People who choose to go on a bicycle vacation aren’t always uber cyclists. There are a lot of benefits to a cycling vacation beyond the exercise you get. If you have any sense of wanting to learn about the area you’ve chosen to vacation in, a bicycle vacation will satisfy that curiosity in a way that no other mode of transportation can match. You tend to notice sites that would have otherwise been overlooked, and if you see places where you want to stop and take a closer look, it’s easy to do that on a bicycle, whereas in a car you may have driven on by the time you realize what you’re passing, if you see it at all.
Top 3 reasons people choose to go on a bicycle vacation
1. Cycling tends to bring you closer to the local culture
When you’re on a bicycle, people will naturally see you as more approachable and open up to you in a more relaxed way. When we stop somewhere on bicycle vacation, people are always curious as to who we are, where we’re from, where we’re headed, etc. Often times people will share memories of their first bike, or times when they had a fun experience on a bicycle trip, even if it was a short ride around the corner. When you meet someone else who likes cycling, it’s an instant connection and you can end up having a great conversation with someone who knows all the best local places to eat, see, visit, etc.
2. Bicycle vacations bring traveling companions closer
When you take a bicycle vacation you can’t help but get closer to those you are cycling with. Even if you know people before the trip, the shared experiences and challenges inherent on a bicycle vacation will deepen those connections. On a multi day custom tour we organized recently, one of the cyclists commented how much closer she felt to the people in the group after the second day. She had only known a few of her fellow cyclists before the trip, but that particular day had ridden with a couple different people and found herself in heartfelt conversations – getting to know these new friends in a way that is often illusive in everyday settings. As a couple, we’ve created some of our greatest memories on our bicycle vacations – there’s little distraction from busy attractions or tourist traps, so we tend to have more conversations about both the deep and the silly.
Food is generally a big part of any vacation and a huge benefit of a bicycle vacation is you can eat pretty much anything and as much as you want because you’ve burned so many calories. We will order things we wouldn’t dream of eating on a typical day – like deep fried Moon Pie w/ banana ice cream and caramel topping we had once while riding in southeast. You need the calories when you’re cycling for several hours a day, even if it’s at a slow, relaxed pace. And on a bicycle vacation it’s easy to stop by local produce stands or food vendors as you’re riding by. The snacks you take with you can be pretty yummy as well. Some of the favorites at lunch stops we’ve organized for our custom tours have included the typical PB&Js (SO refreshing after a ride!), Nutella and bananas, aged gouda on asian pears, cherries in a balsamic reduction on crackers, hard salami and brie. One of our post-ride favorites is a plate of sweet potato fries – sometimes we’ll google ahead to find a place that sells them!
Of course these are only some of the benefits of choosing a bicycle vacation. There’s also the sense of accomplishment of reaching the bed and breakfast, hotel, or campground after powering yourself a certain distance; the ability to stop and take pictures of easily overlooked sights; the support and encouragement you provide each other as you make it up that last hill. A heightened sense of appreciation is a common experience that tends to last weeks after the cycling vacation is over – even after you return to the office and get caught up on email.