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Photo by Adam Coppola
I love seeing the world on the seat of a bicycle, as much as I enjoy seeing it from the seat of a bicycle.
Ask anyone who knows me well, and they'd tell you I have a sweet tooth ... Well, a whole mouth full of sweet teeth. Pedaling a bicycle long distances has allowed me to consume way more sugar than I should have, without it showing to a great degree on my person, so far.
Sunsets are one of the great pleasures of life and travel. And just as food tastes better on a bike trip, sunsets are that much more beautiful after you've spent the day pedaling a bike.
In my next life I'm coming back as a linguist. I will be fluent in a dozen languages. My command of these languages will be so complete, that I'll be confused as a local on every continent. Each night before falling asleep, I'll decide which language I'll dream in. But in this life I have come to terms with being a language klutz.
The Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis is only 2100 feet long. Yet it took me over an hour to pedal my way from one end to the other. The bridge used to carry trains over this span of the Mississippi. Today (especially when the sun is out) it carries throngs of locals and visitors.
The bicycle is the perfect vehicle to take it all in. All of your senses are available to soak in the epic views, the blossoms of spring, the bird calls, the local ice cream. I've had moments on bicycle journeys where the beauty of my surroundings is so overwhelming I've had to literally slam on my brakes to stop and process it all before moving on.
Our tent and gear were soaked, so we decided to splurge on a room in a beach town resort. The temperature kept dropping, and wave after wave of rain swept in from the coast. This was supposed to be our "vacation" after many miles of pedaling — sand, sun, a good book, and a cold beverage.
Over the years I've had plenty of memorable holiday meals. Many of them involve turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and gravy. I remember one dinner from my youth, where there was a table of pies. How can you choose between a dozen different pies? But there is one holiday meal that tops them all.
Our legs were weary from battling the mountains of Colombia and our bodies were filthy from the clouds of dust from passing trucks. It seemed that every local we met talked about a seaside town where everyone loved to vacation. We couldn't wait to get there.
In your bike travels, what is the oddest critter or creature that has hitched a ride on your bike or in your panniers? My bike has transported all sorts of caterpillars, butterflies, amphibians, and insects for dozens, if not hundreds of miles.
Exploring cities throughout the world is just getting better and better. With a swipe of a credit card, you can have access to a bike in New York City, Minneapolis, Montreal, and hundreds of other cities throughout the world.
During my week-long exploration of Minneapolis by bike, I was hosted by a different Warm Showers host each night. I arrived at Natalie's place late in the evening after a flight from Seattle. Natalie and her housemates are all bicycle enthusiasts, so they immediately took out a map and gave me suggestions of places to see in Minneapolis — restaurants, diners, trails, murals, and interesting neighborhoods. I think I managed to visit them all within week. One of the joys of staying with Warm Showers hosts, is the chance to hear stories from fellow bike travelers.
I recently had the priviledge of spending a week in Minneapolis pedaling their network of bicycle paths and trails. With a network of over 85 miles of off-street bike paths and 90 miles of on-street bikeways, there's plenty of pedaling to do. Fortunately, Minneapolis has plenty of "bicycle fueling stations" that most citizens refer to as bakeries and diners. I asked several local cyclists to name their favorites. One diner was on everyone's list ...
Some bike travel photos are stunningly beautiful. Some make you smile or laugh. And then there are the photos that make you want to pack your panniers and go. The photo above does that for me. Now I have a personal connection to this photo. I took it. That's my wife off in the distance. It was late morning, and we were on our way to Luang Prabang, Laos. When I lifted my camera to take the shot, I was grinning ear-to-ear
We always refer to "riding a bike," but one of the bicycle's best attributes, is its ability to quickly and conveniently stop.
This has got to be one of the coolest school commutes in the world. It is also one of my favorite photos I've ever taken. It's about travel, tranquility, forward motion, and kids on bikes. And this photo was not staged. These students in Laos are just heading home from school.
What a marvelous food is the banana — sweet calories packaged in an easy-opening, biodegradable container. Slather a whole bunch with peanut butter, wash it all down with a carton of milk, and it's all the fuel I need for a long day's bike ride.
It was only our second day of our cross country bike trip. Other than having bikes and panniers, Thomas and I were ill prepared. We were riding in Adidas cotton shorts, cotton t-shirts, and had high school quality cotton sweats. Our first day of riding had taught us a couple of valuable lessons: #1. Sunscreen is a really good idea. #2. Yes, your butt can hurt beyond belief after just one day of riding.
It was our first bike journey together, and we were on a seriously limited budget. Hotel stays were few and far between, and wild camping rarely came with a free flowing water source.
If you ride your bicycle to work in the United States, odds are you don't have much company. In most U.S. cities, less than one percent of commuters use a bicycle to get to work. If you are feeling very alone, you owe it to yourself to make a pilgrimage to Portland, Oregon.
When I first began bicycle touring, cities were a place to get away from ... as fast as possible. Over the years, not only have I become more comfortable riding in city traffic, but many cities have become increasingly bicycle friendly.
We stuffed ourselves silly on noodle dishes, and curry, and sweets. Plenty of fuel for the next day's pedal toward Laos. Above the din of the people and a loud broadcast advertising campaign from a local business, I heard a single voice.
Here's to the color green! Green is the sign of winter releasing its grasp. Those little shoots of green precede the explosion of flowers to follow. Green makes me dream of fresh veggies to munch and lush valleys to explore. Green makes me yearn to get on my bike.
If you enjoy long, slow, epic climbs, I'd highly recommend you conquer The Condor (Paso del Cóndor). At over 4000 meters, it is the highest paved road in Venezuela. If you begin your bike journey in Barquisimeto at the northernmost point of the Andes, you'll have plenty of time to warm up for the big climb.
Most bridges (new and old) carry huge volumes of traffic. Cars, buses, and trucks make a lot of noise. This kills the esthetic experience. Imagine what it would be like to travel across the Golden Gate bridge completely closed to traffic? That's what crossing U Bein bridge near Amarapura in Myanmar is like.