Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu April 09 2015

Opinion Home | A Cruising Couple's Column

  • A Cruising Couple | April 9, 2015 11:00 PM ET

    5 Reasons To Travel The World Via Bicycle

    5 Reasons To Travel The World Via Bicycle

    Cycle touring isn’t necessarily a new idea, but its rise in global popularity is. Travel to almost any destination around the world, and you’ll now find tour operators offering cross-country cycle touring packages; individuals spinning their way from one destination to the next; and round-the-world travelers opting to trade in the bus for exploration via bike.

    After cross-country cycling Vietnam, we can attest that there are plenty of reasons to consider traveling via bicycle on your next trip abroad. You don’t have to be an avid cycler (we had never cycled before in our lives!), as long as you’re physically fit, determined and passionate about the task at hand.

    Not sure if traveling via bicycle is right for you? Here are our top five reasons to consider giving it a go:

    1.It’s slow travel at its finest

    We all know that by slowing down on our travels, we are able to experience the nuances that make the location so unique. Well, cycling is one of the slowest ways to travel (unless you plan on walking through your next destination). Traveling via bike will allow you to take in the details of your surroundings—the sights, the smells, and the sounds—in a way that you would likely miss if traveling by car or public transportation. And it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination.”

    2.It forces you to travel light

    Cycle touring in Fès medina

    Photo by jbdodane via Flickr

    Imagine cycling through the mountains in 100 degree weather with two months’ worth of clothing, all of your equipment to run your business online, and a suit that you had custom-made on a whim. That was us. We thought we knew how to travel light, until we got on those bikes to cycle Vietnam.  About two days into our trip, we donated nearly half of the “stuff” we had brought along with us. It was great insight to what we actually need and what “essentials” are merely bogging us down.

    3.It breaks down barriers between you and the locals

    A Cruising Couple Chatting with Local Vietnamese Children

    Many travelers express the difficulty in making meaningful connections with locals abroad. But one of the easiest ways to make friends is to set out on a cycling trip. Being on a bicycle makes you more exposed—and thus more vulnerable—but it also opens up the door for many more conversations.

    Most locals will want to talk to you purely to find out why this crazy foreigner is biking through their home country. People will cheer you on, offer you high fives as you pass by or offer you water or take you into their homes during a storm.

    After four years of traveling and living abroad full-time, we can say that cycling was without a doubt the easiest way to make friends with locals.

    4.You’re guaranteed to visit off-the-beaten-track locations

    Cycling up the Serra da Leba road

    Photo by jbdodane via Flickr

    If you’re traveling via bike, you can’t just purchase a direct ticket to the top touristy towns around. No matter where you choose to cycle, you’ll pass through small towns and villages that normally don’t get visited by tourists. Whether you stay for the night or you only stop for a water, you’ll be rewarded with unique experiences in locations that aren’t even in a guidebook.

    5.It will keep you physically fit

    Tour de Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Trail

    This probably goes without saying, but cycling is one of the best ways to stay fit on your travels. Eat as much of the local cuisine as you want without worrying about fitting back into your jeans for the plane ride home. I always declare the next time we visit Italy will be via bicycle to ensure I can sufficiently gorge on all the pizza, pasta and tiramisu I want.

    Before you plan your epic cross-country (or cross-city) cycle adventure, it is important to do a bit of research. What will the weather be like? Are the traffic conditions conducive to cyclers? Do you prefer to go it alone or have the support of a group? More than anything, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure, and you’re guaranteed to have the experience of a lifetime!

    To learn more about cycling Vietnam, you can read our ultimate DIY guide here.


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships