World's shortest bike tour. (1 Viewer)

A zed

Pilgrim
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
23
Location
The shoulder of the highway
About a year ago now I first delved into traveling and vagabonding by setting out from a homeless camp I had been bumming it at into the great unknown. I had spent the past few months there cooking with the local food not bombs and getting accustomed to life outdoors (I had been homeless before this but was in a shelter then) but eventually I knew I wanted to do more, to get out and travel, especially hearing stories from a bunch of oogle friends. I had also gotten robbed (for the stupidest reason too) so I was itching to be anywhere but there. Another FnB mate let me have their bike and I crafted a plan to bike to Iowa to meet a friend who wanted to travel with me. I set out early the next day .

The ride out of the city was quite easy, I felt I was making good pace the first hour or so. I took a quick break to rehydrate and got back on the road. However each hour had me stopping longer and longer, and I soon realized I had hardly enough water and food for today, let alone an entire journey. So my great adventure came to a hasty end only 1 day and maybe 30 miles into it. Being extremely new to traveling and finding myself out of water and food in the middle of the countryside I felt scared and turned back for the place that I at least knew. I was still exhausted from the day before and was walking the bike more then riding it at this point, especially as it was more hilly here.

I was absolutely miserable on the ride back, I felt defeated, but not only that I was scared of whether I could even make it back. Luckily however an old woman took pity on me and gave me a ride back to the city. During the ride she actually shared with me that she had been an avid cyclist in her youth, and scolded me slightly for my quite overzealous plan. A few weeks later though I would hit the road again with a friend, this time without the bike, learning to hitch, hop and squat.

So my first experience with bike touring obviously wasn't the best, but the idea of it still fascinates me. As I've still got some money from the stimulus checks I'm heavily considering getting a foldable bike to take on the road. I'm hoping it will go much better with a year of traveling under my belt.

I'd love to hear anyone else's first times, or even just any times you've overestimated what you could do. I hope my story isn't too exceptionally idiotic but oh well if it is. And any advice is appreciated!
 
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ali

Wanderer
Joined
Aug 9, 2020
Messages
128
Location
BC
I have also been pondering doing some bike touring, and i love hearing these sorts of first time/just get out there stories. I found this a really inspirational thread: Single-Speed Tour Through New England | Squat the Planet - https://squattheplanet.com/threads/single-speed-tour-through-new-england.41608/

My first real long bike ride was as a teenager in the Netherlands when i biked from my small town to Amsterdam, which was probably only about 30 miles but it felt like a real adventure. We took the train back.

My most recent punk ass bike ride was living in China where they have these dockless share bikes that you can pick up anywhere in most cities. They are stupidly heavy, don't have any gears, and they are all designed for people about a foot shorter than me, but they only cost about a buck an hour to rent, so one day i just put a bunch of water in my bag and started pedaling north from Shenzhen. I ended up in Dongguan, which is about 50 miles away.

Like i said, no gears, plus those things don't have helmets, the brakes don't always work, and biking through the outskirts of most cities in China means sometimes you're on a busy freeway, sometimes it's a totally abandoned dirt trail with water buffalo on it, sometimes you're BMXing through a construction site. It was probably pretty dangerous but super fun. My legs were destroyed at the end of it.

It was hot as hell and i didn't bring enough water, but it's China so there's random little kiosks everywhere that sell bottled water and ice tea. They thought it was completely hilarious to see a foreigner bike to the next city over on the same share bikes that local people only use to go 5 minutes from the subway station to their apartment.

I ended up doing that route a few more times while i lived there, each time i got a cheap ($15) hotel room in Dongguan and then just bussed it to the next place. I'm still sad that i didn't take a bike all the way round the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong through Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Macau. That's like 185 miles through one of the most densely populated parts of the world, a weird smash-up of ultra-modern cityscapes, epic factory complexes, smallholdings and no man's lands that are evicted as quickly as they are squatted. Tons of places to get really cheap and delicious food, and the locals are pretty chill outside of the rich/gentrified areas.

Anyway, moral of the story is you don't need any special gear to have a good time, just make sure you bring enough water and you have somewhere to crash at the other end.
 

A zed

Pilgrim
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
23
Location
The shoulder of the highway
I have also been pondering doing some bike touring, and i love hearing these sorts of first time/just get out there stories. I found this a really inspirational thread: Single-Speed Tour Through New England | Squat the Planet - https://squattheplanet.com/threads/single-speed-tour-through-new-england.41608/

My first real long bike ride was as a teenager in the Netherlands when i biked from my small town to Amsterdam, which was probably only about 30 miles but it felt like a real adventure. We took the train back.

My most recent punk ass bike ride was living in China where they have these dockless share bikes that you can pick up anywhere in most cities. They are stupidly heavy, don't have any gears, and they are all designed for people about a foot shorter than me, but they only cost about a buck an hour to rent, so one day i just put a bunch of water in my bag and started pedaling north from Shenzhen. I ended up in Dongguan, which is about 50 miles away.

Like i said, no gears, plus those things don't have helmets, the brakes don't always work, and biking through the outskirts of most cities in China means sometimes you're on a busy freeway, sometimes it's a totally abandoned dirt trail with water buffalo on it, sometimes you're BMXing through a construction site. It was probably pretty dangerous but super fun. My legs were destroyed at the end of it.

It was hot as hell and i didn't bring enough water, but it's China so there's random little kiosks everywhere that sell bottled water and ice tea. They thought it was completely hilarious to see a foreigner bike to the next city over on the same share bikes that local people only use to go 5 minutes from the subway station to their apartment.

I ended up doing that route a few more times while i lived there, each time i got a cheap ($15) hotel room in Dongguan and then just bussed it to the next place. I'm still sad that i didn't take a bike all the way round the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong through Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou, Foshan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Macau. That's like 185 miles through one of the most densely populated parts of the world, a weird smash-up of ultra-modern cityscapes, epic factory complexes, smallholdings and no man's lands that are evicted as quickly as they are squatted. Tons of places to get really cheap and delicious food, and the locals are pretty chill outside of the rich/gentrified areas.

Anyway, moral of the story is you don't need any special gear to have a good time, just make sure you bring enough water and you have somewhere to crash at the other end.
Thats an awesome story, thanks for sharing! And yeah I've definitely learned water is the most important piece of gear you need. Though I'll probably mainly be stealth camping as thats pretty much what I've been doing the past year or so.
 

superphoenix

Vagabond
Joined
Apr 19, 2019
Messages
180
Location
NY
First time biking somewhere and not ending up back home the same night, I rode out to Montauk at age 18. Slept on a boat dock with an annoying mosquito buzzing around me all night and hit 88 miles on day 2, sunburnt to all hell.

Second bike trip was another two day jaunt through Long Island in maybe 2014, this time to the north shore, and I slept on a mattress of an abandoned psych center to shelter from the rain.

I've never not succeeded but you also will need way more food and water than you think you do
 

A zed

Pilgrim
Joined
Sep 1, 2020
Messages
23
Location
The shoulder of the highway
Totally, I left way too hastily and nerves, plus being so unprepared just got to me. Those both sound like awesome trips though that sunburn most have sucked.
 

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