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  1. #51
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    I don't think we can judge because we haven't been in the OP's shoes. We don't know what's happened in his life. He could be a war vet for all we know that has had a hard time adapting to the civilian world, or a victim of the housing bubble, and made bad investments when Wall Street took a dive. Lots of people lost their jobs during that time. I don't think food stamps are the answer. Maybe find a cause you are interested in, and take donations to support your ride for that cause. Good luck to the OP, I say go for it if it makes you happy, but definitely get your resume out there and bring your phone with you. For all we know he's trying to get a job but has had no luck. Good luck and have a good tour.

  2. #52
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    We are all interdependent.
    Yes, indeed. But I see little evidence of the "inter" part of "interdependent".

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadfahrDavid281 View Post
    The point of this thread is to emphasize that the best things in life are indeed free, and that should hold true for a bike tour. If anyone agrees, feel free to post.
    I agree.

    Even though, as I've posted already, I believe the OP is a clever 'wind up' designed to poke a stick in the spokes of a few here.

    There's nothing wrong with relying on 'the kindness of strangers', I've done it myself a couple of times.
    History is the future

  4. #54
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    I read the OP and immediately thought it was dripping with sarcasm, but maybe not.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by JEdward View Post
    I don't think we can judge because we haven't been in the OP's shoes. We don't know what's happened in his life. He could be a war vet for all we know that has had a hard time adapting to the civilian world, or a victim of the housing bubble, and made bad investments when Wall Street took a dive.
    So that would make it o.k. to apply for food stamps solely to finance his vacation? You did carefully read his alleged intention, didn't you? Getting food stamps so he can afford to tour is precisely what he proposed.

    In any event, he's a troll. That's pretty obvious.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    OP has enough cognitive ability to post here, and physical strength to ride long distances, so I'd say get a job and save up for your vacation.
    Yesterday I was going to point out that he has enough education to know how to form the plural possessive of "parent," but I figured it wouldn't do much good.

    The guy is a troll.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  7. #57
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    So that would make it o.k. to apply for food stamps solely to finance his vacation? You did carefully read his alleged intention, didn't you? Getting food stamps so he can afford to tour is precisely what he proposed.

    In any event, he's a troll. That's pretty obvious.
    That's the issue if he's not a troll. If he needs food stamps to live on, yeah sure apply for them, that's great. But if he just wants them so that he can afford to go on a vacation, I find that annoying. Sure, I wish the government would pay for me to go on the vacation (or replace the rotting windows in my house) I won't be able to afford this year (or next), and I could doctor my tax returns so that they kind of do, but I won't because it's wrong. Using something the government provides because you need it is what it's there for. Taking money that would otherwise go to someone who needs it so you can have a luxury is not cool. When I was an undergrad, I knew kids whose parents paid for their schooling who somehow managed to get on food stamps so that they could use the money their parents gave them for food to buy beer and party instead. That was just as wrong.

    If a food bank or soup kitchen has enough resources for all, that's great. But where I grew up, food banks ran out of money/food fairly regularly, and everyone who needed food didn't get it. I'd hate to think some kid who has no other way of getting food is going to bed at night hungry so that this dude (for whom there is food at home if he puts up with his sick dad) can go on his little vacation.

    I just don't see how anyone need to go on a vacation. They may want to go on a vacation. They may need to get out of their current living situation because it's abusive, but they don't need a vacation.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    OK, get angry if you want to. Lots of people take advantage of offerings when things are down. There's a good choice he'll eventually get a tax-paying job and replenish whatever he took, many times over. I have relatives who escaped the Soviet Union and were put up by charities and the welfare system when they arrived. They are extremely productive and high-earning now, thanks to the head start they got. I think the system works.

    If you think most welfare recipients make a lifestyle out of it, you are mistaken.
    Tom, I think what is setting some people off is there's a difference between situations where "life has got you down" and situations where you are a victim of bad luck and/or current circumstances. I'm a consultant, so my income can vary widely. Sometimes I'm on projects that last almost 2 years, sometimes I've got to cobble together short-term things and to make a go of it. And I'm married with kids, so my circumstances have a big role on the choices I make.

    But situations like the OP is describing is why there's no middle position in America anymore and why there's a sanity vacuum when it comes to tough issues. I'm all for helping people out and am willing to pay extra to do it, but I'm working for less money than I was 2 years ago at the same time my property taxes are rising steadily and other costs are increasing. And I'm not alone; the situation I describe is why there's no middle class to speak of, especially in high-cost markets. So when someone's doing all this and sees someone wax poetic about freeloading via bike, it is a bit aggravating.

    If a person wants to improve their life, touring the country by bike isn't going to do it -- whether they work or not. Simply put, no one is going to take someone seriously who's looking for all but a laborer-type job and is touring the country by bike.

  9. #59
    Senior Member RollCNY's Avatar
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    If the OP qualifies for food stamps, he qualifies for food stamps whether he sits on his parents' couch or pedals around the country. If he falsifies info to get them, that would be morally wrong (and ideally illegal). If accurate information gets them, then why should anyone care if he loafs or labors?
    Last edited by RollCNY; 04-09-14 at 08:12 AM.

  10. #60
    Junior Member vijinho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadfahrDavid281 View Post
    29 going on 30 is MUCH too old to be living at home. Many guys my age have a job, car, house or apartment, and oftentimes, a WIFE AND KIDS. Heck, my friend's daughter is almost two years old! I'm a guy who WANTS kids, but just can't find Ms. Right. Again, I just might find that Ms. Right on a bike tour!
    Life is not a race/competition and there's far more to it than possessions, property, working and raising a family - don't compare yourself with other people, there are plenty in that situation you desire who feel 'trapped' in routine, stress and daily repetitive drudgery, whether or not they admit it and would love the freedom that you have to do whatever you like without the responsibility of a family to take care of and a mortgage to pay-off.

    Life is what you make of it and it is too short - enjoy this moment of being young and free whilst you can and I wish you happy adventures, friend.

  11. #61
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    After two years in college, I dropped out to think about what I wanted to do with my life. I was a music major, and I wasn't putting my heart into it. I couldn't see myself making a career as an opera singer.

    I got a job as a bicycle mechanic, and I got an apartment. It was a challenge to make ends meet. I didn't know if I could do it, and I was scared, but I wanted badly to try.

    I did manage. In fact, I made little money, but I spent even less. I was accumulating savings. I decided to take a trip to Europe, since I had never been. My parents endorsed the idea. My father advised me to travel with no itinerary until my money ran out. He said he would put me up when I got back. He told me that never again would I have both the unbounded time and the money to do this. I didn't understand, since I was only 20. It was the greatest gift he ever gave me, endorsing and enhancing this plan. He also planted a seed: he suggested I consider a career in computers, since I would probably do well at it and enjoy it also. I said I would think about it.

    I gave up my apartment and my job. I took my bike to Europe. I wandered for three months and got a better vision of who I am and what I am capable of. I thought about my father's suggestion and decided to go back to college and try it.

    I remember one day when I got rained out. I was drenched to the bone, so I quit riding at noon. I was in a remote part of Wales where the sheep outnumber the people by a large margin. I sat at a pub, having a sandwich. I told the barkeep what I was up to, since she asked. The man sitting next to me was shocked and disgusted and how irresponsible I was acting. Here I was, 20 years old, and I wasn't even thinking of getting married and building something. The man was a sheep farmer. I found his attitude to be a total surprise. I guess that's because he seemed to have exactly one model for what a young man should do with his life.

    And now Americans seem to like to judge individuals by how oriented they are to earning money. Are there no other worthy things to do with oneself? Are there no other measures of a person's value as a human? Is that all there is?
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  12. #62
    Junior Member vijinho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    And now Americans seem to like to judge individuals by how oriented they are to earning money. Are there no other worthy things to do with oneself? Are there no other measures of a person's value as a human? Is that all there is?
    Great story, thanks for sharing! Funny you mention a shepherd - it reminds me that there was a shepherd boy as the main protagonist in Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", a classic tale of leaving everything behind (including the sheep!) to go on an adventure...

  13. #63
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    Yeah, there are a lot of things out there that are worthy to achieve instead of money. That's fine. My concern is that there are often limited resources to feed the needy in various places (maybe not everywhere), and sometimes getting food is a zero sum game. It's great if he can go out on this great adventure of self actualization and find himself. But if doing so means someone else doesn't get to eat, that's not cool. Self-actualization is the highest level of Maslow's hierarchy. Doesn't seem fair for him to cause someone to not get to a lower level so he can get to a higher level. If people want to freely give him food and he wants to use warmshowers or whatever to couch surf his way across the country and rely on the kindness of strangers for food that's fine. It's just that something like 15% of kids in this country don't get enough food each day and if he takes away food that should be going to them while he has food available at home, I don't think that's cool. If there isn't food for him at home, that's different, but gaming the system so you can get a vacation is something I have a problem with. I'm not saying he has to take a job and get money, but maybe there's a way he can find himself locally that doesn't require taking resources others need. Volunteering? Trying out new things around home? I don't think soup kitchens should have some sort of "are you really homeless" test, but I think it's the responsibility of us in society not to abuse the safety net put in place for others. This guy's post reminds me of the guy who wanted to ride along on a large group tour, following their routes and camping with them, but not eating their food and didn't think he should have to pay because roads are public and he's not using their food. Technically, that's true (though he may be taking advantage of permissions and camp sites that they did pay for), but it's kind of cheating the system.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    If the OP qualifies for food stamps, he qualifies for food stamps whether he sits on his parents' couch or pedals around the country.
    The original post is a troll.

    With that said, I would expect the eligibility requirements for SNAP to be more difficult traveling around the country (Eligibility | Food and Nutrition Service) than staying home. In particular, you'd want to comply with the "must register for work, accept suitable employment, and take part in an employment and training program to which they are referred by the local office" provisions of the employment provisions.

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by RollCNY View Post
    If the OP qualifies for food stamps, he qualifies for food stamps whether he sits on his parents' couch or pedals around the country. If he falsifies info to get them, that would be morally wrong (and ideally illegal). If accurate information gets them, then why should anyone care if he loafs or labors?
    Well, because the system isn't perfect. One can live one's life to legally game the welfare system (not OK?), just as one can live one's life to legally game the tax system (OK?). In the former, one is devious, taking from society more than what was intended by the spirit of the law; in the latter, one is clever, giving less to society that what was intended by this same spirit of the law.

    Four separate times while touring I have been drawn into conversations by people who try to extract from me (buff, young-looking) how I have the wherewithal to tour for months on end. It has been disconcerting as well as fascinating. Sometimes the talk starts with a not so friendly "So you want a handout?", but it usually begins with something far more elliptical that migrates nevertheless to whether I am gaming the disability and/or food stamp welfare systems. I don't feel at all comfortable revealing my financial situation, which is likely vastly superior to their own, because I don't want them to feel denigrated - assuming, of course, I were to be believed. They are smug in their conviction that their recreational vehicle, compared to mine (a bike and tent), marks them a relative winner. I also don't want to be robbed. The conversation always ends with a Fox News / Rush Limbaugh inspired rant loosely based on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged taker/maker template.

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    And now Americans seem to like to judge individuals by how oriented they are to earning money. Are there no other worthy things to do with oneself? Are there no other measures of a person's value as a human? Is that all there is?
    For some 20 year olds, college serves the venue for what your experience in Europe served for you. Having a degree means something (for better or worse) objectively, having the experience means something (for better or worse) only subjectively. Both can be valuable, or not. But somebody 30 years old should have figured out all of this. As one ages, options for "finding a societal position" are removed from the table one by one.

  17. #67
    Senior Member Thulsadoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    And now Americans seem to like to judge individuals by how oriented they are to earning money.
    I hope that you are not generalizing how over 300 million Americans think solely by the opinions being posted in this discussion. I'm an American, and I find most of this thread just nauseating.

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    I hope that you are not generalizing how over 300 million Americans think solely by the opinions being posted in this discussion. I'm an American, and I find most of this thread just nauseating.
    Thulsadoom, it's not like you to just lob rocks. The OP, troll as he might be, has generated an interesting discussion; one that I'd look forward to your considered take on.

  19. #69
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    I'm sure the OP will be gloriously successful on his tour. He obviously has a track record of success in life and I see nothing that will stop that. His plan is very well thought out and can't see anything that could possibly go wrong. /sarcasm.

    Sorry, how else does one respond to an obvious troll?

  20. #70
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    I'm in a somewhat similar situation as OP, living at home, no job, a few years younger, etc. I plan to do a bike tour soon and I think for someone like OP, a bike tour could be a good thing. I think a change in scenery, lifestyle, or anything can be good for someone who feels stuck. Will it be life changing? Who knows. I wouldn't place too many expectations that it will be, but I think that it's worthwhile to just do something. I think bike touring is great, especially if you love riding. It's relatively inexpensive compared to traveling to other countries and you can cover lots of ground and see lots of things.

    As for the food stamps thing, I think it's wrong to use it as a way to fund your food while on tour. Don't exploit a system that's originally designed to help people in need. You could probably get by on $15 a day for food which would make for a cheap tour (daily expenses wise) if you stealth camp every night.

  21. #71
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vijinho View Post
    Great story, thanks for sharing! Funny you mention a shepherd - it reminds me that there was a shepherd boy as the main protagonist in Paulo Coelho's "The Alchemist", a classic tale of leaving everything behind (including the sheep!) to go on an adventure...
    I must put that on my to-read list!

    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    But if doing so means someone else doesn't get to eat, that's not cool.
    Not buying this. It's really pretty lame. I haven't heard any stories of one last person on line at a soup kitchen being turned away because they just ran out of food. You're making it up, and as such, it does not make your point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    For some 20 year olds, college serves the venue for what your experience in Europe served for you. Having a degree means something (for better or worse) objectively, having the experience means something (for better or worse) only subjectively. Both can be valuable, or not. But somebody 30 years old should have figured out all of this. As one ages, options for "finding a societal position" are removed from the table one by one.
    20 is OK, and 30 is not? I tend to agree, but again, who are we to decide? The Welsh shepherd thought 20 was overdue for settling down. And again, we don't know what the OP/troll has accomplished so far, nor do we know what he will accomplish. This could be a short period followed by his becoming a captain of industry and great philanthroper. Unless you mess up his plans, and it will be all your fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
    I hope that you are not generalizing how over 300 million Americans think solely by the opinions being posted in this discussion. I'm an American, and I find most of this thread just nauseating.
    OK, would it help if I said, "Too many Americans ..."?
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  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    And now Americans seem to like to judge individuals by how oriented they are to earning money. Are there no other worthy things to do with oneself? Are there no other measures of a person's value as a human? Is that all there is?
    I don't disagree with you that we've gotten one dimensional, but it's the collective road that we've decided to take, largely through business shifts and political/economic policy moves. So that boat has sailed -- at least until the middle class in the country decides to arm themselves with factual information and stand up and fight. As far as the judgement aspect of your argument, I think it stems not so much from judgement, but from the fact that people are going to have little tolerance for someone wanting to ride about the country on food stamps when they're working harder for less money.

    It's not so much that people are making a choice that work is all there is. When your taxes, energy and other uncontrollable costs are rising exponentially faster than your salary increases, you don't really have a choice but keep up. The alternative doesn't provide for your children, doesn't pay your share of educating a society and paying for one that functions, etc.

    I spent much of my career covering business and economics as a journalist and I truly fear that the current generation in their 30s and 40s may be the first ever in America to end their career with less wealth than the previous generation. That has never, ever happened in the history of the U.S. or any other modern economy. When you examine the aggregate impact of that and what the lack of a wealth transfer to the next generation will mean, coupled with declines in wealth builders like homes, the cumulative impact could be enormous. I'm not saying the OP -- if he is indeed real -- is responsible for any of that, but it's easy to see why people don't have much patience regarding attitudes like that.

  23. #73
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Now you've touched on something that I am equally riled up about. But my enemy is not the vagabond. It is the ultra wealthy who set prices and wages for the rest of us and then claims it was the free market and that I willfully accepted my rate of pay.

    This is really a political discussion, and it has been one since the second post. So I suppose it will eventually be shut down. Oh well.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  24. #74
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    "The best things in life are free."

    Than again - - the best things in life you work for. Isn't that the idea behind pedaling 65 miles during the day rather than driving it in an hour? Those of us with a few years and many touring miles under our belts have surely heard something in the nature of, "Why would you do something stupid like that?" Surely there is a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top of a pass in the Rockies - - or else why would so many people post photos of themselves at the elevation sign?

    Whether it's mulching and tilling the garden in the springtime or building a dollhouse for your daughter (which probably doesn't have as many bells and whistles as a plastic one from Walmart) - - and yes, even a job - - there is something gained by perseverance, effort, work. The "Instant" age began long before electronic media took hold, but the latter has certainly accelerated the instant need. "Instant Karma" most certainly.

    The idea of working and saving for a trip and for the requisite equipment might sound terribly puritanical, but the rewards of doing so are usually far greater.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by RadfahrDavid281 View Post
    Hello BikeForums, in my last post about Charleston, I mentioned pricing/budget. But come to think of it, it really shouldn't cost that much to tour on a bike, provided, as someone posted in that forum, I have "a decent bike that's well-maintained." I'm sure you touring cyclists have all heard the phrase, "The best things in life are free." And that includes touring on a bicycle! After all, it doesn't cost anything to just pedal on a bike and go on (public) roads, going by the roads that the ACA maps recommend.

    As for gear, I already have most of that thanks to my tenure in Boy Scouts; I just need a few more things from Amazon. My bike has a rear rack (which I would attach panniers to, hence eliminating the need for a trailer like I mentioned in my Charleston post).

    Just like hikers on the Appalachian Trail (AT), most money spent is on food, lodging, and replacement gear/parts. Unlike on the AT, as a touring cyclist, I would be passing through many towns and civilization, since I'd be riding on public roads. (Unless I end up biking through a state like Kansas; then I may not see a town for days!) That means there will be always be a supermarket nearby, and larger towns will have soup kitchens that serve free meals. I realize that especially in the South, there are poor people who really need that free food, but with no income, what choice do I have? Another option is, I have heard that even homeless vagrants can get food stamps (EBT cards). There is a process involved in getting those food stamps, so being a "touring cyclist who just wants to get out of his parents' house by seeing the country on bicycle" probably would NOT qualify me to get food stamps. I could be wrong though. I don't know till I try. For all you touring cyclists out there, have you or a cyclist you know ever gotten food stamps or other avenues of free food on tour? I do NOT want to resort to "dumpster diving," that's actually somewhat nasty, and anyway, many restaurants these days lock their dumpsters at night.

    One such case I've heard of a touring cyclist getting free food was a former colleague's brother who crossed the country on bicycle for charity/a cause. Once enough people knew of his cause, establishments such as Subway gave him free food. But I'm sure cyclists like him are the exception, not the norm. Most touring cyclists pay their own way, I would think.

    As for lodging, I would "rough it" most nights, setting up a tent in a private area, such as a forest. The one caveat is, depending on where you are in the country, there are not too many places you can set up a tent without being on someone else's/a business's property. If I set up tent in a public property like a park, then I'd be asking for police/vandals. Do most of you touring cyclists "rough it" whenever you can?

    No, I do not have a job. But one reason for doing this trip is, you never know what contacts and potential employers I could meet by going around the country on bicycle! I HAVE TO get out of my parents' house. My Dad is recovering from cancer surgery and there's just not enough space. I'm tired of my neighbors as well. (At least on a bike tour, my "neighbors" would change every day.) 29 going on 30 is MUCH too old to be living at home. Many guys my age have a job, car, house or apartment, and oftentimes, a WIFE AND KIDS. Heck, my friend's daughter is almost two years old! I'm a guy who WANTS kids, but just can't find Ms. Right. Again, I just might find that Ms. Right on a bike tour! The point is, I can't take my parents' house anymore. I'm ridden in all types of weather (including downspours, snow, sleet, freezing cold, and boiling heat) on probably all types of terrain. I've taken day trips of 30-50 miles. So no naysayers please.

    The point of this thread is to emphasize that the best things in life are indeed free, and that should hold true for a bike tour. If anyone agrees, feel free to post.
    Don't be afraid of dumpster diving. Not only can you find things to eat but they are also places to sleep. Close the lid and you can keep the rain off. Just don't sleep in them the night before they are due to be emptied. That doesn't usually end well.

    If you need food just go into any restaurant along the way, they'll most likely be delighted to have a touring cyclist eating at their establishment. Sometimes they'll let you eat for free. Just make sure you check who is paying first, because it's embarrassing if you get the bill for the lobster and champagne dinner you ordered because you thought it was on the house.

    Likewise after you've been on the road for a few weeks you'll be irresistable to any woman between the ages of about 16 and 60. The biggest problem you'll have is beating them off as they lust after you wherever you go. If you're lucky you can use them to solve the other two problems, and get them to feed you and give you some shelter for the night. Sure, you'll leave them heartbroken when you leave in the morning and never call but hey, they'll be used to it. It's part of the process of pursuing someone else's wanderlust.

    It's also highly likely that one of the captains of industry will pull alongside you while you're chewing up the miles in the back end of nowhere and offer you a job. You won't need any relevant experience, the fact you're a fellow cyclist is all it takes to land that perfect job. Since your new employer will understand the joys of cycling they'll be willing to give you as much time off (on full pay) to pursue your passion. Since they will be rich, once you've met up with them they can pay your food and lodging costs for the time you ride together.

    So since you didn't want any naysayers I think it's pretty clear that going on a long bike tour without any money is just the thing to do for right now.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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