I assume that most of you reading this – like me – spend hours daydreaming about, and maybe even researching, your next vacation or weekend getaway.
As a cyclist, most of my spring and summer trip planning revolves around destinations on my “biking bucket list.” Of course, there are some bigger, more exotic trips in the back of my mind like some of the big stops on the Tour de France or Moab, Utah, but there are also several destinations closer to home that I’ve been dreaming of checking out. You might be thinking: “If you live in Whistler, why would you leave to go biking? There’s so much great riding right there!” And it’s true – I’m incredibly lucky to live in a mountain paradise. But there are benefits to taking that bike trip you’ve been dreaming about, big or small, and regardless of where you live.
CHANGE OF SCENERY
Get away from the places you associate with stress – work, household chores, etc. and discover the state of flow or presence that can come with removing yourself from your routine and experiencing new places and activities.
EXPERIENCE A NEW BIKE COMMUNITY
Check out the different vibe among riders in a new community. I’m usually pleasantly surprised by how friendly people seem in bike communities that I visit. More often than not, locals are eager to help give advice and maybe even show you around! I usually return home with a fresh attitude toward my local bike community and am more welcoming to the visitors who come to enjoy it.
LEARN SOMETHING NEW
On a trip to Los Angeles this spring with my family, my brother-in-law arranged for the two of us to rent road bikes so we could go on a couple rides. The rides were epic and beautiful, and it was so nice to be riding in the warm, seaside air in early May. The surprising benefit, for me, was that I discovered that the saddle I’d been using on my own bike was actually horribly uncomfortable compared to the one I’d been able to try on the rental bike. As a result of that trip I’ve replaced my saddle and thus avoided potentially years of unnecessary discomfort!
BIKE RIDES LEAVE TIME FOR OTHER EXPLORATION
This may not be true if you’re in the habit of doing 8-hour rides, but I’m not! I love trips planned around cycling because I’m spent after a few hours. That leaves plenty of time for other activities like eating and drinking, arts and culture, sightseeing and shopping. On a recent trip to Cumberland on Vancouver Island, my husband and I enjoyed the fantastic local pizzeria as well as the brewery, and I found a great dress at a cute consignment shop! We also spent time at our campsite reading books by the fire.
PLANNING A TRIP IS GOOD FOR YOU!
Studies have shown that just planning a trip can boost happiness – sometimes even as much as the trip itself! So go ahead and daydream! Have fun deciding where you’ll stay, where you’ll eat and drink, what sights or other activities you’ll check out, and where you’ll ride! I find that planning routes in areas that are new to me exercises my brain in a way that doesn’t happen too often – apps like Strava and Trailforks help me consider elevation, pit stops, viewpoints, etc. There’s also something to be said for leaving some of the planning for when you arrive – that way you can talk to folks at the local cycling shops and get their suggestions.
COME BACK GRATEFUL FOR YOUR LOCAL RIDING
It’s easy to take our home for granted – getting away always helps me to feel grateful for where I live and to appreciate my local trails, roads and riding community.
So go ahead and take that trip you’ve been dreaming about… where to go next?
Katie Findlay, proud ambassador of the PEPPERMINT Collective
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