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Do you ever get lonely on a bike tour? Do you wish you had other people to share the experience with?
You are not alone! This is one of the most common questions I get asked when I explain that I’ve spent the last 18 years cycling around the world by myself.
In this video you’ll discover some of the things you can do to combat loneliness on your bicycle tours.
Learn more at: www.bicycletouringpro.com/freecourse
#bicycletouringpro #cycling #biketravel #darrenalff #biketouring #adventurecycling
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Hi Darren. Like you I like to be alone. Especially while riding the bicycle it is such an advantage to have nobody to care about. Choose your own speed, change your route, stop to watch something, whenever you want to. That is what I like. But I know people are not all the same 😊
Very well explained. Even on the best trips with a group of like minded people on a bike tour I still have a sense of being a little bit restricted. The worst case feeling would be if i felt i was holding someone back by going too slow.
thanks for the good information.
Agree, it is much easier and safer to tour alone, great video. E.g., I crossed Southern Tier, started with five riders from ACA "Companions Wanted" blog. All five riders were at different levels of equipment, fitness, and goals. This created stress in the group and we all finished alone. One rider had wrong bike, wrong gearing, too much camping gear. Another rider super fast, wanted to cover 100 miles per day, and start at 5am. Next rider super slow, but experienced, liked to enjoy the scenery and stop in towns. The most inexperienced rider tried to keep up with the fastest rider often getting overwhelmed and dropped mid-day. Myself experienced, steady, mix of camp and hotel, third time crossing the U.S. got stressed out and finished alone. I have met people when touring and they wondered about riding solo, and danger. When cycling solo it is safe. I have crossed U.S. three times. Only thing I would qualify is cross the Northern Tier, not the South. And once you get east near the MS River try to stay away from traffic. In the southeast, LA, AL, FL drivers don' t like cyclists on their roads, and can be aggressive, plus the roads are narrow and many have rumble strips. The Southern Tier is the shortest ACA route, but the most dangerous route across. Lastly, don't be wedded to ACA maps (will never buy them again). Google Maps, bicycle routing, will map you often on safer roads to avoid drivers. ACA maps riders near services and towns, often on dangerous roads. Happy trails!
I'm right there with you….from a great distance of course.
Thank you Darren.
Right On Darren! I'm a healthy 82 year old man, and have spent much of my life alone. I've lived for 43 years alone (aside from wonderful animal companions–big dogs!), in a remote section of Southern California's Mojave Desert. I've never needed other people around me, and hope that my little area of the Mojave will stay people free for the last remaining years of my life.. How sweet it is to be able to walk my dogs in the desert without making them wear leashes, and to not be interrupted in my thoughts by neighbors.
funny, just talked about this. You don't have to be a 'loner' to enjoy travelling by yourself. There are people (I) who cannot imagine how anyone could not feel ok with one's own company. I told my friend today, that I have ideas and plans and I'll offer for someone to come along but I'm not gonna wait around or not do something because people won't join. Travelling alone, has so many advantages as you said and because you're alone, you meet so many people so easily, especially locals. I love it, and besides that, riding or hiking alone can turn into a sort of meditation when you're alone and feels really great!
You're right about all the advantages when bike riding/traveling alone. However, I travel with my dog on my bike. She comes with me wherever I may go on the bike even along with the camping (which she also likes). Dogs make great traveling companions. They can bike ride along with either a pet trailer (bigger or more than one small dog), to front handlebar baskets, or by my type; a buddyrider dog bicycle seat that is attached to the bicycle's seat post and the weight of the seat and dog is within the center gravity of the bike. So, I guess I'm not really alone with my dog. 🙂
The thing is, many times when you wait onto bicycle touring with somebody, you never really go far! Different people have different ambitions and of course different capabilities.
But Darren I've been thinking! Can we not join hands as lovers of bicycle touring in the different countries we live in, and create websites with simple databases where people can enter their planned journeys and times when to do it, so that when another person plans his journey, he/she can find possible tourist falling in the same schedule. Then they contact each other and make confirmations. A companion doesn't necessarily need to do the exact route you're doing, one may have different companions on different parts of his/her route, and sometimes maybe even ride alone on some parts.
I mean, the world is turning away from fossil fuels and bicycle touring could turn out to be of great interest to many, and through these websites we could encourage those people who fear riding alone. The sites could work locally, nationally and internationally linking different people together.
Just an idea …wondering what you think about it?!
It's good to be out on the road – going one knows not where. Not on fat tyres though.
This year I was riding from Seattle to Miami and crossed the country over the traditional Transam route. I started my bicycle tour alone in expectation to find a cycle buddy on the road by accident very soon. But in the first month there was no one to ride alongside with, so I got used to the solo riding adventure and didn´t want a cycle buddy anymore. By accident I had found a cycle buddy in Kansas, and we both got along very well together, never had any tensions, if someone wanted to be alone, he could rode alone, and we both met up again at our next campsite. In Virgina we had to split, because his Visa was expired. The solo riding wasn´t the problem after that, but the stealth camping wasn´t really fun anymore. It felt more boring and sometime a little creepy.
So after experienced both, I would recommend to ride with a buddy, presupposed you get along with him very easy.
Everything is a lot more fun when shared with others, even when it'sjust one other person.
Very enlightening. Thanks for the info.
Sometimes when insisting on not being alone may cause either delay or even cancel your plans
Being alone on a bike can be awesome. It's just you and the road, and oftentimes you can find yourself thinking about your life and who you are. It's almost therapeutic, especially when you have all these things going on in your normal every day hustle and bustle
Darren. Great perspective! I am 55, and as I have gotten older, I am more and more content when I keep my world small. I am not “anti-social”, and I do love interacting with people, but I don’t NEED to do so, to be happy. My wife and I are so compatible, and we do everything together…and she is a stud on the bike…and we talk often about going it alone. You have inspired us to take real biking tours, beyond our weekly ride to a new place for breakfast on Saturday/Sunday. We often go 25-30 miles round trip, but we always come home. But that is going to change, and we have you to thank for that!
Yes. You are very right! It is fun to explore nature and places without pressure from someone else. You can plan to meet for a stop somewhere exchange ideas etc. Nature Cycling is the most fun experience ever!
Thans you for your video
I want to try the trip alone
Hi Ive just watched your Equator & Columbian Tour and am totally transfixed. I love your videos, they are giving me the opportunity to see parts of the world that I will probably never go to, in a mode of transport I enjoy using. I would never pass a negative comment on your content and neither should anyone watching. With your health problems I feel very inspired and humble. Please keep posting, in your very watchable way, as it's the best I've seen on You Tube. Kimberley (UK)
The only default when you are alone is when you are lost or you don't support a part of your bycicle trip because of dangerous road or losing of time because of very bad bycicle way for example … I experiment germany, it was really fun but i go back to home earlier because i was alone in front of problems and i was very afraid … So yes being alone is a big advantage but when you need advices it makes things very difficult !
I have a pedal assist. That in and of itself becomes a solo tour. Tons of factors including speed, logistics of stops… to name just two. Of finding another tourist with the same set up to match expectations is crucial and rare.
Hope to be alone and start alone, but always pick up companion on the road or be pick up, it seems i am a easy guy😱
Don't listen to these pathetic people Darren, who say they can't bare to be alone. I was married for 25 years, and it totally sucked. Women DO NOT make good companions. Believe me you are better off being alone. People that criticize you are just jealous. I am now learning to be alone, and I absolutely love it. I will NEVER look to a woman for companionship EVER again. Women are NEVER happy, and they're goal in life is to ruin your day and bring you down to their level. Again, don't feel bad Darren; you are not missing anything….
Dear Darren, I've seen a lot of your videos. You were speaking of disconnectig in a post from Sweden. I think you are connecting to earth, when you are travelling. The same with lonelyness in this post. We are not loneley in nature, because we are connected to nature. I love your observations, they become a lot clearer, when we are really out! You bikepackers have a monkish attitute like artists – deeply truth-seekers. All best wishes to you!
Was this in a go pro Darren?
Great video! Just started following your podcast. Thanks for all of you time and knowledge!
I just love touring on my own. I wouldn't be opposed to traveling with someone else, but I don't know if I could do it for a long time.
You’re so dawm right bro
I traveled to Georgia 🇬🇪 for 20 days by my self and I discovered many good things and I honor to bicycle the world with you