Off the beaten track
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2012 7:37 PM Last Post By: base
Nov 12, 2012 7:02 AM
Off the beaten trackIn Jan and Feb this year I've never bumped into so many bikepackers as before... and where was this? BOLIVIA!
Since I returned (I live in Germany), I've done a 2-week trip on Mallorca wild-camping with no bikepackers in sight, and even more surprisingly to Luxembourg where I saw not one other cyclist!
It's nice meeting fellow bikepackers, but I have the feeling that the remote places are getting filled up quickly (e.g: Salar de Uyuni), and Western Europe is becoming more and more "Off-the-Beaten-Track"!
Or is it just me? :-)
Nov 12, 2012 1:42 PM
1Hello, it's funny you say this because I have been thinking roughly the same thing. It happens that in Feb I was also cycling in Bolivia, and also crossed Salar De Uyuni, and noted the number of tourists! Since returning to Europe I've been toying with the idea of cycling through Western Europe, and reading your post about a lack of people makes it all the more appealing! (Ironic really...)
Nov 13, 2012 4:10 AM
2I've noticed the same, but I don't think it's to do with that.
If you tour in Europe, there are loads of places you can ride, so unless you're on a bike route, you probably won't see any other bike tourists - even though there are loads of them about.
In remote places there's usually only one road, so although there won't be many bike tourists, they'll all be in the same place so you'll meet them all.
Nov 13, 2012 4:50 AM
3That's a good point PQ. I suppose there are more surfaced roads in Monaco than the whole of Bolivia.
Since writing the post, I've trawled through quite a few bike-touring sites and have found very few photos and travel-blogs about Western Europe, or even Eastern Europe. So, I'm toying with the idea of flying to Dubrovnik and doing all those little countries that seem to have been forgotten in recent years; Montenegro, Republike Srpske, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, and Albania.
They are all pretty small and I suppose 6 weeks or less should be enough. ANDY
Nov 13, 2012 5:14 AM
4I've seen loads of Western European write-ups. I think the difference is that write-ups of tours like that just aren't very interesting - there are loads of them, but they're mostly not worth reading - and there are even more write-ups of dull north American tours. (BTW that's not a criticism of people who do those tours, or who write them up. If you enjoy that kind of riding, fine, and why not create a record of what you've done.) The more adventurous stuff gets noticed.
The Balkans can be good - I did a ride there a few years back :http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/balkanised It's not forgotten, or off the beaten track though.
Nov 15, 2012 1:10 AM
514 years ago, in my approx 3 months in Bolivia, I only bumped into cycle tourists 3 times, and they were all distinctly off-beat as cycle-tourists. This was, moreover, the rather more favourable dry season, and being June-August you would have thought there were more western tourists available to be seen.
Perhaps it was precisely because I was not following the usual (but tedious) route of least resistance from La Paz to Uyuni, but rather struggling through the mountains, that I met so few. Though the Tupiza-Potosi-Sucre-Cochabamba-Oruro route I did follow, with some variations, is a fairly common one.
Dec 5, 2012 9:30 AM
6This post caught my eye because we've spent the last 5 months cycle-touring in Europe and have only seen a handful of other cyclists, less than 10 I think. We're cycling from Norway to Japan via a very indirect route..... Our route has taken us through Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, France (6,000 plus kms).....now headed down to Tunisia. This has been on small roads.
I agree that there are so many more roads in Europe that everyone is much more spread out but it's also the same as everywhere else in that there are always "honey-pots" that attract people. I thought we would meet many more people but obviously we have chosen the "none honey pots".......
Our previous ride was in China and then Pakistan where we also met very few cycle-tourists. I don't agree that write-ups about rides in Europe are usually dull and ones about more exotic places more interesting.....isn't it dull writing that makes them dull rather than dull places?
Dec 5, 2012 7:37 PM
7I spent a month in France, Belgium and Netherlands earlier this year, and the only places we saw bike tourists were Netherlands (appeared to be locals), and a couple on the Tdf route trying to keep up with the race like us.
And with the economy in Europe in tatters, maybe it's prompting young Europeans to travel in cheap places where it's cheaper to bike tour than it is to stay at home?
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