Adventure Transportation via Spokes and Ankles
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles can lead to massively wonderful ways to create adventure travel experiences you will never forget.
With an airplane you can travel internationally and reach most of the rest of the world in 24 hours or less.
Automobiles give you the chance to plan your own epic road trip and move at a pace that suits you and your companions.
Finally a train gives you the chance to relax and enjoy the scenery, read a book, have a lively conversation, or catch up on much needed sleep prior to heading to the next destination.
But what about the other modes of adventure transportation?
Specifically I want to share some recent experiences I have had and others I follow have had with spokes and ankles.
To be more detailed when I refer to this I mean bicycle spokes and your own ankles, aka feet. There’s a movement to see a country by foot or by bicycle and it creates a mode of slow travel and unique experience that is truly vastly different than the more standard options and a chance to look introspectively at your adventure in a way that is hard to describe until you experience it.
Here are a few spokes and ankles adventures and why they have created meaning for those participating and following along:
I have written about the Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa before HERE as I went on a half week back in 2014. This year I returned to Team Paradise for a full six days and 418 miles on the bike taking part in the longest and largest recreational bike ride in the world.
Riding across a state (or a country) lets you see the small and quaint communities we often miss, it gives you a chance to truly feel the heat, rain, wind (headwinds and tailwinds) and any type of weather that is thrown at you, and by participating with a group creates a sense of togetherness that is hard to replicate on a bus tour or caravan ride.
As you bike across the state of Iowa I slowly each morning fell into a moving meditation on two wheels as I traversed my way along the county highways and side roads for 400 plus miles. When I finished it was hard to believe that I had gone from the Western border on the Missouri River to the Eastern border on the Mississippi River in a state that is much wider than most realize. RAGBRAI is one of the best bike rides in the world in my opinion but there are so many more options and alternatives for you to consider than just this one.
People Objective: Run for People.
We referenced the Columbus Ohio’an running across the country in our American Adventures podcast. Turns out he posted just a week or so after the podcast that he was looking for pacers to support him in running a sub 4 hour marathon on Instagram. He was looking for these pacers to meet him at a park just one mile from my house on a Saturday morning that I had nothing going on! I was fortunate and grateful to get to meet Cam Williams. He finished his LA to NYC run safely and soundly and is now working on the documentary of the adventure to raise awareness for “People coming home from Incarceration.”
Cam was great to meet and pace for seven miles until I was gassed due to a 8:15 pace in 90 degree weather. More importantly he shared his slow travel mission and vision with the whole group the morning we met, there were over 40 of his friends and family members there plus about 15 pacers like myself.
Cam ran for something bigger than himself but it doesn’t mean this type of experience (a modern day Activist version of Forrest Gump) didn’t get an amazing adventure for his own personal development and growth as a person.
Follow along on IG for more of what’s coming next from Cam HERE.
Walk the Border.
Tenny and Claire spent six months walking the US and Mexico border and shared their stories while raising awareness about the issues we are facing due to a lack of several types of empathy and connection by those in power in the US government. You can check out their IG page and blog HERE.
They encountered differing opinions, heard stories, and connected with people they would have never been able to hear or speak with had they not chosen such a unique way to experience and see the world. Their stories are heartfelt, sad, and powerful in my opinion. Once again like Cam they took an activist approach but also I am sure grew and developed as people because of this unique experience.
North by Scott Jurek.
Every year folks traverse the thru-hike opportunities of America’s National Scenic Trails. Some spent just a week and other spend six months hiking and walking through several states, especially on the popular PCT and AT Trails.
Scott Jurek, famed ultra-runner and one of the stars of the book Born To Run, tells his stories of running the famed AT Trail and breaking the time record. It’s been broken since by a character in the book (who Scott helped pace to break his own record) and it once again shares that maybe, just maybe, seeing several states by two feet will always smash the experience of driving through them. I highly recommend this book if you have ever considered a multi-month hike or are just interested in reading about people pushing their physical and mental limits beyond a point most of us could ever fathom.
In conclusion there are so many examples and stories of people striking out in large groups OR on their own by foot or by bicycle across and around the world. The next time I return to Iceland I would love to bike the Ring Road instead of just hiking and traversing it in a camper van.
I’ll forever say YES to long road trips, international flights, and cross country train rides but sometimes your adventure can be simpler, slower, and longer.
All you need is a somewhat reliable bicycle and maybe feet and ankles that are ready to put some mileage on them. I know I see the world differently with hiking poles or the seat of a bike.
How about you? Leave your comments below if you have ever considered an adventure like this or share another one that has inspired you!
Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
Mike R and the Hashtag 59 Team