Posts
    895
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Six weeks a year is certainly a nice perk to have and can support some periodic touring. I'd definitely second the thought that you might want to try a LOA for a longer tour before you give up everything - though a lot of that is how risk adverse you are and how much you embrace change.

    As far as myself goes, I'd done a fair amount of touring in college, and then fell out of it the first few years out of college. A pending divorce led me back to cycling including a Colorado to Chicago tour in 1991 and then in 1992 my first cross-USA tour starting 23 days after the divorce was final. It was an intense self-supported five-week ride averaging 95 miles/day including one rest day. That gave me a lot of time on the bike to think things through and was right thing for me. A few months later more change as our local department was eliminated at work and I ended up moving 1600 miles to the east coast and taking a different type of job.

    As I reflected at end of 1992, I felt very grateful with all the changes in personal life, job and where I lived - that I had done my cross-country trip. I vowed to myself that I was going to find more opportunities for such an extended travel. I did a lot of shorter week-at-a-time trips, but also set a mark on the wall that five years from the original trip, in 1997, I was going to take another long ride in style similar to my cross-USA trip.

    So, I did. In 1997, I took an extended three month LOA and used it to bicycle across Canada. This was a little less intense, only 85 miles/day, but also more than twice as long as the previous ride. While there was less personal change going on, it was also nice to change my basic lifestyle and patterns to an extended tour. It left me re-energized as I came back, moved from east coast to west coast and started a new job.

    The long-term cycling bug had still bitten, so I put the next mark on the wall in 2001. This time it was a 12-month LOA including one lap around outside of Australia. Around both the 1997 and 2001 trips, I definitely worked to otherwise simplify my life. I cleaned up a lot of things before I left, and condensed everything into a single room. After twelve months on the road, I took a look at those possessions I hadn't used for 12-months but somehow thought were important enough to keep - and did a second housecleaning getting rid of more stuff. I also sold my car before the 2001 trip and haven't purchased one since.

    I enjoy my work and it pays fine, so after returning in 2002, I threw myself back into work and a new job back in Colorado. I did however put another mark on the wall for 2007 for another extended journey. I also took a number of shorter trips including a six week trip in 2006 through Ukraine and Russia. That 2007 trip was another good switch to an extended touring lifestyle - though by now this was also part of my outlook that I would take those occasional extended journeys between some periods of pretty intense work - and also use them as a chance to change job roles and keep learning/growing in new roles.

    It has been almost three years since returning from the 2007 ride. I'm building up to my next mark on the wall and another extended period of travel. I'm still in the "dreaming and scheming" stage in thinking out some of the possibilities. There are some tradeoffs I've made in supporting these life choices, but I'd definitely rather do it this way in taking a periodic break from work, than work continuously until a "retirement age" and then discover I can't do the same sorts of travel or cycle touring as I could while younger.

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •