So many people ask us how we could possibly aspire to live off our bicycles for 6+ months. Here is Julie’s answer:
My curiosity was first piqued over a decade ago by the book “Over the Hills” by David Lamb: a middle-aged man with no physical training gets on a bike and rides east to west across America. I had no idea such a thing could be done by mere mortals! And so a seed was planted.
I’ve fantasized about touring for years, secretly harboring the dream of traversing the continent myself one day. But why? The most obvious reason is because it’s such a kick-ass thing to do! Imagine being able to nonchalantly drop in conversation that you rode a bicycle all the way across a continent! The same could be said for walking on the moon or inventing something really cool or making the cover of a national magazine.
But to go from fantasyland to planning stages means the dream has to hold more than the allure of shock and awe. So what is it for me? In no particular order, they are:
Physical Challenge: To prove to myself that I’m not the weenie I think (or I think everybody else thinks) I am.
Mental Toughness: To see if I’m tough enough to withstand the deprivations of living month after month with only what I can carry on a bicycle.
Creativity: Will I figure out solutions to get myself out of all the unpredictable jams I will predictably get myself into?
Faith: Nearly every cycle touring blog I read mentions, in one form or another, the serendipity of the Adventure Gods providing. As a woman of science, I have a very hard time believing in anything more than random chance. I’d like to see if a tour of this magnitude changes my perspective.
Simplicity: To reduce life to eating, sleeping, and riding.
Love: What an amazing adventure to share with my wonderful husband. We survived a major kitchen remodel (we did the work ourselves) – which they say will drive a couple to divorce. Let’s see if we can survive a long distance cycle tour!
Culture: To meet people from different lands with different perspectives on the world. I love to travel, and despite being an introvert, meeting the locals is the best part.
Food: Last, but certainly not least, to eat and eat and eat. What a marvel to eat without caring one whit about the carbs I’m cramming in my face. (Or, at least this is what I’m telling myself. Deep in my heart of hearts, I know I won’t be able to eat everything I want with impunity.)
It is that last bit, the food, that made me hunger to cycle across Europe. Too many blogs of too many cyclists eating crap food while cycling across America, at times riding hundreds of miles between proper grocery stores in the Midwest. On the other hand, Europe is one giant picnic!