Ten Things I Realized on My First Bike Tour

DSC01197My mini three day tour to Rochester and back turned out to be so much more than I was expecting! Here are a few of the lessons I learned and thoughts I had on my journey.

1. I need to challenge myself.
Before I left on this trip, I was feeling stale: in my relationship with God, at work, in life in general-even in my biking the excitement was waning a bit. But I have come back from my three days of biking completely energized. The challenge and excitement of pushing myself out of my comfort zone to do something new got me out of the rut I was experiencing. I feel on fire!

2. The greatness of exploration.
I have been such a sheltered cyclist up to this point. Even when I biked down new roads, I was still in my local area and I had some idea of where I would end up. This trip, however, I had no clue where I was or what I would see next. Every new bend was its own adventure.

3. The importance of inspiration.
I was halfway through my first day of biking, having an absolute blast out in the countryside when it hit me full force-I would not have gone on this bike trip if it wasn’t for all of you. Even though I eventually wanted to go on some sort of bike tour I would have postponed it at least until next summer without the constant inspiration I get from the blogs I read. Rootchopper and his #nowrongplan expedition, the lovely account of touring out west on Chasing Mailboxes, Jim on his fast and fiery DALMAC ride, CapeJohn’s adventures, Carmel’s extraordinary mountain biking journey, Dan riding solo everywhere, anytime he has the chance…reading about those epic rides kept me thinking, “I have to do that.”

4. God is with me.
I saw evidence of God’s protection and care at every stage of this trip. But more than just protecting me, I knew that God was with me and I felt His presence and love.

5. Support teams are awesome.
My dad played the unofficial role of support team on this trip. I called him to get a new route home since my original route was accidentally illegal and for directions when I couldn’t find any people to ask. Since he and my mom met up with me for the concert, they also became a mid-ride SAG wagon, bringing me extra tubes and clean clothes. I owe him big time.

6. Smart people are smart.
This one is embarrassing. I have read many cycling blogs (written by folks who know way more about cycling than I ever will) which talk about the necessity of sport drinks on long or hard rides to keep electrolytes in balance. I completely ignored their wisdom and experience and went along my happy way, refusing to drink anything except for water. This trip I caved and tried out supplementing my water with an occasional Gatorade. Sadly, I could feel the difference and from now on I will use sports drinks on long or extremely hot rides.

7. Bathrooms are amazing.
I never realized before how incredible bathrooms are! I can refill my water bottles, wash my hands, check my appearance in the mirror to make sure I am still recognizable as a human and yeah…actually use the bathroom.

8. Bike touring is fun.
I came into this ride thinking it would be fun-but that it would also be filled with hardship. I imagined the ride being good overall, but I thought there would be a decent amount of some type of suffering. So I was shocked to find out my ride was a total blast! Other than two sections on the last day, everything was great and those tough moments were completely overshadowed by the bliss of exploring the world on my bike.

9. Interaction is cool.
I am a introvert. Interacting with random strangers is not my strong suit. For three days I talked to and greeted countless people and it was actually not half bad, in some cases it was really awesome.

And that only leaves #10, which turned out to be an entire blog post by itself which I will post tomorrow. Just to warn you it may be even more cringe-worthy than #6…

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28 thoughts on “Ten Things I Realized on My First Bike Tour

  1. Great lessons. You hit the nail on the head with everyone of them. Number 1 and number 4 are the two big ones for me these days. I hate to tell you this, but my bike tour last year spoiled me. I find it hard to just do a 20 mile loop and wind up in the same place a couple hours later. LOL. I don’t do sports drinks either. I prefer just water, but maybe I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the tip. Thanks for the lessons. May you have many many more great experiences…cycling or just living.

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    • Yeah, I didn’t find it fun to drink but I think I will get used to it, I already brought some powder mix from the store which is thankfully much cheaper than buying it bottle by bottle. I am not used to buying drinks-I had a bad case of sticker shock when I saw how expensive they are!

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  2. Nice post Bri. It’s important to continue challenging yourself. I too learned about the need for replenishing electrolytes the hard way. I use a powder made by Vega, and if it is not available, I mix 1/3 sport drink + 2/3 water. That seems to do the trick for me.

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Mark, I am glad to hear you are hitting the road!

      If you want to go touring don’t let the fact that you have a MTB stop you! Yeah it might not be as fast, but at least if you end up on nasty roads your bike will be totally fine with it 🙂

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  3. This is a nice, inspiring read! I especially like your first realization. We do need to push ourselves and test our own limits to see how far we can go. I hope you were also revitalized spiritually by the experience!

    And yes, electrolyte-refill is a must for this type of activity. You may want to try also consuming bananas during your next bike tours as it is also a good source of energy.

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Johnny! The trip did bring me closer to God, feeling His protection, seeing His awesome creation, talking to Him about my life, reading the Bible-spiritually I feel alive again 🙂

      Eating bananas is a great tip, I did eat a few on the trip but it probably would have been good to eat a few more. By the last day I needed all the energy I could get 🙂

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  4. Thanks for the mention, Bri, and huge congratulations on your first tour! The bicycle is such a beautiful way to see the world and to connect to other people. Also, I just wanted to add that I used to use Gatorade, but switched to using apple juice when I’m at store stops instead. I just don’t think that Gatorade is good in the long run in terms of its ingredients, but that’s just me.

    Congratulations again, and cheers to many more bike journeys to come!

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    • I hadn’t even thought of fruit juice! I must admit, drinking stuff with sugar in it, after just drinking water for such a long time, seems really bizarre. I have been poking around the internet for something a bit healthier than Gatorade-juice never even crossed my mind. That may work out well, thanks 😉

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