Seattle WA, 0 miles
What is a Bicycle Tour?
It’s a bit more than getting on a bicycle and going for a ride. You’re stepping out of your normal existence and you are entering into an entirely new world. It’s a lifestyle apart from what constitutes “normal life.” Every day requires focus, but on a limited number of tasks. The result of this narrowing of awareness is increased observation of your surroundings, your own feelings, of everything you are experiencing. It makes other people’s opinions and attitudes less relevant. Not less important or less valuable, but less impactful on you. That allows you to appreciate other people without obsessing on the “rightness” or “wrongness” of what they may be projecting.
Your day begins with a simple meal and a cup of coffee you make with your own hands. It’s enjoyable because you created it. Packing your gear for the day’s ride is done deliberately and with intention. So it is with a myriad of details throughout the day. The simple process of stopping and securing your bicycle becomes a ritual that is satisfying and affirming. Setting up camp, preparing to sleep, sleeping, waking, these are things that take on a significance that has no counterpart in “normal” life. They are immensely satisfying.
You see things in a whole new way. You are forced to slow down your perception of time, and also your observational perception. At the same time you are slowing down, your mind is embracing thoughts and ideas that wouldn’t normally be observed. “Mind expanding” may be a bit of an overstatement, but it’s a good description of the mental experience that comes with the physical exertion of riding for ten hours and covering 50 to 100 miles in the time it would take an airplane to fly half way across the world.
While all of this is part of the experience, the real thrill is completing your adventure and looking back on the experience. You can’t help but grow from the accomplishment. A tour is an accomplishment to be proud of. If you’re like me, after you complete your tour, you’ll be asking yourself, “what discoveries will I make on my next tour.”
I’ll be returning to Missoula soon…