For a great solo bicycle trip take a suitcase full of smiles and stories.   People are interested in you if you have something interesting to share.  Get your collection started. You needn’t be a know-it-all who  commandeers the conversation.  Rather hold enough information to stir the pot.  Enjoy the spontaneous conversations you run into.

An expensive bike is NOT a requirement.  Assure that the cycle is comfortable and the right size for you.  If you are interested in off road travel, you’ll need a mountain bike.  If cross country is your desire select a good multi speed bike such as an 18-21 speed machine–you’ll be climbing hills.   I have a cousin who just bought an $8,000 composite bike and wants to ride with me.  My original bike was an Italvega 10 speed which cost $172 in 1972.  At that time it was high tech and considered expensive.  My last trip was on a used Allez Specialized which cost $200, bought using a newspaper ad.  The extras included a new seat, and spare tire and tubes, for a total of less than another $200.

Bring fruit.  It is sweet, satisfying and long in gradual nutrition over the long haul.  Candy burns fast, causes tooth decay and contributes to diabetes.

Bring a compact radio for news and weather reports.  Likewise, a good road map.

Get off the bike.  Take a fifteen minute break.  Stop look, and listen to nature around you.  Daily.  Watch birds flit from branch to branch.  Listen to their songs.  What does the air sound like?  What is blowing in the breeze?  Observe color and shade.  What is blowing in the wind?  Look at cloud formations.   What is on the horizon? Close up?  Guess at the distances.  What trees can you name?  What are the differences, even if you don’t know tree names?  Can you spot flowers or plants?  Take a deep breath and feel it in your chest.  Close your eyes.  What can you remember?

Relegate the cell phone to emergency use only while traveling.  Do not call or answer a ring tone.  Cell  phones yank us back into the routine.  A cycling trip is to get away.  The phone is a trap, an addiction, a distraction, an interruption from the pure pleasure of cycling.

Going to eat out?  Try a restaurant which does not offer the usual franchise cuisine.

Try a short side road adventure.

Be thankful for help and stories.

Be grateful that you have been given a body capable of cycling.

Come back with at least one good story to tell friends.

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