We know our programs are unique and that people who
would otherwise enjoy an Ibike Tour sometimes have doubts about whether
they are right for
them. We have collected a few thoughts that we think will help
reconsider. If your doubt isn't addressed here please write to us
about it at ibike @ibike.org. Another resource for getting a
sense of the program is the comment section.
Doubt 1: "The program is too strenuous."
While the programs involve outdoor physical
activity and are real bicycle touring experiences, it is far from an Ironman competition.
The program is designed for ordinary active people. No part of
the program is a race and no one is left behind. As a practical
matter, most sections work best if you can
ride at a modest eight to ten miles an hour. The average day is about
40 miles, so that is a four or five hour ride. (For those who
want more challenge, it is always easy to add additional activities.) We have had complete
novice cyclists, who had to buy a bike and apply for their first
passports, participate on the program, and have a wonderful time.
A big key to enjoyment of the program is motivation, enthusiasm and curiosity,
"The program is too rustic."
Some programs have a strong element of living
simply, but at most it is two weeks of minimalism and then you can
return to your regular material comforts (note: some programs are very comfortable
throughout). Even on the programs with the least creature
comforts we stay in modern accommodations at the beginning and the
end of the programs and every few days throughout the itinerary so
the longevity of the deprivation is not terribly severe. A lot
of the world lives simply 24/7/365, so sharing a few days of this
lifestyle can create empathy, understanding and maybe spiritual
Doubt 3: "The
world is a hostile place."
First we are very selective about where we
go. Sometimes you may see a problem in the region, but often a
problem 100 miles away might as well be 10,000 miles away. We
follow the news religiously and we are careful to make changes
when they are warranted. Second, from our experience, a huge
part of the world is not hostile -- quite the contrary. One of
great rewards of these programs is to receive the warm hospitality
that we do and to
experience that most of the world is not at all as it is conveyed in the media. Third, while government may be belligerent we
have found citizens/people are, almost universally, extraordinarily welcoming of guests
regard to their country of origin or either government's
policies. Experiencing this "one-world" phenomenon is very
heart warming, reaffirming and rejuvenating. There is a lesson to be learned
Peace through tourism - we need more of it - keep traveling!
Doubt 4: "It is unhealthy."
combination of good exercise, good sleep, good food, carefully
selected water supply, and taking other precautions we have had many
programs that are 100% healthy. Diligence counts for a lot.
We provide guidance on this in the pre-departure materials and
throughout the program.
Doubt 5: "It is unsafe."
On our feedback form we ask each participant if the
felt safe. We have never had a response in the negative.
We select routes, accommodations and activities that reduce risk.
All the same, risk is inherent in all activities so you need to act in ways
that don't elevate your risk. We provide guidance on this.
Doubt 6: "I'll be traveling alone."
Most participants come alone; some are single and
some are married traveling without their spouse. Occasionally people
come with friends; we have had newly wed on the program, and
seasoned couples, as well. Our groups are very welcoming and
inclusive so it can work in any configuration.
Doubt 7: "It too geekish, too groupie, too hardcore,
too laidback ..."
The great thing about bicycle tours is how easy it is to make them what you want
them to be. If you want to be
gregarious you can do that. If you want to be more solitary
and have time for thought and reflection, you can do that. If
you want to party with the locals, you can do that. If you want to
talk, learn and gain insight, you can do that. On our programs
no two people
have exactly the same trip. While a lot of camaraderie generally
develops on the trips across ages, interests and gender, you don't have to worry
a lot about anyone
else's travel style.
We hope you will join us on a tour soon. Please let
us know if you have any questions.