Perhaps you know what I’m talking about. You spend years dreaming about your next tour and finally a window opens up. You spend hours at the computer accessing the best routes. You identify all of the areas where you will be away from services. You work on the bike nonstop to get it perfect. You are constantly playing with your gear set up, buying new gear, selling old gear, and then adjusting how you place it on the bike. This goes on for months. Once you are all set you dive into making all of the travel arrangements to get to your launch point. You pack everything you will need for the upcoming trek in a cardboard box and ship it or bring it on a plane with you. Finally it’s day one of your tour. Finally after months or years of prep you are on your way, but the bike ride is only a small slice of how a tour comes off.
Day 1 things go wrong but you drive on. Day 2 things break but you persevere. You become a food eating pedal spinning machine. You revel in the spiritual awakening that is pushing it to the limits. You become a ‘Bicycle Touring Project Manager’ and carefully twist your way from point A to point B. You eat, you ride, you rest and you do it all over again every day. You marvel at things that work and you erupt in disappointment as things don’t. Water is as important as it should be. Endorphins fill the mind and body. People cheer you on. You are doing it. Your were prepared to do it. The journey isn’t really about the bike ride it’s about you. It began in the planning stage and has taken you this far.
You arrive at your destination…now what?
You stop eating but your body is still screaming for 5,000 calories per day.
Instead of riding 100 miles today and tomorrow you rest and your body stops producing all those feel good endorphins.
You try to workout and it hurts. You think I can ride 100 miles but I can’t run 6 miles?
You get a bit confused. You rest a little more. You celebrate with foods that were not available while on tour. You drink some beer.
Welcome to the Post Bicycle Tour Depression – PBTD
Ok…how does one avoid Post Bicycle Tour Depression – PBTD? here are some things I have tried that do not work.
- A.] Tour Longer – If you are nearing your end point and wish it could still keep going then ride right past your end point and keep going.
- B.] End Strong – Make the last week of your tour as difficult route wise as possible e.g. Death Valley.
- C.] Transition Plan – Have a plan that makes the most of your touring-problem solving mindset that takes you back to regular life.
None of these have worked for me. Normally I fall into a mental abyss immediately after a tour ends. The physical abyss starts a couple days to a week after.
It’s amazing to me how well the human body adapts to a change from being stuck behind a desk all day to logging an average of 100 miles per day. I have never trained for any of my tours. I basically take it easy for the first week with achievable goals of 60-85 miles. By the time week two roles around I am hitting the century almost everyday. Perhaps if I trained more I would suffer less of a drop off, but there is a new method I have come up with.
- D.] No Destination – Having no set goal. I will tour forever.
Quit my job forever and just bicycle tour. I am Project Manager/Designer/Developer working for a large media company. All day long I solve problems for the owners of a large network of websites so that they can be profitable. Why can’t I have my own site, centered on something I love, something I spend all of my free time pursuing, researching, outfitting, and planning for…Welcome to BicycleHobo.com.
I will fend off Post Bicycle Tour Depression – PBTD by not stopping. I will adjust my lifestyle so that I can be on the road full time. I will harness the resources of the world wide web and the spirit of people like you – ‘Bicycle Tourists’ to live and worship the Bicycle Touring lifestyle full time. This will hopefully ‘give back’ to the community who follows my adventures and hopefully provide me a meager income through sponsorships, affiliate links, and pay per click ads. I am going through some changes in my life where I am about to deprecate a large chunk of debt and monthly living costs. After this adjustment I will be able to live on $10-$15 dollars a day for my upcoming Deadhorse, Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego bike trip. If I can capture some interesting content along the way and keep my publishing consistent I hope to be able to support myself through this website.
Does anyone think that is possible except me? How do you deal with Post Bicycle Tour Depression – PBTD?