Guest Author - Sharry Miller
Do you have a cycling bucket list, a list of places you want to ride or trips you want to take? I do, and itís a list that keeps getting longer. So far, it includes riding the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway in the eastern U.S., Hadrianís Wall in England, border to border down the U.S. Pacific coast, etc., etc., etc. I just took the first step to cross one ride off of my cycling bucket list.
A couple of years ago, WomanTours started offering a 10-day bicycle tour in Bhutan. Iíve wanted to go on the trip since I first read about it. I was drooling over their website (www.womantours.com) a few weeks ago and was shocked to see that there was still space available in their two spring 2012 tours. I thought for sure I'd have to wait until at least 2013 to go. I prevaricated, however, and didn't claim a space on the April trip. A week or so ago, WomanTours posted on Facebook that there was just one space left on each trip. Again, I hesitated. I had no good reason, I just didn't call. Finally, at the urging of my husband, I called to ask if there was still that one space left. There was! I claimed it immediately, credit card in had to pay for the deposit.
As has been the case with every bike tour Iíve gone on, it will be hard to wait for months to go. As eager as I am to go right now, however, I know that I will enjoy the trip much more after spending a few months getting mentally and physically ready to go. Not only do I have greater incentive to spend my winter being active so that Iím fit enough to accomplish the trip, but I also have reason to learn more about this mysterious (to me) part of the world. I look forward to feeding my book addiction as well as my travel addiction.
Opportunities abound for you to cross an item (or several) off of your cycling bucket list, too. If youíre not ready to tackle planning an independent bike tour, many companies exist which would be willing to help you. Some, like WomanTours and Adventure Cycling (the two with which Iíve travelled; www.womantours.com; www.adventurecycling.org) are happy to take care of all the details for you so that all you have to do is ride. Others, like Iron Donkey (a company whose services I want to use; www.irondonkey.com), can organize guided or self-guided tours with support ranging from none to complete.
If youíve done a guided tour and think you might be ready to tackle planning your own, go for it! After getting a couple of fully supported tours under our belts, Mandy and I decided to tackle the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia independently. We mapped out our route, booked hostels and hotels along the way, and had a fabulous two weeks exploring on our own. Trust me, if we can do it, so can you!
Whatever is on your bucket list, whether itís to ride to the next town or pedal around the world, get started planning! Youíll be surprised at how much easier it will be to plan than you think, and how much more satisfying to accomplish.
I canít wait to tell you about Bhutan, but until then, ride safe and have fun!