Hitting the road and accepting the challenges
By former tour advisor Chloe Krueger
Going solo on a bike tour can be daunting. I think the hardest part about it is the unknown. Will I be able to find my way on my own? What happens if I get lost all by myself? Will I be able to communicate with others (when I don’t know the language) There is so much security provided by having a companion. Someone to ask questions, collaborate, and help, if need be.
Going by yourself means you have to rely on yourself. For me this was a positive experience. I learned a lot. Not only about the places I traveled, but about myself.
First up, getting to your destination. To be clear, BikeTours.com does not book planes or trains or boats, or yaks, or any other means of getting to your tour. But, this is part of the experience that you want to be easy, simple, and painless.
Unfortunately, traveling can sometimes end up being the exact opposite of that. As my plane rides turned from two into three, layovers changed from two hours to seven, and endless hours were spent in line booking new tickets with about 300 other irritate people and staring at airport ceilings, I was doubting all my life choices. I was exhausted, hungry, upset, and beyond over it. But I made it (finally) to my destination, Prague.
You may be wondering what this has to do with anything… bear with me.
While I did not have the day to wander about Prague as I had planned, I did have a few hours of daylight left. I quickly put my belongings away in my hotel room, refreshed myself, and took a walk-about until it was time to grab some grub.
I wandered around the area immediately around my hotel. As tired as I was, I was not about to start trekking across town, but there was no way I was not going to soak in at least a few hours of the beauty and quirkiness that is Prague.
I snapped some pictures and immersed myself in the food culture immediately with a Radler (sprite and beer) and vepro knedlo zelo (A typical Czech meal of pork with gravy and sauerkraut, and potato dumplings). Yum!
When traveling, you have to roll with the punches. And if you are solo, you have to keep your own spirits up and just keep movin’. It’s not always easy, but in the end, it pays off and you will have great memories and can be proud of yourself and your accomplishments.
The other biggest challenge for me on the Prague to Vienna via Cesky Krumlov tour was the tour itself. While I spend plenty of time commuting around Chattanooga (where I reside) on my bike and am fairly athletic, I am no seasoned cyclist. But, I signed myself up for a Level 3 tour. I knew it would be tough.
And it was tough. But, it ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the tour. I enjoy physical challenges, and I think that it enhanced my experience to combine a new place and culture with an athletic pursuit. Cuz what makes food taste better than a hard day of cycling? What makes a beautiful overlook more rewarding than all the climbing you had to do to get there? And what makes traveling across a country better than knowing you did it powered by your own body and mind?
Chloe is a 20-something resident of Chattanooga, TN (BikeTours.com headquarters). She is an avid rock climber and enjoys all things nature, reading, and traveling who recently returned from two bike tours abroad: the Prague to Vienna via Cesky Krumlov guided tour and the Danube Bike Path 7 nights self-guided tour.