Hello! You have probably got here searching for that exact question. That's great, because I have some good information for you to help with your quest to find the ideal gap year. Are you sick of the lack of original ideas for your gap year?
Do you wish that you could guarantee yourself a really authentic travel experience? Is the blue branding of STA travel in your university travel agent starting to get kind of sickening? Are you bored of trying to decide between a selection of pictures in a brochure? If so then this may be for you...
Why not go cycle touring? You are probably thinking: sounds like a lot of hard work, sweat, I'm not a cyclist, or what even is that? Do you know anything about cycle touring? If not then you have found the key to a real gem of an activity.
Cycle touring is when you get a bike, doesn't really matter which one, put some bags on it with your stuff in it, check you have some money and your passport, point your bike at the horizon, and start pedalling. You have freedom to explore and go at your own pace. Forget about the crazy iternaries, that force you to think about your next destination instead of enjoying yourself in the moment. Going slowly means you see things at a rate that allows you to get all the value from your experience.
Cycle touring is a brilliant way to spend your gap year because it is cheap, you get fit, you are really in contact with your environment and poeple of where you visit. Borders are easier to cross. People are friendly because you turned up on a bike and treat you less like a tourist. You get used to the travelling experience so you get stronger and feel less paranoia about meeting nasty people on your travel. I cycled all the way from England to India, round India, across Nepal, and on a separate trip, across a remote part of Mongolia, and never once did a feel threatened.
I am a six foot tall guy, BUT, a very good friend of mine, a GIRL, Emily Chappell, is currently cycling all the way round the world, and is currently in China and she has met reams of friendly people along the way... Check out her blog at http://www.thatemilychappell.com. You don't have to be strong, fit, male, or sporty in any way to go cycle touring. It is a just another means of transport.
So why not give cycle touring a chance, even if it is just for a portion of your gap year. There are loads of brilliant resources on the net. There are tonnes of people cycle touring as we speaking, some as a holiday, some as a lifestyle, and many of them blog about it, and many have even written books (see the links at the bottom of the page). I have written a book about a portion of my journey, called 'Weave of the Ride'. About cycling from England, across Europe and Turkey, to the Caucasus. I wrote it as a introduction to cycle touring, to inspire people to go on a cycle tour.
When I first was curious about cycle touring, it was reading a couple of books from the library that really sparked the idea off and made it seem much more feasible to do. There are loads of great websites about cycle touring. Here are some of them:
And if you are interested in visiting a specific place, then I can hook you up with a great cycle guiding company in Georgia. More information on their website at http://www.georidersmtb.com
Thanks! Get out there on your bike! and enjoy yourself.
Adventure, Asia, Europe, Tips, how to, advice, Cycle Tour Planning