“The first rule of the cycletouring club is no taking buses”; James (big-sur.co.uk), another fellow cycle tourist we had met in Colombia, and I joked about this over a good breakfast and coffee one morning …
For whatever reason, maybe with the global age of internet, has allowed for this undertone of what cycle touring is ‘really about’.
Like there is some weird club amongst cycle tourers making the rules.
The purist ‘rules’ like:
- – no buses;
- – keeping a dirt tight budget;
- – cycle all the way;
- – no going home …
… and what ever other constraint you’d like to add.
Lately we’ve been struggling with being on the road 24/7 even though, yes we went home for Christmas and yes, Mike returned to work last summer while I stayed in Honduras to do my dive master, and then went home for a month.
Recently, Amaya Willams of WorldBiking.info wrote about how constant changing scenery and places gets common place and tiring and that it’s essential taking time off the bikes to renew the appreciation of touring. Something I think all cycle tourists, or travelers for that matter can relate to.
All in all, it’s about finding balance and what works for you. Truth is, it’s your trip and it’s whatever you want it to be. Doesn’t make you any less hardcore, or not a ‘true’ cycle tourist. There’s honestly just different ways to go about it. None are the ultimate ‘right’ way.
That being said we’ve let our trip unfold and morph with our needs and ideas at the time. What started out as a “we’re leaving for 5 straight years to cycle the world” has now changed, we have the opportunity to go home and work for the summers therefore we’ll cycle tour just over half the year and work the rest.
This, we’re finding out is a balance that works for us. Traveling with anyone 24/7 is filled with its own challenges beyond those of the tour itself. Mike and I like having our own separation and our own activities. Going home for the summers gives us an opportunity to see family and friends. This balance, we find, gives us a chance to stay connected to our family and friends, allows us to use our brains in jobs we enjoy, do some of the activities that we can’t enjoy on the road like going to the gym, swimming, walks in Edmonton’s beautiful river valley, and take in some amazing summer festivals!
So while I write this, our bikes are packed away in Lima, Perú and bags stored … we’ve arrived home in Edmonton where the snow has melted, the sun is shining and the birds are returning. We’re headed out for a week in the mountains with Mike’s parents to go camping where campfires, microbrews, Canadian wine, cedar planked salmon and free range meat will be enjoyed while hiking, mountain biking, story sharing and general exploration of our own backyard will be enjoyed before we break into a busy summer field season.
The time off the tour will give us a chance to catch up on stories and get excited for the road again where we plan on picking up where we left off hitting the Cordillera Blanca in Perú.
In the mean time, Happy Summer everyone!