What the… And Why???

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!

Buon appetito!



15 thoughts on “What the… And Why???”

  1. What a great series of adventures — large and small — you’re both about to have. And I love the serendipity of the whole thing — just riding the bike across the incredibly beautiful and diverse continent of Europe. I will follow your travels all the way. When you get to northern Italy, I can send along names and addresses (or Facebook pages) of people who might well like to host you for a day or night….Love the name, Team Lumaca!

  2. Julie, If you are going to be near Roccasecca send me an email. You and Mark can stay with us. Hope you remember us? Your kindness to us while we were in Sacramento has never been forgotten. Please do let us know if you are near us! And good luck on this marvellous adventure. Colin and I have a dream of travelling from East Coast to West Coast in the USA. When he retires in two years’ time these two oldies might well take that trip. But, good luck with yours!

    1. Of course we remember you and Colin! You should definitely make the trip across the US. There is soooo much to see! We will definitely reach out to you if we go near Roccasecca! Thanks for the offer to host us!

  3. Jealousy does not describe the combination of envy and joy (is there a word for that) felt by your words of the “why” above. Know you will have the karma of the universe and look forward to your posts.

  4. Have a great trip! We are both with the Bike Hikers the Sacramento, and regret we never had a chance to talk to you too much. We have done a lot of self supported touring, mostly in North America, and always wanted to do a little more in Europe. Therefore, we are envious! I will look at your route and see if we know anybody along the way 🙂 we will be following your blog!
    Have a great journey!

    Peggy and Jerry

    1. Thanks! Other than the vague notion of riding from France to Denmark and then back down to Italy, we don’t have an established route in mind. We’re going to let whim and opportunity be our guides. So please forward on any contacts. We will likely decide our route, in part, based on the opportunities we have to stay with locals and to experience the world through their eyes!

  5. Hallo Julie and Mark,
    how are you and where are you at the moment?
    Did you enjoy Duesseldorf and Cologne?
    Good Luck.

    Bernd & Sandra

    1. The more time we spend on our trip, the more we appreciate open spaces and the less big cities appeal to us. So, I must admit that neither Dusseldorf nor Cologne were our favorites. So, we are looking forward to visiting less industrial parts of Germany and Switzerland. Tomorrow we continue south on the Rhine to Bonn. Thanks again for hosting us in Duisburg. While the city may not be the most beautiful, we’ve found Duisburgers to be the most spontaneously warm and friendly people we’ve met so far!

  6. Hello my Californian friends. I wish you the best on the rest of your trip.
    What a lovely blog. Im looking forward to the photos from your pilgrimage.

    1. Hi Anne! It was wonderful meeting you on the Via Francigena. We’re home now, but we still have 4000+ photos to sort through! Once we do, we’ll post the best ones on the blog, so stay tuned!

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