Thursday, June 20, 2013

Credit Card Overnight Bike Touring: Less is More

It's been a while since my last post. We've been out and about, enjoying summer and our bikes. We have officially begun a new chapter in our bike travels. Ultra light. Less is more.

When we moved to Miami, we did some serious editing of our touring gear. Like we sold our bike camping gear. All of it. It was time to commit to our new "less is more" lifestyle. Our ultra light two man tent, the feather light sleeping gear, and all the other gear we had used so happily on so many trips: history.

Both Al and I can pinpoint our Eureka Moment about travel. We were making a ferry crossing from Mexico after a week of biking there. We started talking about travel, what we liked, what we didn't like. Short version: we liked the journey but we were totally jaded on IMAX memory trips. We'd done all of the US, Canada, a bunch of islands, and dabbled in Mexico and Europe. Our list of planned trips was still long, but we were unexcited about them. We regrouped.

What we truly enjoyed was traveling by bicycle. Destinations were no longer the important thing. What we found so addictive about bike travel was the rhythm of our bike travel day.

  • Getting up before dawn.
  • Packing the bikes.
  • Savouring a pre-ride breakfast and coffee.
  • The exhilaration of the ride.
  • The chance encounters, the little problems to be overcome, and the surprise finds along the route.
  • The deliciously languorous afternoons and evenings.

Our Eureka Moment was the realization that any bike trip gave us this. We didn't have to continue flitting about the world to get the experience we wanted.

We bought new luggage (small suitcases) for our bikes and started traveling. The move to Miami opened a new opportunity: overnight credit card bike touring. Two, maybe three day trips. Not using our usual touring bikes. Heading out on our road bikes carrying only a bit more than we do for our daily ride.

There were problems to be handled, though. Our road bikes are carbon fiber, and there are limitations on what can be attached to them. Also, the small frame size of my bike added another level of complication. Happily, the gear we needed turned out to be a combination of things we already owned and a new carbon fiber friendly seat post bag from REI.

I'm just surprised more of our new Miami road biking friends aren't doing this!


  1. It's the only way to go... A fast day of riding then a shower and a restaurant. I have been hassling both the Hilton Chain and the Ritz management to comp me rooms and meals to do a Grand Tour, riding from hotel to hotel.

    No answers so far.

    I hope you will do a piece on your eqipment choices and how they are working out.


    1. I love your idea with the hotel chains. Hope that works out and you do a post on it.

      I'll be doing posts on our gear, too. I'm still toying with the gear and take-along stuff. In a week or two...

  2. Marsha,
    I also would be interested in your equipment choices! I just invested in a bike to take my touring on to more back and dirt roads. I'll have to keep hauling my stuff because there does not seem to be a motel or restaurant on some of these FS roads, but no traffic either!

    You guys are way ahead of me in the touring lifestyle,you have been all over. I just can't get all worked up to visit other countries with my bike. There are so many places to see here in Colorado before I even venture out to a foreign country like Utah or New Mexico!!

    1. I really agree with you about local travel. Love the state where you live until you've mined every biking gem it has to offer!

      Just hearing the word FS road brings back memories of some great trips...