Bike Touring offers the a unique way for independent adventure travelers to find new places, meet new people, and face new personal challenges anywhere in the world. There is no feeling in the world like barreling down a tall mountain keeping pace with the traffic while the world around you turns into a blue and the wind gets loud. Of course, bike touring isn't all downhill; it also presents the intrepid traveler with several unique challenges to overcome. Bike touring is definitely not for everyone, here's a quick look at some of the benefits and challenges of seeing the world on two wheels under your own power.

PROS: Why bike touring is the best way to see the world

Bikes make you relatable and approachable: Just about everyone everywhere in the world has had or currently has a bike. Even more universal than cars or busses, everyone remembers the feeling of freedom they felt the first time they rode without training wheels, the magic of an expanded universe that their first bicycle offered them. On a bike tour you can expect to be greeted with joy and wonder by complete strangers every single day of your trip. People will want to know where you are going, where you have been, how much the bike weighs, and more. And behind every question you will find a mixture of admiration and disbelief as well as the nagging sometimes unspoken thought - "I wonder if I could do that" More than anything else, traveling on a bicycle is a great way to meet people.

On my own travels I have had lunch with bikers, truckers, farmers, and scientists - all drawn to me by the site of my loaded touring bike outside a diner and my helmet sitting on the table. If you like meeting people, bicycle touring is the very best way to see and meet the world around you.

Traveling by bicycle is very inexpensive: there is a joke among touring cyclist that we make poor candidates for would be thieves because everyone "knows" that no one with any money at all would willingly ride a bike that far. It's mostly true too. When you travel by bike you save on rentals, gas, insurance, parking, maintenance and a host of other fees the car tourists have to pay. Thanks to low cost hike/bike campsites, and touring cyclist networks, even housing costs are cheaper than for people who travel by automobile. For anyone traveling on a budget a bike is the cheapest and best way to get around.

On a bicycle tour, you can go where cars can't: Bicycle travel is becoming more and more accessible every year. Many cities and countries in Europe are particularly well suited to bicycle travel, and even in car centric US, many long distance bike trails, and bike friendly routes have been developed. The "Rails to Trails Conservancy" in particular works to convert old unused train and canal grades into multi use trails perfect for cycling. Two of the best are the Katy trail in Missouri and the GAP/C&O trail that runs 350 car free miles from Pittsburgh all the way into downtown Washington DC

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