My Traveler's Heart is Unpaved

April 24, 2015

I love coasting down a long mountain pass on a smooth, silky road as much as anyone ... but I have to say my traveler's heart is unpaved.

Dirt paths and gravel roads haven't garnered enough traffic to warrant the expense of concrete or asphalt. And that's fine by me.

For although unimproved roads may be harder to negotiate on a bike, and require a slow, plodding pace, they reward the bike traveler with a world of raw beauty.

The slower pace allows one to soak in the view. The lack of speeding traffic opens up a world of sounds, from bird calls to waterfalls.

I won't complain of my metal frame or my fatter tires, because they open up a world of adventure.


Photos by Willie Weir and Kat Marriner (top to bottom: Lesotho, Portugal, Turkey, Laos, Colombia)

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at


Dreux Beirne April 24, 2015, 5:20 PM

I understand completly. We have the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonour (d2r2) in Western MA. Which is one of my favorite rides on old carriage paths With lots of climbs. More cows than cars!

sandra corso April 24, 2015, 3:13 PM

Love the photos. They are an inspiration to get on unpaved roads. Would you recommend a route in the US/Canada/AK?

thanks and happy travels


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