Bicycle touring’s popularity is on the rise in America. There are no firm statistics available (though Adventure Cycling Association is actively collecting data to help change that), but it’s clear from the number of dedicated websites, blog posts, forums and the fact that nearly all major manufactures have an off-the-shelf touring bike available (certainly not true 10 years ago), more and more people are hitting the road for everything from overnight bike camping to multi-year tours. Unsurprisingly, Oregon seems to be at the forefront of states recognizing the economic potential of the bike touring industry. Oregon tourism website Travel Oregon promotes bike touring. Portland’s Cycle Wild leads guided bike camping trips. Path Less Pedaled is creating a video series about traveling Oregon by bike. And last month, Ellee Thalheimer made her contribution to the state’s burgeoning bike touring industry with the publication of her book Cycling Sojourner, Oregon’s first guide to self-supported, multi-day bike touring.
Cycling Sojourner offers its readers an in-depth guide to eight different tours around the state ranging from an easy several day cruise through Oregon wine country to a challenging week-long adventure out east that’s chock full of mountainous gravel climbs.
Tyler and Tara cruising San Francisco their first week back in the U.S.
In April 2009, Tara Alan and Tyler Kellen set off from Scotland (via Minnesota) to spend two years pedaling their way around a sizable chunk of the Earth on a bike tour they named Going Slowly. In December 2010, after the duo had ridden through Europe, into north Africa, back up through eastern Europe, and driven across Russia, I interviewed them for The Bicycle Story. Since then, Tara and Tyler finished their tour in Southeast Asia and made their way back to the United States. I spoke to them again now that they’ve started to settle back in to see how the rest of the tour went, what it’s like to transition back into the “normal” world after two years of travel, and what their plans are for life off the road. They responded with both words and an amazing array of photographs that do a wonderful job of complementing the stories they tell.
Laura and Russ. Photo by Russ Roca.
Over the past two years Laura Crawford and Russ Roca have ridden thousands of miles around America, exploring its nooks and crannies, meeting its people, and documenting their adventures on their website, The Path Less Pedaled. Though a multi-year bike tour already sets them apart from the average tourist, Laura and Russ’ trip is that much more unique because it is open ended. Before taking their first pedal strokes away from their California home in 2009, they sold or gave away everything that wasn’t coming with them on the bikes. I caught up with them in Portland, OR where they’ve settled in for the winter to talk about their journey, feeling disconnected, and their practical advice for touring wannabes.