A Day In The Life Of A Bicycle Traveler

by jpc_touring-bicycle

Whereas the essential schedule of any bicycle tour is just about the identical (get up, experience your bike after which fall asleep), the daily actions behind any bicycle tour can fluctuate vastly relying on the person, the situation of the tour, the climate situations and a lot of different components.

I often get requested, “What’s a typical day of bicycle touring like?”… and I normally battle to provide you with an excellent reply to this query as a result of evidently nearly day-after-day on tour is so totally different.

That’s why I’ve lately began a brand new sequence of articles right here on Bicycle Touring Professional titled, “A Day In The Life Of A Bicycle Traveler.”

Within the following article, I will likely be sharing with you my daily actions from my bicycle tour throughout South Africa – in a desert area referred to as the “Karoo.” My hope is that by studying the main points of my day, you should have a greater understanding of how time is spent on a self-supported bicycle tour, and it is possible for you to to raised plan your personal bicycle touring adventures.

If after studying the next article you might have any questions, simply depart a remark on the backside of this text and I’ll reply to you as quickly as I can.


7:07 AM – Yawn. “What time is it?” I feel to myself. There’s solar bursting by means of the roof of my tent and I can inform the temperature outdoors is rising. I verify the time on my iPod Contact after which roll over and return to sleep.

7:38 AM – “Okay, I have to rise up now,” I inform myself. It’s getting sizzling inside my tent and I received’t be capable to deal with this warmth for an excessive amount of longer. However I’m not likely able to get away from bed. I’m not a morning individual and I’m in no rush to interrupt camp. I’ve had a beautiful night out below the celebrities and I actually don’t wish to go anyplace… so I choose up my iPod once more and start studying an eBook by way of the Kindle app.

8:40 AM – After a number of chapters of intense studying, I lastly roll away from bed… and the very first thing I do is eat. I eat an apple lined in peanut butter, three biscuits, a banana and a liter of water.

8:57 AM – Now totally awake, I modify into my using garments. No bathe at this time. I’m within the desert and there isn’t a lot water round. It must be a chicken tub for me at this time. After altering my garments, I placed on my footwear after which exit my tent. I’m going to the restroom (number one and a pair of when you actually should know), blow my nostril and brush my enamel.

9:15 AM – After my journey to the restroom (which is admittedly only a small shrub and a pile of rocks positioned about 100 paces from my campsite), I start to slowly break camp. I pack my panniers, deflate my air mattress after which break down my tent whereas on the similar time consuming one other banana.

9:55 AM – Simply 5 minutes earlier than 10 AM, I lastly end packing up my issues. I load all 4 panniers, my deal with bar bag, my photo voltaic panel and the bag containing my tripod and tent poles onto my bicycle after which go searching my campsite for something I could be by chance forsaking. There’s nothing, so I throw one leg over the bike and slowly start my experience downhill to the principle highway.


10:00 AM – It’s about 300 meters till I hit the grime highway that may ultimately take me again to the N1 – the massive, paved freeway I’ve been biking on for the previous a number of days. As soon as on the gravel highway, I flip the bike towards a close-by wind-powered water pump. My objective is to sneak over to the pump and replenish my water bottles earlier than I get again on the highway. With out this water, I may not make it to my vacation spot for the night time.

10:10 AM – I replenish my water bottles and wash my face within the small stream of liquid popping out of the bottom. I might actually use a bathe, however that must wait. “Perhaps I’ll get a bathe tonight?” I feel to myself, “Or possibly tomorrow?”

10:20 AM – With my water bottles full and my face partially clear, I put together to hit the highway. I put my earphones in and switch the music up load. It’s only a brief experience up the grime highway earlier than I’m again on the N1.

10:28 AM – Again on the principle highway now, I cease for a fast photograph after which flip left. The freeway is comparatively quiet at the moment of day. The visitors is average and passing rapidly (120+ km/hour), however there’s a enormous shoulder to experience in and I really feel completely secure.


11:20 AM – It’s actually sizzling out and all that water I drank this morning causes me to should cease and pee (on the facet of the highway – there aren’t any bogs anyplace to be discovered).

11:23 AM – I apply a skinny layer of sunscreen after which I’m again on the highway!

11:36 AM – It’s almost midday, however I’m making some progress. A big inexperienced highway signal tells me that it’s now 20 km to Prince Albert Street and 135 km to Beaufort West. I’m not planning to make it to Beaufort West at this time, however I hope to make it there someday tomorrow. My objective for the day is to cowl half that distance, roughly 70+ kilometers.

12:00 PM – I’m overlaying a whole lot of floor after I cease to take a photograph and notice that the battery in my digicam is sort of lifeless. Fortunately, I’m carrying a number of spare batteries, so I simply come out the present battery and put in a fully-changed one. I make a psychological be aware to myself to recharge this used battery simply as quickly as I’ve entry to {an electrical} outlet.

12:08 PM – I’m again on the highway now, pedaling alongside an extended, flat highway that climbs and falls at nearly unnoticeable percentages. The wind is in my face, however I hardly discover it and simply maintain using.


12:15 PM – One other massive inexperienced highway signal signifies that I’ve lined one other 10 kilometers. It’s now solely 10 km to Prince Albert Street, 50 km to Leeu-Gamka (my objective for the day), and 125 km to Beaufort West.

12:55 PM – I arrive at Prince Albert Street and rapidly notice there’s little to be discovered there. A small fuel station and a hole-in-the-wall comfort retailer are collectively manned by roughly six lazy staff. There isn’t any water on the market – solely soda, so I buy a 2.5 liter bottle of Sprite. I ask if they’ve any ice cream. It’s sizzling and an ice cream sounds fantastic, however they haven’t received any. Nor have they got recent meals of any form. It’s all simply packaged, plastic, junk. I really feel like I might eat a horse (regardless that I’m vegetarian), however I depart Prince Albert Street with nothing greater than an enormous bottle of soda.

1:10 PM – As I pull out of the fuel station on the nook of the N1 and Prince Albert Street, a toothless hitchhiker jokingly asks me for a experience on the again of my bicycle. I inform him, “In case you peddle, I’ll provide you with a experience.” He laughs… and I proceed on my means.

1:36 PM – I’m making progress now! One other inexperienced signal informs me that it’s now solely 30 km to Leeu-Gamka and 105 km to Beaufort West.

2:04 PM – As I attain the following inexperienced signal, declaring the truth that I’m one other 10 km nearer to my objective for the day, I swap out  my music with a Polish audio course I’ve been listening to for the final a number of months. The audio classes are about 30-minutes lengthy, so I resolve I’ll take heed to a lesson earlier than switching again to my “biking tunes.”

2:33 PM – My Polish audio lesson involves an finish on the precise second I go one other inexperienced signal. This one tells me I’m now solely 10 km from Leeu-Gamka and 85 km from Beaufort West.

3:00 PM I arrive in Leeu-Gamka at 3 PM precisely. The place is small, with little round. I pull into the one and solely fuel station, anticipating one more small retailer full of soda and plastic cookies and sweet bars, however am delighted after I see there’s a small restaurant connected to the fuel station. I park my bike outdoors the restaurant’s massive glass window after which saunter inside, rapidly ordering myself a cheese and tomato sandwich with a big order of french fries and a chocolate milkshake. Once more, not the healthiest of meals, however it was the most effective of what was obtainable. Such is life on the highway typically!


3:53 PM – I might sit contained in the restaurant for one more hour or two (it’s sizzling outdoors and my legs are sore), however it’s getting late and I would like to start out on the lookout for a spot to spend the night time. I buy a number of goodies on the handy retailer positioned subsequent door to the restaurant after which load my meals provide for the following day onto my fully-loaded touring bike.

3:55 PM – Simply earlier than I pull out of the fuel station, one of many bored fuel station attendants calls over to me, “The place ‘re ya occurring dat ting?” To which I reply, “Swaziland!” He smiles from ear to ear and appears round in disbelief. I think about he’s pondering to himself, “This man should be loopy!”

4:00 PM – I bought an ice cream on the fuel station handy retailer earlier than I left, however I didn’t wish to eat it there, so I put it in my handlebar bag, rode up the highway only a brief methods, discovered a stone wall to take a seat on, and loved my ice cream whereas calmly watching a sluggish stream of visitors go me by.

4:11 PM – “Okay,” I say to myself, “Time to discover a place to sleep for the night time.” I leap again on my bicycle and pedal east.

4:28 PM – I go an indication saying it’s now 70 km to Beaufort West.

5:00 PM – The solar is beginning to go down and I do know that I’ve solely received about an hour and a half earlier than it will get actually darkish. I have to discover a place to camp for the night time, so after I see a facet highway that leads off into the gap, I flip onto it, cycle down a brief gravel road, then flip proper onto a mud highway that parallels a set of rusty prepare tacks. I’m biking west now, again within the route I’ve come from, however I’m far off the principle highway now. I’m simply on the lookout for a gap within the barbed-wire fence, the place I can pull my bike inside for the night time and discover a place to sleep. Fortunately, I’m capable of finding such a gap about 2 km down the highway. I flip left and cross over the railroad tracks I’ve been following after which let myself right into a gated off space the place a small variety of cattle are roaming close to an outdated stone, brick and adobe damage.

5:07 PM – The ruins are removed from civilization they usually give me some shelter from the wind, so I resolve to camp there for the night time. Earlier than establishing my tent, nevertheless, I scout out the situation, making be aware of a close-by stream (the place wild animals are positive to assemble within the night time) and a small cemetery lined in chain hyperlink fence and barbed-wire (the saddest cemetery I’ve ever seen). There are animal tracks in every single place I look and I attempt to select a spot for my tent that’s out of the way in which of passing creatures within the space.

5:20 PM – Now utterly sure that this will likely be my dwelling for the night, I start establishing my tent.


5:40 PM – Twenty minutes later my tent is ready up, my air mattress is inflated, my sleeping bag is ready and my panniers are faraway from my bicycle and saved inside my tent.

5:48 PM – I’ve received lower than an hour of daylight left, so I resolve to take advantage of it by studying some extra of my e-book, whereas sitting on a close-by pile of rocks that overlooks the valley beneath, and on the similar time stretching my sore physique. I attempt to stretch nearly day-after-day, however I don’t do it almost as usually as I ought to.

6:43 PM – It’s almost darkish now. The solar is about to utterly disappear for the night time and several other small bats fly above my head. I take away the headlamp from considered one of my panniers and put together to crawl inside my tent.

6:50 PM – An animal (one thing just like a coyote, I feel) calls within the distance and a single mosquito chew on my leg prompts me to name it an evening. I leap inside my tent and eat two vegetable sandwiches, utilizing among the substances I used to be capable of choose up on the handy retailer in Leeu-Gamka only a couple hours earlier than.


7:06 PM – After consuming my dinner, I leap outdoors to brush my enamel actually fast, then I modify my garments and leap again inside my tent. I’m soiled and sweaty, however there isn’t sufficient water round to clean my face or bathe in any means. It has been greater than 4 days now since I final had a bathe. I’m wanting ahead to reaching Beaufort West so I can hire a lodge room there and at last take a bathe.

7:14 PM – Again inside my tent, I whip out my laptop computer pc, and utilizing the SIM activated USB stick I bought in Cape City, try and entry the Web. I’m out in the midst of nowhere, however I’m able to set up a connection. It’s tremendous sluggish and the one factor I can do is verify and reply to my emails, in order that’s what I do. It takes a complete hour.

8:14 PM – Emails now sorted, I put the pc away and return to my eBook, studying for the following hour and a half.

9:45 PM – I’ve been contained in the tent for a number of hours now and I’m getting drained. I put my iPod away, take one final swig of water, after which I name it a day. My head hits the sleeping bag and I’m out. My day is over and I sleep soundly, dreaming your complete time concerning the bathe I hope to obtain in Beaufort West the next day.


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