Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Why I decided to travel by bike (and why you should too)

One of the most common questions I get is "Why did you decide to do this trip on your bike?"
Well the truth is, I didn't, really. It just happened. I figured the stretch from Salzburg to Lake Garda through the alps and Dolomites would be fantastic on bike because it's scenic (obviously) and I wanted to camp. I wasn't sure what I would do after, once we arrived at Lake Garda. Then my trusty Poopichein told me Dr. Leslie had suggested Croatia for its islands and cheap costs. And so we hopped on a train to Croatia. Thankyou Dr Leslie for inspiring arguably the greatest trip I've ever done!! (And it's still not over)
Here's why:

1. Travelling by bike is slow. Sure, you can't see as many countries, but you see a lot more of the one you're in. You take your time, you take it all in. I only realized this when I spoke to other travellers who transfer from city to city via bus. They never get the small countryside village or mountain pass experience. And let me tell you, they're some of my most cherished moments!

2. People love cyclists. Not a day goes by where I don't get a honk and a wave/ thumbs up from a passing vehicle. At least 5 times. Plus, it gives you that extra sympathy card...

3. It's hard to keep up a healthy lifestyle while travelling. There's just so much great food that you HAVE to try and doing core in a crowded dorm room... Travelling by bike has given me guiltless pleasure as I devour heaps of pasta, pizza, burek, gelato, ćevapi...

4. It's Eco friendly!! No emissions!!

5. You have a lot of freedom. No waiting for (or more often, if you're me, sprinting to catch) the bus/train. It's relaxed and stress free. (Most of the time...)

6. It's rewarding. Especially mountain passes with stunning views when you (finally) approach the sign marking the beginning of a wicked awesome decent. It also makes you appreciate your dorm room bed a little more.

7. You're closer and more connected to the locals. Here in Albania, everyone I pass says hello, or at the very least, gives me a smile. My favourite is the kids heading home from school who get really excited and nudge their friends and point at me, eyes sparkling with wonderment.

8. And a good old cliché to finish it off: you learn a lot about yourself. After hours and hours of riding with you and your thoughts, you'll probably discover a thing or two. For example, I am not a machine. (4000m of elevation gain through a basically uninhabited national park with only a bag of granola is not super realistic.)

Now hop on your bike and go exploring!!

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