Some time ago, I read an article about cycling myths regarding bicycle trips in a cycling magazine; I will be glad to share with you the most interesting points of this article, along with my mixed thoughts…
What triggered this publication was an email sent to this magazine by Chris from Vermont; …he wrote, “I would really love to do what you are doing, but in my age, it’s just impossible”…
We receive a lot of this kind of messages via email, mentioned the editor. Many people state in writing, that they would like to fulfil their dream, even once in their lifetime, to go on a bicycle trip, but they cannot make this decision due to many and various reasons.
I don’t know how old Chris from Vermont is. Perhaps, he is above 90. Maybe he is indeed too old to go on a long-distance bicycle trip. It’s most likely, though, that he thinks that he is too old, because he is influenced by a myth about cycling…
So, in the following paragraphs I quote my 5 most favourite myths that I have read.
French pensioners, Andre and Danelle, are travelling in South America, while camping and driving through developing countries, like Peru and Bolivia…
Myth 1: Distant and adventurous trips by bicycle in foreign countries are only for young people.
I think, we all have met older people cycling throughout Europe. Pedalling for 40–50 km, then a stop for a relaxing meal and then search for a B&B for the night. A similar and recent experience of mine was the arrival of my favourite aunt from the Netherlands to Ioannina. Trudi travelled all by herself to our country, and the plan was to accompany her until Thessaloniki, where she would stay and rest for a few days before she could return…
Other pensioners made a trip to Third World countries and camped in wild nature. During the first days, they managed to complete distances of 100+ km… “This is not possible!”, a lot of people would say.
Myth 2: We need to be super fit to accomplish a bicycle trip.
Nothing could be further from the truth. A good lung function is all we need for a trip. The beauty of cycling is that we can start slowly and build our fitness gradually. There is no need to be capable of cycling 100 kilometres on your first day. As a matter of fact, most of us could easily cycle about 60 kilometres per day.
Myth 3: Touring bicycles require a significant investment in equipment.
Nah, I would say that this is not exactly true. How many times haven’t we seen travelling cyclists, looking more like homeless people rather than serious cyclists.
Some take it to extremes, travelling by mountain bikes of the ’80s, and instead of the elegant appearance of Ortlieb bike bags, they have a bag strapped on the rear rack.
It is easy to fall victims to the advertising campaign of marketing about high‑tech equipment. I admire the last model of Specialized, but I also like my durable and humble IDEAL MULTIGO. And when it rains, I feel grateful about my waterproof bags.
Could we, however, travel around the world without expensive equipment? Yes!! and I can bet on that…
Μyth 4: A big tour covering long distances by bicycle is very expensive.
If you are not willing to walk, a Touring bicycle is the ultimate cheap way to travel, … for sure. I realized this myself, when going on my short tours. No fuel, just bicycle chain lubricant, and carrying only whatever is necessary. I have heard that once a cyclist from Thessaloniki travelled around the country with just three hundred euros!!
For sure, if you are frugal and you don’t mind camping and preparing your meal by yourself, then you can make it very cheap. No doubt!!
Μyth 5: You need to be “tough” for a bicycle tour.
I would like to write so many things about how much we, cyclists, suffer during our bicycle trips. We whimper about weather adversities. We grouse about steep mountainous passes and frown when it takes a long time to find water to drink… Definitely not, I don’t think we are tough guys, we just want to do this very much.
Cycling can be as comfortable, as you want it exactly to be. If you have a generous budget, there are a lot of companies, such as ours…, that can organize a trip for you, and even take care of your luggage transportation from one destination to the next.
I have heard, that Southeast Asia is a popular destination for touring bicycle, because the distances are short, the food is delicious, and towns with comfortable guest houses are so close to each other, that carrying a tent is optional. However, our country can also offer fine trip opportunities!
If you are not too proud, you can jump in a passing truck, sparing yourself part of a, maybe, boring route, and gaining energy; pain is, almost always, optional, and it doesn’t matter in which part of the world you will choose to travel.
One thing is for sure, though, try it, if you have the time and mood… Without any hesitation, organize a bicycle trip, with friends or by yourself, short or long, go around your prefecture, or around the whole world, for three days or for may years; it doesn’t matter whether your are young or old, or whatever the others comment about you, or if your bicycle is cheap… the only thing that matters is to enjoy the trip!
Because, after all, it’s better to regret what we have done than what we never dared!!