When planning out a bike trip, it is really easy to focus solely on the route from point A to point B.
However, once you hit the road, you may find a town that you are crazy about and want to hang out in for a few days, or perhaps you will hear from locals about some incredible sights that are 10 miles perpendicular to your direction of travel.
For these reasons, it can be a great idea to chalk up a few days to mystery. A day to leave the panniers or trailer behind, and take a day adventure you never anticipated.
If you're on a long extended tour, it can even act as a mental release: You can come back to the same location and bed you slept in the previous night, know exactly where you want to have dinner, and have a good breakfast spot predetermined for the upcoming morning. Most importantly, knowing from the start that your plans are going to be flexible can ease some pre-bike tour anxiety.
This story has been updated and was originally published on March 26, 2011.