September 30, 2014
The Adventure Cycling tours department has over 100 tour departures planned for 2015. All tours will be revealed and ready for sign up on October 8th! I find it exciting, and a bit overwhelming, to think about all the expectations that each rider will bring to the tour. The reasons people are out on tour are vast and the experiences and sights they are hoping for are endless. Travel is a process, and is much longer than the actual tour. In actuality the tour starts when you sign up for a tour. Immediately you are launched into looking forward to the trip, counting down the days, researching, and picturing how you imagine the trip from the itinerary that is shared with the tour description. Last week Darrah pointed out some of the exceptional blogs that have been shared with us. These pieces of writing paint the picture of the essence of touring. In reading two individuals blogs on the same tour, I was caught by the different trips each participant was having and the observations that they made. The skeleton itinerary and logistical details of the trip were the same for each rider but the time on tour and afterthoughts were wildly different. The reflections, personal growth, the achievements, the let downs, the irritations, the relationships developed that bloggers write about portray the heart of touring. One thing I love about group travel is within the group no one is having the same trip.
I have learned from my various travels that no matter how much I research, prepare, plan, or consult expertise, travel is always full of the unexpected. Often the unexpected is good, making the trip rich with memories and opportunities to experience, something I wouldn’t have if the plan had stuck to the plan. And it must be said, when our expectations turn out to be different than the reality of the experience it can be very frustrating.
I am a planner. However, when I travel, I become less of a planner and allow the trip to take form while I’m there. Trust me, I still research and read about locations, travel advisories, and customs, but I travel now with an outline of what I expect the trip to look like and places I want to see, rather than a firm, minute by minute itinerary. This past week I went back to my roots of Colorado to spend the week biking with my dad. Colorado is a very familiar place to me but not by bike. I knew all the locations we were going to be riding so I began to craft what I pictured the week would look like. My thoughts were not far off but the trip had way more in it than I initially gave it credit. I was reminded quickly that seeing an area by bike is very different than seeing it in any other form of transportation. Colorado is my homestate, but I was seeing the state with a brand new perspective. Spending time in the Rocky Mountains and the areas around Aspen, Colorado, with my dad was nothing short of delightful.
1. Colorado in the fall is truly one of the most breathtaking places on the planet. To be enveloped in the fall colors was nothing short of stunning!!!!!
2. Donuts and coffee really do taste better after pedaling miles.
3. Colorado is full of hills and high altitudes.
4. Even though he is double my age, my dad still crushes me up hills.
6. I missed my dog at home so much I had to pet all the dogs I met along the route
7. Spending times with the ones we love and being out living is truly a gift and should be priority.
As you peruse the 2015 tours, I hope you use the itinerary as a guide and when you are on tour you feel it take shape. Hopefully for you, like Colorado turned out for me, the trip is more than you initially gave it credit.
Post and photos by Lydia Hess
ON THE ROAD is written by the tours team — Lydia, Darrah, Mike, Mandy, and Arlen — tours specialists and intrepid bicyclists, covering all things related to the Adventure Cycling tours department. Check out our 2014 Guided Tours today!