We meet and talk to a lot of people on the road and we get a range of responses to our new life of bicycle touring.
The reactions fall on the gamut from,
“You guys are crazy, I would never want to do what you are doing” to “Wow, you’re so lucky, I wish I could do this”
To address the later comment and the desirability of bicycle touring in general, I offer a few points of clarification. The idea is romantic but the reality is far different.
Weather and Landscape
It an idyllic world, bicycling would only involve downhill runs with a tailwind in temperate weather. Apparently, we’re doing things all wrong. We have had more days with headwinds that not. Our route (improvised and planned) has been anything but level.
Part of the daily ritual is slathering on sunscreen. We spend 10+ hours in the sun a day. Sunscreen is great and we highly recommend it. The downside is that it feels a little icky, sticky, or slimy depending on the level of sweating going on at the time. Additionally, it attracts dust, dirt, sand and miscellaneous crud that the wind decides to blow by us.
“Wow, you guys must have so much time to sightsee, read books, etc.”
We see a lot of landscape…slowly,…an…inch…at…a…time. Our “free” time consists of a lot of aerobics.
Try this experiment at home to simulate riding a bike for five to seven hours (actual on the bike time): Pop in your favorite Richard Simmons “Sweating to the Oldies” video on Beta-max. Actively participate in the hour long video 5 to 7 times in a row. Reapply sunscreen while the video rewinds and roll around on your carpet or the driveway before starting another workout session. If you haven’t picked up at least this much debris, reapply sunscreen, re-roll on the ground and start sweating to the oldies, again.
Afterwards, don’t shower or bathe, go make your bed, cook dinner, write a journal entry and enjoy the rest of your free time.
Food and drink
The distances between towns, ranches, etc. can be extreme out west. It is not unusual to go over 80 miles (130km) without any type of services (water, food, etc.). Gas station convenience stores are sometimes the only food options, reinforcing the term food desert.
Water is the most critical concern. In the long stretches of nothing we carry a lot of water, over 10 liters (2.6 gallons) per person per day. To get a feel for that, grab three gallons of milk, strap them to your body and walk around all day while singing “Milkshake.” Feel free to climb stairs.
It’s amazing what you guys are doing
There is no way we could do this trip alone. We have an incredible amount of support and recognition for all those that have had a hand in our adventure is long overdue. The following is an incomplete list:
Wander Wheels Would Like to Thank …
- Our parents
- Ron for handling the mail
- Tony for managing our rental property
- Mike for the NAS box support and general technical stuff
- Barney for the bearing grease, the big bag of peanut and pretzel gorp and our first blog link
- Our warmshowers.org hosts to date: David, John & Donetta, Charles & Mari
- Random encounter hosts: Wimberly EMS, Cril, Ed & Cathy
- Friends & Family hosts: Theresa & Austin, Rich, Pat & Monica, Eric, Anne
- Those that supplied us with food & drinks on the road: Mimi, Ron, Mike, Charlie
- Our bicycling companions: Rich, Elliot (Ron???, where are you Ron?)
- Those who bought us drinks: Tony, Mike, Random Harley riders
- Everyone that has participated in the Flat Fund
- Everyone that leaves comments, it provides the incentive to keep writing
- All the professional truck drivers who move waaaay over
- Everyone that has honked, waved or given us the “thumb’s up” in approval
- Anyone that has passed our website along to others
- All of our employees: the multiple Georges, Thomases, Abes, Alexanders, Andrews, Ulyesseses, Benjamins and, of course, Sacagaweas
- And you, for sticking with us