Living life unplugged

That's the curse of the Time Lords. River, you know my name. You whispered my name in my ear! There's only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name.

For most people living in populated cities, Life is pretty monotonous, predictable & boring. Work takes up a large part of their lives and many reach a breaking point or feel the need to BE FREE. Thanks to modern technology, Most people even spend their holidays – fully plugged or connected to their work desks virtually.

Bike touring – Unabashed, childlike fun

Having done 12 bike tours in India and other countries, I can easily say that a bike tour is one of the most liberating experiences that one can get. On a bike, you get to explore places at just about the right pace and actually immerse yourself in the beauty of the country or place you are touring in.

Touring on a saddle is so different from other ways of exploring a place. The pace is just about right to actually smell the flowers, feel the beauty of a place and get memorable experiences in many ways. Small bike tours require moderate fitness levels and is easily doable for most people.

Newbies can start with an assisted or guided bike tours where a professional bike touring company charts your route, makes all your stay and food arrangements and all you do is immerse yourself in the beauty of bike touring. More experienced riders can graduate to “REAL” bike touring where you ride with your essentials in a pannier bag on your bike and explore places four-wheeled travellers will never know existed: lakes, dirt roads through forests, quaint villages, meet locals at cafes & other unique ways.

Saddle time is important. Not the destination

Cycling to your destination each day creates the best kind of souvenir. It gives a lasting sense of the road you travelled and the places you visited. A way to capture the spirit of your destination rather than pay attention to your watch.

Experience new people and cultures.

In my experience, This is the best part of bike touring – The people you meet along the way. On a bike tour, you’re not insulated and isolated by your car, train or bus. You end up interacting with locals, learn about their culture & lifestyle.

My journey

I started with smaller 3-4 day cycling tours and soon graduated to longer trips which require a very level of fitness and discipline. Apart from having toured to the highest motorable road in the world at 18380 ft in Ladakh twice, I did a self-supported bike tour across Canada in June 2017, traversing 2500 kms through the Canadian Rockies across 30 days with the Indian flag proudly stitched on both sides of my bags.

With just my bike and my pannier bags with the bare essentials to survive the Canadian weather, I was riding about 8-12 hours daily. We got time to feel the enchanting beauty of the Canadian countryside and ride through the mesmerising Columbia Icefields, Peyto Lake, Jasper, Lake Louise, forests, lakes and more.

Cutting the cord

Breaking away from work for a long time is extremely difficult for most busy people. I faced the same dilemma. But then I had the life-changing nirvana that if not now then when . . . with these thoughts, I tried out bike touring a few years ago. Now I am so hooked to it that no sooner is one tour over, I start planning the next.

So go ahead. Treat yourself to a lifetime experience. Try bike touring. Remember, it’s more about the journey than the destination.

I would love to hear feedback at chetan@thebikelife.in