Bicycles are an affordable way to see the world in an up close and personal way. Syndicated television personality Judge Alex E. Ferrer agrees, pointing to wildlife spotting on a bike ride through Shark Valley in Everglades National Park as a favorite way to get back to nature while affordably enjoying Miami.
Nancy Sathre-Vogel and her husband John (www.familyonbikes.org) took things to the next level when they embarked on a multi-year journey with their twin boys to ride the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina. She gave us a few minutes of her time a while back, during a brief layover in the Peruvian Andes. She had lots to say about things to consider on your own bicycle touring adventure. (See also: World Class Walking Tours)
Logistics: Decide what you’re going to carry and how you’re going to carry it. Sathre-Vogel is a fan of side panniers for storage, while her husband prefers the tow-behind trailer. Turns out, they need both for things like spare parts, home-schooling supplies and all-weather gear.
Planning: To cross the Darien Gap – a stretch between Panama and Columbia with no road – the Vogels made arrangements to strap their bikes to the front of a sail boat and spent five days chillaxing on the water making their way to Columbia. In Peru, the family had to choose between a flat coastal route with strong daily headwinds and desert, or the stunning mountain route with scenery and interaction with the local people. They chose the latter, but paid the price with brutal climbs.
City tours: Travel writer Shelley Seale, author of Insider’s Guide to Seattle, recommends scoring a free copy of the city’s bicycling guide – see www.seattle.gov for details – for frugal guidance on how to enjoy Seattle affordably on two wheels. Seale points to Seattle’s two-hundred seventy miles of bike trails, bike rack-equipped city buses, and the bicycle-friendly ferries and streetcars as evidence of just how bike tourist friendly the city is. Her overall top tip? Bikestation.com. This site lists bike-transit stations around the United States where you can have secure parking for your bike while out and about seeing the sites.
Packing: Travelingringo.com’s Glen Abbott knows bike touring from a motorized perspective. He lives and writes motorcycle travel. According to Abbott, packing the right supplies is critical. In addition to a camera, two lenses and a portable computer to coordinate travel photography and content development, he preaches packing light with regards to wardrobe items to make room for things like weather gear such as a breathable rain suit and warm gloves. But he does make room for one comfy outfit to change into at the end of the day, along with a pair of tennis shoes.
Photo Credit: Pictures of Travel Places