Ever though about touring by bicycle? It can be one of the most rewarding trips you've ever taken. Read on...

Expose Yourself on Vacation

NO, not like that! I'm talking about immersing yourself in another place, another culture: exposing yourself to the real world that's out there. I'm talking about inhabiting the landscape, not just driving by and taking a picture of it.

There is only one good way to do so -- and that's to leave your car (minvan, SUV, Hummer) behind. (And with gas prices the way they are, who can complain about that?) Travel at a snail's pace -- bicycle, walk, ride a horse, take a riding lawnmower, roller-blade, pogo stick -- take your choice!

You'll be amazed at what you find -- and who you meet. People who would never bother to meet another customer who only stopped in their town to fill their gas tank, will spring forth with questions about your journey. You'll be the talk of the town -- after you've stopped other conversations in their tracks.

The Voice of Experience

Who am I to preach about touring? Well, let's see. In 1993 and 1994, my wife and I spent a 12-month honeymoon on the road (with a 6-month winter break), walking from Maine to Oregon, bagging four tons of litter along the way. That tale is told in my first book, Underwear by the Roadside, available on my books page or from Amazon.com. I followed that trip four years later with a week-long litterwalk near home in Colorado.

Ahh, but what about biking? It's a much faster way to travel. When the road called again, I plotted out a return trip across the continent on two wheels. For two-three weeks each spring 2002-2004, I biked from Oregon to Denver to Chicago to Rhode Island. Along the way, I started most weekdays speaking at a local school.

A word of warning: those trips can be addictive! Sometimes, you can never get enough of a good thing. Thus, after a one-year break, I returned to the road, riding Baltimore-to-Detroit (via Williamsburg and Richmond VA and southern WV) in 2006, and Detroit-to-Chicago via the Upper Peninsula in 2007 - call them the meander tours.

My 2002-04 bike rides, along with the min-Litterwalk, an Olympic Torch run, and a Face of America ride, are all described in the book, WOW! What a Ride. You can also read the blogs from my Great West Bike Tour, the Heart of the Country Tour, the NorthEast Two-Wheel Tour, the Horseshoe Tour, and the Great Lakes Tour. Then in July 2007, I took part in the infamous RAGBRAI. (Then, breaking from the 2-wheel grind, my wife and I had perhaps the most incredible vacation ever: I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (over 19,300' - the world's tallest freestanding mountain), and my wife and I took a safari through the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, and other parks.)

Now I can ponder the question a 4th-grade girl asked me during my Michigan tour: How many more years will I do this?

The web contains a plethora of sites from other people who've discovered the joys of self-powered travel. Here is a sampling...


Tim and Cindie sold everything they owned in March 2002, bought bicycles, and set off to see the world. They have been on the road for over five years, and are now in Australia. Check out their story!

Steven D Williams, Adventure Cyclist, gives public talks about his 120,000 bicycling miles in 70 countries.

Click here to read about Christopher and Peter, who toured widely in the world 2004/2005, riding recumbents as they spread the word about sustainable development.

Two Germans wandering the world on their mountain bikes (and some trekking). Not a single long trip, but numerous expeditions 1992-2005 - check out the Mountainbike Expedition Team.

Alastair Humphreys has cycled Round the World by Bike to raise funds for Hope and Homes for Children.

Their one-year group tour cycling the world is long over, but you can still read her travelogue.

A three-year trip by Scott Stoll ended in 2004, but his story is still on the web.

Heinz Stucke has been cycling round-the world nonstop since 1962. His story is fascinating! Another article also talks of him.

So you want to take a long trip now? BikeTrip.org is a fanstastic resource, with articles, forums, galleries, trips, books, shops, and links. Check them out!

Another link passed along by a visitor: The website run by lawyer Michael Pines contains links to information regarding bicycle travel in 25 European countries.


Steven Newman walked around the world 1983-87. His site features the letters he wrote while on the road, 22 years ago. Check out his site!

Perhaps the most famous walker was Peter Jenkins, who wrote A Walk Across America. He returned to the road in February 2005, to see how America has changed.

Joe Hurley, a retired newspaper reporter from Connecticut, spent much of 2005 walking coast-to-coast along US6, discovering America. Visit his website to read about his trip.

Dave Kunst is recognized as the first man to walk around the world - and he helped inspire my first trip. Check out his web site!

Karl Bushby is attempting to do what no one has done before - walk around the world without leaving the ground. He started in South America, walked to Alaska and crossed over the frozen Bering Sea to Russia. Read more here!

Gary 'Walkingman' Hause has been walking around the world since 1997, for "for fun, adventure, exercise, and a cheap way to see the world". Visit his site, Walkingman.org.

Arthur Blessit found his calling: carrying a cross around the world, witnessing for Jesus. Since 1969, he has logged over 37,000 miles and crossed all seven continents. Find out more at blessit.com.