I’m a planner. Not in the professional sense but more from a personality perspective. I’ve always found that one of the nicest and most juicy parts of an adventure is the research and the planning; when everything is still a possibility, an option, an idea. So it will come as no surprise that I have done some googling, been to the library and hunted around in a few book stores. I’ve been searching for information but also reassurance that I have not completely lost my marbles. Unfortunately, I have once again found myself in no man’s land, with very little found in the way of information or reassurance. Even though there appears to be various types of cycle travel, from ‘credit card’ cycling to ‘wild’ cycle touring, nothing quite fits with what I have in mind.
Most books describe tales of intrepid travels through inhospitable places armed only with the very bare essentials for life. In one case, the lady in question was armed only with a pistol and a spare pair of undies! In another, the intrepid traveller ran experiments in their back garden before they set off to see how long it took for their poo to decompose. I have come to the conclusion that one persons idea of the bare essentials for life can be very different to another persons idea of ‘essentials’. My list of essentials will include: a device for writing and blogging, comfortable sleeping equipment and the wherewithal for a good pot of tea.
Suggested cycle touring equipment lists always itemize various pieces of high tech cycling clothing in addition to other ‘essentials’ such as a shovel to deal with the aforementioned poo. My essentials will include clothing that doesn’t initiate that ‘togs … togs … undies’ scenario, or in this case ‘cyclist … cyclist … freak’, as you walk away from your bicycle.
To plan a cycle tour correctly, it is recommended that you find out your daily distance capability and then work out your route in detail according to this metric before you travel. Helpful guidance on ‘training’ for your cycle touring trip suggests cycling between 50k and 100k per day in the weeks leading up to ‘the off’ with several weekends of over 100k per day. During the trip, the emphasis seems to be on ‘eating’ kilometers rather than experiencing and enjoying the journey. The number of kilometers covered during each day is always diligently recorded in a score board fashion. Frustrations are discussed and reasons are provided if the distance completed is less than planned, as if this is somehow a failure on the part of the cycle tourer.
… I don’t think I’m going to be a ‘cycle tourer’.
Instead, I think I’ll be a ‘traveling cyclopolitan’. Traveling cyclopolitans use a bicycle to get between the places that they want to see, such as chateaux and idyllic historic villages. It isn’t a competition to see how many kilometers a cyclopolitan can cover and itineraries are flexible based on serendipity and surprise bits of gorgeousness. Clothing can be what ever the cyclopolitan wishes it to be and the poo shovel is not ‘essential’ due to regular stops at coffee shops and vineyards.
I’m still undecided about the pistol …