An adventure wouldn’t be an adventure without making some spontaneous decisions, right? Especially making decisions that will throw you out of your comfort zone, and fall in love with something you had never thought about before. Once we commenced our European Adventure, we found so many reasons as to why cycling is the best way to travel. First, a little insight into how we got into this new way of travelling.
Why Choose Cycling?
Our Instagram has given us the opportunity to meet so many amazing people over the past year. Whilst in Salzburg, we met up with Jen and Mel from BackpacksandBicycles, a couple from England who had commenced their European cycling tour a few months earlier. Mel had experienced a couple of cycling trips, however this was all brand new to Jen! We sat and drank beer with them for hours, as they told us about their budget trip by bike. Instantly we were in love with the idea of doing this ourselves. Coincidently, Jen and Mel were leaving Europe to get married in Vegas a couple of weeks later. This meant they would be looking at selling their bikes..
This was a crucial evening for us, as we started to figure out how we could incorporate cycling into our Interrailing trip. We threw a lot of different ideas around and ended up reaching a conclusion that we could make this work. We would need to sacrifice visiting Macedonia and Serbia , however we felt this experience would be so worth it!
Where are we Going?
This was a completely new experience for both of us. The most cycling we had ever done was a short trip to work now and then. A spontaneous decision, and throwing all of our plans up in the air, saw us cycling from Bologna to Bari in Italy. The aim was to complete around 800km in 10 days.
We then explored Greece and the west coast of Italy on our bikes before they were unfortunately stolen in Florence . Cycle touring is a challenge that you can take at your own pace and take routes to suit your level.
It’s a Money Saver
When travelling on a budget, cycling is the cheapest means of transport to get you from A-B. Whether this is getting you from your accommodation to the city centre or whether it’s getting you from country to country, you will save money. We saved money on trains, buses and taxis by opting to use our bikes.
Cycle touring also allows you to use the accommodation service, Warm Showers. This is a free service that is open to cycle tourers all over the world. You are required to set up an account, and once you have done this you can request to stay with someone, once you know where you are going. The idea behind the service is to create a give-and-take community, where you return the favour when you’re not touring. Unfortunately, this experience didn’t work out for us as there weren’t any on the route we were cycling.
Due to the minimal fossil fuels and green house gas emissions, cycling is a pollution free mode of transport. Cycling is becoming a more common way of getting around the cities in many countries. More and more cycle lanes are being introduced to encourage this lifestyle. Cycling also reduces smog and cuts noise pollution. A real positive aspect of cycling is knowing that the earth hasn’t been polluted by your pedal power.
Good for Physical and Mental Health
The health benefits over riding a bike in comparison to sitting on a train are massive. Sitting sedentary all day isn’t mentally fun, nor is it physically stimulating. By cycling you are raising your heart rate, working your muscles and mentally feeling great about your achievements. When travelling, it can be difficult to find the time do workout. However, if you have a bike then you don’t even need to think about that. Cycling also encourages you to drink more water due to increased cardiovascular activity.
Experience the Raw Culture
Cycling allows for the true authenticity of a country to be seen. Travelling through areas that are not necessarily seen or visited by tourists opens your eyes to the beauty of the country. This results in cheaper restaurant prices and the opportunity to learn some of the local language. You may also cycle through areas that you may not have otherwise seen.
By cycling, your worries of what time public transport ends are over. This allows for a flexible arrival and departure time at a destination, as well as when you are there. There’s no need to worry about arriving on time to make public transport, or breaking the bank to pay for a taxi. Just get on the bike and pedal your way there.
You are definitely limited to the amount of luggage you can carry when cycle touring. Trust me, it’s not worth carrying that extra pair of shoes or extra outfit when you’re going up a huge hill. Now I know the thought of no clothes can seem stressful, however in reality it is liberating!
Limited possessions mean limited responsibility. The less you own, the less you have to lose.
So give cycle touring a shot! Make memories for a lifetime and push the boundaries of what you THINK you can achieve. The best adventures never happen in your comfort zone.
We would definitely consider this kind of travelling again. If you have enjoyed reading this, you can check out our Italian Cycling series, here! Get inspired for your next adventure of a lifetime, and read all about how we managed to cycle 800km in 10 days.
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