HOW TO BIKE TOUR SOLO
In 2010, web developer Judi Desire learned to ride a bike as an adult. Already a couchsurfing world traveler, Desire’s adventures suddenly turned to bike touring. Since then she’s ridden through South Africa, Spain, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Australia. Here, she shares her advice to start seeing the world on your own two-wheeled terms.
Design a Route by Its People F
I go where the wind blows, but always use Warm Showers to find hosts. That’s how I make my routes. If I see a host in the middle of nowhere, I think, “I should go visit that one.” Then I always ask locals what I should see, and I ride there.
Start on an Island F I recommend anyone pick an island as their first trip. If you try to go through land, sometimes you realize you’re lost after you’re 20 miles off-course. On an island, you’re OK if you can still see water. Pick an island and do a little circle—you’ll figure it out!
Roll Slow F My biggest advice to new bike tourists is that it’s not the Tour de France. One island in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius, literally takes eight hours to bike. But I took a whole month, to the point where everyone on the island knew me as “the girl on the bicycle.”
Test Your Packing F Put everything on your bike and do a 30-mile ride first to see how it feels. If it feels good, then you’re ready! If you’re the type to pack the kitchen sink, the first place you’ll visit on a tour is the post office to send stuff home.
Don’t Train F Say you’re going to ride in some country that has 15 million hills— riding around Central Park is not going to prepare you for that. In some countries I’ve been to, like Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, everything is high-altitude. That’s just not something you can train for at sea level. But if you can bike 60 miles, you can adapt to anything.