The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cyclist ↑ all posts

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Cyclist

“What is the feeling when you’re driving away from people, and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing
Jack Kerouac, On The Road

Another day of recovery and reflection. A long distance solo bike tour is inevitably going to be a lonely affair at times. Some days you wake up in your tent, cycle for hours through forests and hills, the only human contact being the odd car passing you on the road, or the brief exchange as you buy bread in a village. Then it’s back to the tent to eat and sleep and preparation for another day.

Some days are different: a campsite will usually have other cycle tourists (who you feel an immediate connection with) or at least other tourists (who usually think you’re insane, but who find the idea of long distance cycling fascinating and worthy of conversation). These conversations tend to follow the same templates, and the brief relationships you develop are transitory; dissolving as you head for your tent, each person heading down their own road the next day.

This is all thrown into sharp relief when you arrive in a strange city but you meet up with old friends, and conversation can quickly progress beyond “why on earth are you doing that