Trip Blog and Pictures:www.panamericantour.net Bicycle Touring Meetup Group:http://meetup.com/bicycle-touring-boston
Hi. I‟m Paul.• (and yes, I really rode my bike from Alaska to Argentina…)• My touring background + touring overview• How this trip came to be• Quick details about the trip• Highlights• Safety and costs – especially their myths!
My touring background• After college, I had the idea to mix mountain biking with camping• Didn‟t know that bike touring was “a thing”• Knew I loved the idea of bike travel before my first trip• Tour every year with whatever vacation time I have
Wait, what IS touring?• Using a bike as a method of travel• Can be one day, but usually multiple days• Supported touring: just your bike + a van• Credit Card touring: just your bike, a credit card and restaurants and hotels• Self-supported touring: you do it all. Carry your own gear, cook, camp and do repairs
My Trips• Northeastern US • Yukon Territory• Glaciar and Waterton • Iceland National Parks • Alaska• Nova Scotia • Utah• Prince Edward Island • Alaska to Argentina! and Cape Breton Island• Great Divide Mountain Bike Route
Alaska to Argentina? ;-)• Not surprisingly, it started as a joke!• In 2005 I rode from Canada to Mexico through the Rocky Mountains with a group of 10 people (“Ride the Divide”?)• After: “Hey guys, how about we ride from Alaska to Argentina next summer?”• Looked at the blog and got hooked on the idea
Alaska to Argentina?! :-• Went to Iceland in 2007 with two people from the same group• After dinner one night “Hey, you want to ride to Argentina right? Well, I‟ll go with you!”• Moment of change from an idea to a plan• Leave in 2009, skip some “dangerous” countries and ride for 11 months
Alaska to Argentina?!! :-o• Everything started according to plan• Travel partner was unprepared and only lasted two months (get a good travel partner!)• I decided not only that I wouldn‟t quit myself, but that I‟d go through all the countries we planned to skip!• (Thought that would add 6-7 months. Ha!)
Alaska to Argentina!! :D• Didn‟t take long for it to become my “lifestyle”• The farther I rode the more time off I took, more hiking, more side trips, more time in places I liked or with people I met…• By the end it was about 22,000 miles and 31 months• I never would have started if I knew I‟d mostly do it alone or for such a long time
FAQQuestions Answers• What did you eat? • Food! (duh)• Where did you sleep? • Camped at least 50% of the time, other times at cheap hotels or hostels or even in people‟s homes• Were you lonely? • No! Met many other travelers at hostels, many locals and travelled with cyclists from half a day to 2 months
Finances• It‟s about priorities…• Some bicycle travelers spend $5 per day!• $15 to $20 is more comfortable• My “Get travelin‟ quick” formula:• (cost per day * num days / days „till trip) = save per day• $20 * 300 = $6000 (total trip cost)• $6000 trip / 600 days „till trip = …
Only $10 per day!• If you can save $10 per day, and can travel on $20 per day, you can travel for a year only two years from now!• None of the long-term travelers I met were independently rich• Live simply, save and travel simply• Myth Busted: “Long-term travel is expensive”
Two examples• Live in an apartment that‟s $100 cheaper• In 2 years you saved $2400 – almost half way there!• Instead of a $200 iPhone with a $100 per month contract ($2600) get an iPod touch and a flip phone ($440) – there‟s $2160• Saving $4560 was that easy! Only $1440 to go!
Safety• Original plan was to skip most of Mexico, Central America and Colombia - what a mistake that would have been!• Every country has it‟s risks – best advice: use common sense• Don‟t stand out, don‟t flash expensive things or lots of cash, keep an eye (and a hand) on your possessions at all times
Safety Cont.• I once heard that “likeable” doctors were far less likely to be sued for malpractice• A likeable traveler is less likely to be robbed• Basically, if someone likes you they probably won‟t sue or rob you…
Safety Cont.• In two and a half years, traveling completely exposed on a bicycle I NEVER had anything stolen• Followed for a block once because I had a big camera around my neck – my mistake• Carried important things in a fanny pack, which a guy on the back of a motorcycle tried to grab• Myth Busted: Travel isn‟t as dangerous as you think!