I like to bike. I don’t think I love to bike … but I love what biking brings me.
I suppose my favourite thing about cycling is experiencing the weather. I love it all … too hot, too rainy, too windy and too cold. I can pretty much dress for whatever the weather and enjoy the ride.
Next up … I enjoy the elevated heart rate. Cycling is good for the body and the brain.
I prefer to ride with others who are of similar ability … I like to race. However, I also like to ride alone. I like leaving … and I like getting back home. I especially enjoy early morning rides when the sun is rising … or later evening rides when the sun is dropping. I like riding in mid morning, mid afternoon – or even high noon. I like exploring new routes, seeing new things … and when traveling – experiencing new cultures from a bike saddle.
In this brief blog, I want to explain that to travel with a bike, you will be much happier and more successful if you practice being Stoic.
I have many friends and acquaintances who are triathletes. Many of my friends are Type “A” personality … and have done or are planning to do an Ironman. In training, they will travel to Mallorca, Maui, and/or California and travel to races in Quebec, Arizonia, Germany, and “God willing”, Kona.
For this group … you have no choice … you MUST pack and transport your bike. Your family understand this. Being Stoic during the process will help you.
I’m currently travelling at 3,800 ft on West Jet to Calgary via Toronto from Dominican Republic.
I spent a few days in Cabarette and about 10 days in Las Galeras, the Samana Peninsula. It was my Mom’s 80 birthday celebration. My 5 brothers and sisters were there, my wife and kids, and most of my nieces and nephews. We were 22 people – and it was great.
However, I wasn’t going on a cycling trip. The priorities were clearly: family, hopefully some kite surfing with my son, perhaps some cycling … ‘god willing’.
If you fancy yourself a cycling enthusiast … a cyclist … then you may wish to bring your bike on your next travel. Your next travel could be for work, it could be for a one week vacation with your sweetheart, or it could be a 3 month bike touring trip. If you plan to be successful on actually ‘getting out the door’ and bringing your bike, you should practice being Stoic.
You see, nearly everyone will try to convince you not to take your bike. Your friends and family love you. They think that you will die. People fear the unknown. I fear the unknown. It is much much easier NOT to bring your bike. Your spouse will be happier. Your kids will be happier. Your Mom will be happier. They think you will live … and be safe.
However, if you are like me … you will be much happier to have your bike along … and sneak out for at least one ride. When your spouse, kids, and Mom see your smile after your ride, or from your selfie on Facebook or Instagram … they will smile too.
Where you need to be Stoic:
-Announcing to your family a few weeks prior … I’m going to x and I’m taking my bike; (Actually, I suggest you say … “I’d like to take my bike”. At this point it is kind of far into the future … and they will not normally object … yet.)
-Googling bike routes near x place. If you are like me … you won’t find any … and begin to question if you should bring your bike; (While googling x place, you will learn about why it’s dangerous to bike here.)
-A week to a few days prior to departure. If you are like me … you have not organized a bike box. You need to either: find your bike box which is back far in the garage behind many things; go to a bike store and ask for a used card board box; buy a proper bike box; or borrow a bike box. This is the most important place to be stoic.
-The day prior to travel. You will be too busy to pack your bike. If you tell your spouse, or your Mom … they will emphasize with you … and remind you about all the reasons why you should not take your bike anyway. I suggest waking up really early prior to your spouse and “Just Do It” … pack your bike while they are sleeping. When they wake, act as if it was not big deal.
It gets easier from here … but you must still practice Stoicism.
-Driving to the Airport … which car will we bring. Will the bike fit in?
-Checking in at the Airport. You Made it! Now the surprises begin. Keep a straight face … don’t let the surprises bug you. Expect to pay $100 for your bike at check in. Always say Thank You no matter what they charge you … it’s never the same. You get to travel with your bike!!!
-Security … checking your bike bag at Over-sized security. You are committed at this point … and will be taking your bike. It is here that you must remain stoic to enjoy yourself. If you are traveling with you non cycling spouse, they will be watching over you … possibly adding to the stress .. and huffing and puffing. About 80% of the time, I will have to unpack my bike for security. (Really … it’s no big deal.) Just unpack it. Note: when packing at home … don’t use a lot of tape.
-Some tips: Don’t deflate your tires too much (80psi is fine for tires that can run 110); don’t take CO2 cartridges; bring a pump that fits in your jersey (try using it at home); you can pack a lot of stuff in the bike bag (your cycling gear, kite surfer, etc. However, be sure to keep it under 50lbs … and lighter is better.
-This morning when checking in my oversized baggage at Toronto … I had the very worst ‘duck’ like person. She was a real cow. For the first time ever, I had to take everything out of my bike bag … place it in tubs, and run it through the scanner. She was rude, spoke like a squirrel, and was really unpleasant.
Traveling with a bike has gotten tricker in the 15 years since I started doing it. I expect it will continue to be even more unpleasant and difficult at the airport – as our ‘officers’ become more like robots and less like people. You see, we slow things down with our bikes … and their bosses are watching … and there are people lined up behind us … who get cranky as well.
Screw them … you got your bike.
I need to practice being stoic.