2-Wheeled Therapy

People who have tried it say it’s therapeutic. What they mean is that doing it makes them feel calm and relaxed. It helps them feel better about themselves and their lives.

Forty years ago, a little-known organization called Adventure Cycling began promoting (encouraging) what they call “self-contained camping tours.” Bicycle riders, sometimes alone, sometimes with a small group of other riders, ride 40-70 miles (65-115 km) a day for a week, two weeks, or even several months. They carry everything they need on their bicycles. If they need more food and water, they stop along the road to buy it. When it’s time to eat, they prepare their own food. At night they camp out, sleep outside in tents and sleeping bags. When they’re in a scenic (impressive or beautiful) area, they stop to enjoy it.

One rider, on the Adventure Cycling website, said that her body and mind felt younger after riding 700 miles over 14 days, camping near beaches, going to sleep hearing crashing (loud noise of) waves, forgetting her work password and even forgetting what day of the week it was. She said the experience helped her prioritize (decide what’s important) the rest of her life.

Tyler Metcalfe was a photographer for National Geographic magazine. Earlier this year, he quit his job to ride Adventure Cycling’s most iconic (best known) ride, the TransAmerica Trail, from Washington, D.C. to the Pacific Ocean in the state of Washington (see map), by himself. That’s 4228 miles (6804 km), across 11 states, through 3 national parks, surrounded by  “diverse landscape (different scenery) that reflects (shows) the heart of America.”

He finished recently, 109 days after he started. He wrote that he “decided to cross the country by bike so that I could be captivated (have his attention filled) by every moment along the way.” Sometimes that meant cooking dinner with someone he met on the trail, sometimes it meant riding through a heavy rainstorm, or sleeping outside, “under the stars,” for several nights in a row. “I wanted to feel it all,” he wrote, and the experience “gave me an appreciation for the small details of every day.”

Some people, who only thought about the hard work of riding so far for so many days, said he was crazy. But Metcalfe said that traveling like this made it possible for him to slow down and experience the world at his own speed. It gave him “an opportunity to get lost, to spend time talking to strangers, and to fully embrace (welcome) the unexpected.”

Ready for some 2-wheeled therapy?

You can read Tyler Metcalfe’s articles on the National Geographic website.

~ Warren Ediger – ESL coach/tutor and creator of the Successful English website.

Map from National Geographic.

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9 Responses to 2-Wheeled Therapy

  1. Dan says:

    Hello guys.

    Where I live (Italy) I have observed an increasing number of electric bikes on the roads and new stores specialized on that particular kind of bike are popping up suggesting that it is a successful product.

    I am mentioning this just to suggest the idea that nowadays, with those bikes anyone at every level could be able to do tours such as the ones on Warren’s piece.

    As it is often the case, technology and scientific research are improving our lives to the better and opening up activities to everyone.

    Of course if one is able to carry that out on their own legs, without the help of an electronic battery it probably is more rewarding. I guess.

    Right now I am going to embark on a different kind of tour, voyage, adventure, that not require body action, a part of holding up my tablet and moving my eyes from left to right…
    Wish me luck because I am going to read War and Peace by Tolstoy or at least I am going to try.

    I decided to read it after reading a lovely history novel by Ildefonso Falcones Cathedral of the sea. I recommend it to everyone.

    I fell in love with the genre ^historical novel^ Google searched for similar books and found a list with War and Peace in it which is regarded by many as one of the greatest novels ever written.

    Thanks ciao.

  2. Tania says:

    I’d like a wheeled therapy, but I do not have a bike, hoping that I did not forget to ride a bike. I like the fresh air touching the face pedaling calm, relaxed…
    I have printed the map of the TransAmerica Trail.
    We have the National Geographic magazine but I have to see if it is issued in U.S. or
    it is a Romanian magazine.
    Interesting and Tyler Metcalfe’s articles.
    Thank you.

    Best wishes,


  3. Tania says:

    Hi, Dan!
    I know that you already have a bike.
    But now it is snowing especially in the mountains. But in spring… all trails are yours.
    Is it true? Is it snowing in the Alps? Please tell us more.
    Thank you for that you mention the books you are reading.
    All are new to me. Of course not and War and Peace.

    Best wishes,


  4. emiliano says:

    Now I walk, along lat month may be 150 km more or less, I have a watch “Fitbit” that measure all my walk, km, pulsation of the heart, steps and so forth.
    It is also for sportsmen but I am not.
    Just discovering Madrid that is an incredible beautiful city when you walk through
    the streets and look everything like a tourist.

    My best to you Dan and Tania.

  5. Myokoko says:

    Two-wheeled cure? What we’ve here today is, as Dan pointed out, more and more electric motor-bikes and motor-cycles in places of regular pedaled-bikes. Technology is to blame or what, I just dun know! 🙂 It’s very intriguing that more and more people are “willingly” choosing, what we can call, easier life styles. And finally what they got for that is short life span and more diseases. Well, one might just sighs and says that it serves them right.

  6. lili:) says:

    Dear teaches Jeff, Lucy and Warren

    Please let me thank you all for teaching me for several years, long enough for anyone to finish two degree courses.

    I’m sad I can’t listen to any new podcasts anymore because I stupidly lost my Premium Membership a little while ago and since then failed to re-register my membership.

    I stopped trying to re-register because I thought, well it might be God’s act because I’m not young anymore, better not to leave so many loose ends for someone else to sort out.

    I was left shocked and felt the world crashed down on so many people in this world on 1st December. It certainly has become the saddest Christmas for many people, and I couldn’t bring myself to say a word until today.

    Peter used to fear that one day we would not be able to learn from our great teachers here. Luckily it hasn’t happened completely. There are still ways to continue learning here.

    Dear Warren your post has inspired me to write something here. Thank you for continuing to encourage us to read good articles.

    I always wanted to write something here, to leave something behind when I have to return to nature one day.

    The earthquake on my beloved website on 1st December killed so many of my brain cells that I thought I would never be able to write again. But all of a sudden, I realised that I really should write as much as I could, before anything happens which would prevent me to write forever.

    Look forward to reading more stories from you all my dear teachers and fellow students.

    Best Wishes to you all.


  7. Dan says:

    Hey guys.

    At the moment my bike is inside a plastic bag till next spring.

    It is not that cold and you can still see hardcore cyclists biking with winter bike clothing on. Temperatures are around 35° F.
    No snow yet. Usually in my region during December is sunny and dry.
    The snow comes first three months of the year.

    During the summer I see several tourists biking with huge bags on either sides of their bikes. You can tell their are from northern Europe.

    I do not know where you guys live, but here biking is very popular.
    Especially during the warmer seasonso, on Sundays there are hundreds if not thousands of cyclists on the roads.
    And among those an ever increasing number of women.
    Keep in mind that I am talking about my region which is Lombardy. I am not sure about the rest of Italy.

    Thanks. Ciao.

  8. Peter says:

    Hey warren,

    You are really into cycling,aren’t u ?:)
    Well ,I m afraid we don’t share the same passion.
    Nothing against u ,though.
    People see things deffetentnly
    I myself into sporting activities
    I do laps every day
    1hpur and 10 minute strenuous swimming 5 day a week. Good thing about swimming is that it excercise all muscle in your entire body simultaneously which ,in long run ,makes you lean and mean,all toned up if u mean.it is beneficial both physically and mentally. It is very refreshing.
    Biking is a good excercise too.however one thing that I don’t like about is that biking work out just the lower body ,from waist done. Besides ,10 mimute into biking cyclers break a sweat as if u r flop sweating On the stage or something.
    Besides ,what if u caught in the train like in the middle of nowhere?by the time u manage to find a shelter out of rain u will be soaking wet and the bike seat will be drenched.jusy Got woth u if the seat on the bike gets a bit just dampened.it takes days for the damn thing to get completely dry. Just imagine what happens it is raining hard. Moreover ,biking makes u too expose to mosquito bites , viscous rodent ,sun burn abd what not. On top of all these u r required by law to wear the damn Helmet at all times while biking.vision that it is a soldering afterrning abd u r biking with the damn helmet on.unliess u wish to boil ur brain i think is not a smart move.
    Have u ever biked in the wind?
    Come bike in Toronto and God with u while doing it.
    traiks out of the cities tends to get mudy and slushy.good like biking through the mud specially when biking up hill.
    When do u take shower in the evening after hours of biking? U r right in the middle an intact scenic area all dreamy and beautiful and u are stinking the hell up the area.u feel all sticky from all the sweat u work during hours of biking. Where do u take shower.where do u go ? Don’t tell me that there is a ports potty in every step of the way to accommodate ur bowl movement.
    Man , just what bloos thirsty mosquitos do just with ur legs while paddling ur way through the masmerising scenic areas. They fest on ur body man. And good luck relaxing in ur tent while feeling itchy all over.

    Having said that ,I m intrigued warren
    I m off to get a bike

    Jezze ,what they were thinking


  9. emiliano says:

    Lili, so nice to read your post once more, thanks.

    My task now is to walk as much as possible.
    Today I was in the street at 15,30 walking, being in so many places that at the
    end I have returned at 21,30 after doing lot of photos, walked 16 km by Madrid´s
    city and Retiro Park.
    Retiro Park is so beauty that lot of foreigners were there, taking photos with
    their smart phones.
    Usually I have the two things, the smart phone and the good Panasonic camera
    with Leica lents and 30 of zoom.
    With it, the camera, I could take which ever good photo I want, and today has
    been a good nice day to do that.
    Autumn in Madrid is the best season to walk and to take nice incredible photos.

    Again, just a pleasure dear Lili, we all love you a lot.


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