Bicycle Tourist rides downhill on the shoulder of 4-lane highway with mountains in the distance

What is Bicycle Touring?

Bicycle touring comes in many shapes and sizes. There is no one definition of touring. Bicycle touring is simply riding your bicycle. Tours typically include an overnight stay, whether it is camping or in a hotel. Many tourists carry supplies with them, either in panniers (saddlebags) attached to the bicycle, or in a trailer. Or their gear may be carried by a support vehicle. Regardless, the only common factor for bicycle touring is a bicycle. Pretty much anything else goes.

Touring is about getting out on the road and seeing the world from the saddle of your bicycle. It is about soaking in the sunshine, having enough time to enjoy the scenery and truly experiencing the power required to propel yourself around this world. You tend to spend more time climbing hills than anything else but when you get those long smooth downgrades good luck wiping that grin off your face.

Hopefully you are picturing the beauty of this endeavor and beginning to think that you can do it (because you can!). Now you need to decide which type of tour is right for you. Consider this:

  • How much money can you budget for this?
  • How much weight are you willing to carry? How much weight can your bicycle SAFELY carry?
  • What do you REALLY need to be comfortable riding a long distance over multiple days?
  • How much time do you have?
  • How far do you want to go?

But the most important question is how soon can you leave? Because, seriously, there are very few places that are off limits to travel by bicycle. And once you’ve been out on a bicycle tour and experienced the complete freedom and independence of the open road, you won’t want to stop.

Published by

Pam Emerson

is an avid bicycle tourist who enjoys sharing her love for bicycling with all she meets.

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