“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.” Muhammad Ali
This year, many ACTCers travel to far-flung places: Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, New Zealand, across the US, and our own Sierra to the Sea.
Bicycle traveling is perfect: it is fast enough to see the world, yet slow enough to meet the humanity. It is not uncommon for cyclo-tourists to get invited to dinner and perhaps a stay over by total strangers, receive advice for not-to-be-missed sites, good restaurants, concerts, or farmers markets, many of which cannot be found in guidebooks.
Beginners or even veteran cyclists often mistakenly think that they can’t do it. They are not fast enough. The rides are too hard. The trips are too expensive. Impossible — Not!
Speed is rarely a prerequisite to have an enjoyable tour. Ride at your own pace, stop to smell the roses, take videos and pictures, sample the local cuisine, and make a point not to go by a bakery without checking it out.
Flat rides are usually windy and hilly rides, well, hilly. They are especially taxing with extra weight of panniers, but smart cyclo-tourists keep the average daily mileage between 20-50 miles. If it is unusually hilly, make it even shorter and take rest days.
Rick Steves has a saying that, the more money one spends, the higher the wall surrounds oneself. Not many regular folks stay at 5-star hotels. It is counter-intuitive that less expensive trips, like many led by ACTC members, are the best, bar none.
Make your next vacation a bicycle tour – it is not impossible. Once you try it, you will never go back because when you travel by bicycle, the world is on your side.
Tony Le, ACTC President