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  1. #1
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I tour on a Waterford Adventurecycle. It is a fabulous touring bike.
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    Do you "enjoy" bike touring?

    I just finished a 4-week tour of the UK. I've been asked a few times if I enjoyed my bike tour. The obvious answer is "Yes, I did," but it feels so incomplete.

    I realize such questions are part of social convention but it got me to thinking about what words others would use to describe their bike tours. The best I've come up with is "satisfying." That is, I find bike touring to be a deeply satisfying personal experience.

    To me, the work "enjoy" suggests "fun." But, bike touring is so much more (and sometimes less) than a "fun" time that it seems completely inadequate.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  2. #2
    Perma-n00b Askel's Avatar
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    Like anything else in life, it has it's ups and downs. But it sure as hell has a lot more ups than keeping my office chair warm all week.

  3. #3
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    i find a "fundamental sense of place" the most predominant element I take back from a touring trip.

    Deeply satisfying satori.

    A Long Road to the Interior was not just a book by Basho.

    you could perhaps call bike touring - some of it anyway - a pilgrimage of the road itself.

    The objective of a journey is not the destination. Modern, high speed travel takes out the journey. Bike touring connects you to the countryside and gives a person a grounded sense of place like no other method of travel.

    how's those?
    Last edited by Bekologist; 06-01-11 at 08:09 AM.

  4. #4
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    I have been on bike tours I didn't enjoy. I don't assume that bike+camping+me=awesome. As I have been on various tours I have learned what I enjoy and what makes me less than happy. That allows me plan tours that will be more smiles/mile than when I was starting out.

    I enjoy a challenge and as long as it stays within a certain realm of suffering/difficulty it will add to my sense of accomplishment at the end of the ride. OTOH - if it crosses that line I just start to think WTF am I doing here spending my free time suffering for?

    Bike touring rewards folks that are honest with themselves which is something I enjoy about it.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

  5. #5
    It's true, man.
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    Quote Originally Posted by vik View Post

    Bike touring rewards folks that are honest with themselves...
    Perfect. Thanks for posting that.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    google bicycle zen proverb.immerse your self,self-propelled,self empowerment;enlightenment!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Tansy's Avatar
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    I've spent the better part of entire days on tour feeling apprehensive, hungry, cold, wet, sick, tired, unable to find a place to sleep, unable to sleep. I've had days where I'm stuck by sudden, intense joyfulness somewhere between "big stupid grin" and "burst out in song". I enjoy planning tours, but often I start to dread actually going. I've never gone on a tour or bike-camping trip that I regret. My golden moment each day touring is, hot and tired and sweaty, pulling into a quiet little campsite, state forest, town park, ect. I'm not happy that I'm done riding, I'm thrilled that my ride isn't ending back at my front door.

    In my own mind, I don't quite average out all those contradictions as "Enjoyment". I feel like traveling by bicycle is my place in the world and living in a house and working is just something I'm doing in the meantime. I can't think of another lifestyle, at this point in time, that would satisfy me.

    Of course, around the water cooler I'll skip all the pocket philosophizing and just say "Yeah it's great fun you should try it sometime".
    Be the change you wish to see in the world.


  8. #8
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    The response by "vik" is closest to my feelings. I am a part-time cyclist. All my tours, mostly 1000 miles or more, have had various levels of pain, frustration, and depression that would likely be less if I were a year-round rider. The experience of close-up wildlife and scenery viewing, tremendous sense of accomplishment, and enjoyment of meeting and chatting with all manner of peoples along the way, (usually not as intimate when traveling by vehicle) most often more than makes up for the physical and mental hardships. A person can travel the same route dozens of times by vehicle and not fully experience the same level of enjoyment as someone walking or riding, who is able to more thoroughly investigate everything along the way.
    Last edited by Big Lew; 06-01-11 at 01:58 PM.

  9. #9
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    I can't recall anyone ever asking me if I enjoyed any of my bike tours. I think the assumption is that since I choose to do it, I must enjoy it. And that's a correct assumption. That doesn't mean I enjoy every minute, but I certainly enjoy the vast majority of time I spend touring.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Great question. I am just starting to get involved in touring but I have rode a bicycle my entire life. I just did 115 fixed gear by myself for no other reason than I thought it would be a fun challenge. It hurt like hell about 40% of the time but I was also smiling the entire time. If someone asks me if it was fun, which they haven't, I'd say, "Yes, but it was painful." My wife scratches her head when I say stuff like that.

    I enjoy a challenging ride much more than I enjoy an easy ride. I think it all comes down to one's definition of fun. Maybe the question to ask is, "Would you do that again?" If the answer is yes, then I guess it was fun (enough). Or maybe the question is, "Would you rather do __________________ or have a root canal?" If it was better than a root canal then it had to be fun.

  11. #11
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    It's kind of like _ _ _, they're all good but some are just better than others.

  12. #12
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    As someone posted before - sorry, don't remember who that was: " A bad day on bike tour is better than a good day at work". But then as Vik pointed out: if gets to be too bad you probably should call for a pickup.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    This tread touches on the issue of motivation. Once the new wears off, the "wow" factor is over, nothing left to prove, the family is bored with your tales and thinks you're a bit nuts, then what. I've been asking myself that lately.

    The answer is........IDK. Maybe it beats mowing the grass and taking out the garbage. Whatever, it's in my blood and I am making plans for 1200 more miles this summer. And it's gonna be a damn good ride. It's gonna be fun.
    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

  14. #14
    Cycle Year Round CB HI's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    This tread touches on the issue of motivation. Once the new wears off, the "wow" factor is over, nothing left to prove, the family is bored with your tales and thinks you're a bit nuts, then what. I've been asking myself that lately.
    We are cyclist, the family, friends and coworkers already thought we were nuts before we ever toured.
    Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    If IT's not fun, and if I'm not being paid to do IT then I don't do IT--including bicycling--whether a tour or a trip to the store.

  16. #16
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    One of the most popular posts on my blog addresses that question: IS IT FUN? (http://familyonbikes.org/blog/?p=1673)

    "Is it fun? Is it fun grinding up hills at 4 kph? Is it fun when the winds are so strong we feel like we’re riding bucking broncs in a rodeo? Is it fun when the air is so cold our fingers feel like they’ll freeze and fall off our hands like icicles crashing to the ground or when it’s so hot we could fill buckets with our sweat? Is it fun when a cold rain is falling and we’re pedaling furiously to try and outrun it?

    Then I looked into the camera and smiled at Drew and said, “Most of the time it’s fun. Most of the time we’re like little kids riding our bikes around the neighborhood. We’ve got the sun on our faces and the wind in our hair and we’re seeing the world in the best way possible. We get to cycle through tiny little villages and see life as it really is rather than seeing it through a glass filter. We’re not encased in a metal cage – we’re out in the real deal. Most of the time, it’s great fun.


    “But there are other times when it’s not fun. There are times when it’s hard – really, really hard. There are times when it’s so hard I feel like I can’t take another step and feel like I’ll collapse to the ground right here but know that if I don’t push on I could quite literally die. There are times when our journey is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and it’s not fun at all.


    “But even those hard times are wonderful. When I look back on those hard times I can see how much I grew or the lessons that I learned. Those are the times wonderful memories are made – the times when the four of us all jumped in with every strength we had and worked together to get our entire family through."
    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

  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    When I tour I am doing the one of the things that I enjoy doing, riding a bike. I have done loaded tours, supported tours and this year a credit card tour, I'm still riding a bike. So yes I enjoy my tours, there are good and bad times, the good have been real good and the bad aren't too bad.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  18. #18
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    When asked the answer is "yes", and they either understand or they don't.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
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    If,,,,Thats a LOUD IF,,I were not tied down with wife, Dog, Kids, Grand kids and financially supporting all of them,,,,I would get on that SURLY hook up that BOB Put on my Pearls and ride south,,,,as far as I could go.

  20. #20
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Hard to pin down. For example, meeting a kind soul that reminds you of "humanity still having a chance" can turn a bad tour into a good one. Definitely ups and downs and hard to describe with a single word.

  21. #21
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    I've been doing this type of stuff since i was 16 and have spent many a hardscrabble day on the pilgrimage of the road.

    satori on bike
    travelling the countryside
    thoughts go round like wheels.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    I remember reading another news article about a study that found that parents were less happy than those without children. This is true, without a doubt. However, some of the work goes further and talks about the distinction between moment-to-moment happiness/enjoyment vs. satisfaction (or finding something rewarding). I find it applies here. Am I enjoying a moment, up-a-hill, on a bike as much as I might be enjoying playing Xbox. No, but it is much more satisfying. I get to see new things, and have a sense of accomplishment. Plus, at the end of the day, I very much enjoy some restful time around a campfire eating a hot dog - certainly more enjoyment than I'd ever find in a hot dog in front of my TV.

  23. #23
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    Is it "fun"? And do I "enjoy" it? Absolutely. However, my definition of those words might vary slightly from the conventional. I love the easy days. the ones that were the wind's at your back, and the ride is downhill, and you see lots along the way. I'm also immensely satisfied with the hard days, where you get flats and other mechanical issues you need to figure out. When the weather's tough, with no signs of letting up, and you still have to log another 60km before you're at camp. Why? Because you eventually get there, you crack open a beer, and say "It sucked, but I wouldn't change a thing."

    Mind you, I've never gotten sick or injured on a tour. Just tired and sore.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
    We are cyclist, the family, friends and coworkers already thought we were nuts before we ever toured.
    that's true...and that's even for just commuting by bike, it's for spending more than $100 on a bike, too.

  25. #25
    nashcommguy
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    Quote Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
    that's true...and that's even for just commuting by bike, it's for spending more than $100 on a bike, too.
    My experience has been the same for the most part. I gave up trying to reason my joy of cycling to those who refuse or can't understand.

    My first tour was a 7 week self-guided venture of Ireland, Wales and part of Scotland a few years ago. My son said he thought it was a little weird. He said then he looked around at all the other dads in the neighborhood who didn't do anything and came to the conclusion that it 'ruled'. High praise from a 13 year old.

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