Friday Group Ride #231

Friday Group Ride #231

Scenario 1 – You are independently wealthy. It’s not family money, and it’s not lottery cash. You earned it. One of your brilliant ideas panned out, and the proceeds have allowed you to live a life of relative leisure. Other than business meetings in Hong Kong and Zurich, other than teaching a class in contemporary business ethics at a school not quite Ivy League in stature, you get to make a lot of choices about how you spend your time.

Scenario 2 – After a lifetime of service to a company that started out small and ended up global, you have been made redundant by a better-educated peer in the developing world who is willing to work for less. As a diligent and hard-working person, you saw this coming, even participated in the training of your own replacement, so you set aside some money, and of course there is unemployment. It’s going to be ok. It’s not a setback. It’s an opportunity.

Scenario 3 – You are what is known, in some circles, as a dirtbag. You put adventure in front of stability. Any significant other who hopes to achieve any true level of significance needs to understand that living out of a van is a noble lifestyle choice, not a shortcoming. You have no interest in a mortgage, a career or, if we’re honest, paying taxes. If you’re lucky, you can eke out a sponsorship that keeps you in reasonable equipment and ample free time. If you can’t, you can hope the aforementioned significant other is willing to clothe and feed you while you seek your bliss.

This week’s Group Ride asks, which of these scenarios is most likely to arise in your life, and given the time afforded thereby, what one place would you choose to ride your bike? Let’s say you’ve got 30 days of ride time. Where do you spend it?

My recent travels suggest that a month can be burned almost anywhere. The Pacific Northwest? Yes. Great Britain? Easily. France? That’s a lay up. How about Argentina? South Africa? Have you seen the mountain biking, not to mention the road riding, in either the Philippines or Vietnam?  Where do you go?

Image: Wikimedia – Jason Hollinger

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  1. peter lin

    I would ride across as many states as time and legs allow. I’ve only lived on West and East coast and haven’t seen the rest of the US. I can’t think of a better way to see these states than cycling at a casual pace. One day I hope to ride across the US and see as many states as I can and learn about our country first hand.

  2. Hoshie99

    IRegardless for the reason behind the “sabbatical”, I’d see a few good times:

    1) I just got back from Vancouver. I’d love to do a multi-day tour of the BC region with a mixed terrain bike as I suspect there is a ridiculous bounty not to mention crawling down into the Olympic Penninsula. Vancouver Island could be a week by itself easy.

    2) I’ve always wanted to do an extended European trip and I’d highlight Italy and some of the surrounding mountain areas either into southern France or into the Alps from Northern Italy.

    Lastly, if the sabbatcal is a little less robust, I’d be happy to ride from Northern CA down here to SoCal and detour into the Sierras on the way for a few weeks. I just got Summerton’s Climbing in CA book and there is a rich bounty of climbing and back roads in this crazy state.

    So much world, so little time. Heck, I was daydreaming about the Northeast after seeing the D2R2 story….


  3. Jan

    I’d love to ride in Europe, in Africa, and in Asia. Also South America, the Pan American highway (but only if the cars and trucks weren’t too scary). Those are fantasy places, for me. With the semester about to begin, this seems like a cruel question, but then, if I actually lost my job, I’d be to engulfed in panic to imagine riding anywhere.

  4. Michael

    Hmm, good questions. I guess my situation is sort of a combination of the three scenarios. I have been working long enough and made good money but never really developed a high lifestyle, so saved a lot, and now in my early-mid-fifties am able to retire whenever I decide to. Just haven’t decided to yet, because my job takes me all over the world and I can bring my coupler bike (and sometimes my family). I have always loved riding in Ireland and Italy and France, as well as Scandinavia (in the summer). Argentine Patagonia is great on a cross or mountain bike (touring or day riding, respectively). But I have to say I agree with Peter – there are so many parts of North America that are not the US West that I haven’t explored – work just never takes me there. That would be my current first choice for a few months’ trip.

  5. peter leach

    “… which of these scenarios is most likely to arise in your life …”?
    I’d have to say: “None of them really”. I don’t think that I fit the ‘dirt bag’ scenario. I don’t think that I’m going to find myself independently wealthy [without some intervention from the lottery gods]. I don’t work for a small company that’s gone global.
    But, given the time afforded by any of the scenarios, I certainly have that “… one place would you choose to ride your bike?” covered. Thirty days. 100km a day. Sure the days could be longer, but an average of 100 km a day for 30 days isn’t too bad – given rest days and the fact that you’re out to enjoy it, not just ride – means 3,000 kms.
    My first thoughts were: “That’s almost Perth to Sydney”. Sadly, it’s straight line distance is almost 3,300km and the road distance is more like 4,000km. And a lot of the trip would be just riding.
    So, I turned to other thoughts.
    Staying in Australia, I think that I’d opt to do one of my ‘silly thoughts’. Just turn up at my Mum’s front door, unannounced. Mum: “How did you get here?” Me: “I was just out for a ride”.
    Then thoughts of other places came to me and I feel that my preferred scenario would be to ride through Europe. No fixed destination, but probably a ‘river ride’. Riding the length of the Rhine, the Mosel or the Danube. Taking my time. With my wife.
    Thirty days well spent.
    ps. Riding the length of the Murray would have me start just over a day’s ride form home and finish a day’s ride from my Mum – there’s a thought 🙂

  6. Pat O'Brien

    None of those scenarios will occur in my life since we are already retired. We do not have a lot of money; we have enough. We could ride for 30 days if we wanted. But we enjoy our home, home town, little dog, friend and other hobbies. We both own touring bikes, and want to do more bike overnight trips. Our dream trip would be a week long tour in the Texas hill country or on Route 66 in Arizona and New Mexico.

  7. kurti_sc

    Oh man, I was just discussing scenario two with a colleague this week. And my plans then boasted of riding from the coast at Normandie all the way through Europe, up into Russia, and down into China where I’ll catch a train and take it to the coast…perhaps with a stop or two along the way. However, I think I’d need more than 30 days. Maybe more like 70 days. And of course, the whole region would have to calm down a bit. Epic and beautiful for sure, though.

  8. daryl lister

    i,m already a bit of a dirtbag and i already live in the philippines. The roads here are full of fun and adventure and badly driven jeepneys. The foods cheap and the mountains are tall and so are the stories the other dirtbags tell but it beats the mortgage car payment debt paying bullshit i lived before. If you want to come here bring a sense of humour, sunscreen, plenty of patience and a triple crankset, you,ll need all four…

  9. August Cole

    Ride from the Alhambra in Spain, across North Africa then into Beirut exploring the Islamic Mediterranean. It would be a hell of a book, wouldn’t it? May need a few years to get the kids out of the house first before I tackle that region … It’s been almost two decades since my last international bike touring and I still talk about it like it was yesterday. As the kids get older, I’d like to first bike in Quebec, then over in Europe after doing plenty of riding in New England.

    In the interim, I’d take 30 truly full-day (8-10 hours or so) rides in a calendar year!

  10. Aar

    Scenario 2 is closest to likely for me.

    I would love to spend Classics season in Belgium – ridin’ and geekin’. Alternatively, riding across the US.

  11. Jay

    Scenario 2 is the most likely of the three. I would like to ride the Belgian cobblestones, ride some of the classic climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees. The rides most likely to come to fruition, however, are Mount Washington, and Colorado in general.

  12. Adam

    Situation 2, albeit slightly modified is most applicable to my current situation. Having resigned from a well paying job in a downturning industry in Australia to move to Whistler in Canada to ride mountain bikes as much as possible.

    A realistic ride would be Vancouver to Los Angeles. 2000ish kilometres in 30 days is plenty of time to take some time to explore.

  13. John Kopp

    I am retired on an adequate pension, so time and money is no obstacle. I would love to ride across the country, but would want to take all summer to do it. A month isn’t enough time to stop and enjoy all the wonderful sights along the way. Then several trips through Europe would be wonderful. Guess I have to reprioritize part of my life.

  14. Miles Archer

    Scenario 2 is not that unlikely.

    I always thought riding across the US would be fun. Road riding in New Zealand is appealing as is Vietnam.

  15. Derek

    I think any of us trying to fit one of those three descriptions will fall short.
    “Brian Johnson: Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us… In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…
    Andrew Clark: …and an athlete…
    Allison Reynolds: …and a basket case…
    Claire Standish: …a princess…
    John Bender: …and a criminal…
    Brian Johnson: Does that answer your question?… Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.
    I might be more defensive than most because I have a lovely wife who is sticking with me through yet another round of hospital bills that will certainly approach if not exceed my yearly salary and so I clearly fall more towards the dirtbag side of life. 79 Blazer was my home of choice for a while. She came from the money, most of which she worked for, three jobs in the LA area and boyfriend with muchos dineros. She left him, no comment. Then she left that lavish livestyle to move in with me (renting a dwelling was mandatory) in Leadville CO. We don’t live in the mountains anymore but she has stuck with me. Colorado Springs was a compromise although she preferred Boulder. She could have done your thirty day ride every year instead today we will hopefully sell enough bicycle and ski equipment to finance this months PT.
    I have strayed far from your original point but I disliked the constraints of only having three scenarios, there is always another line to be taken.
    My line currently involves stationary recumbent bikes so I am going with thirty days of riding something like say a Rails to trails venture. With non-camping wine and cheese nightly stops, for the wife of course.

  16. Robert Borchert

    Taking a side step from life’s routine sounds like just the ticket. Most of us aren’t independently wealthy CEOs, so setting aside time and money to do it is probably the biggest obstacle.

    No, I wouldn’t quit work just to make such a journey, but you never know just how the opportunity might arise.

    I have a friend that took the first year and a half of his retirement to circle the US, an awesome adventure he did on a Trek with flat bars, and a BOB trailwr.

    I would like to have a go at it someday, but with a “real” road bike, steel with traditional drops, and a BOB. The cycling equivalent of taking a Porsche on vacation. Some great climbs could be made with the trailer safely parked at base camp.

  17. armybikerider

    How appropo! i’m set to retire as a senior officer from the US Army in 9 DAYS!!! While the pension will certainly help, through lifeling planning and saving, and living below my means, I have enough money to retire at 53 and never “work” again. I’ll be living in the Northern edge of the Texas Hill Country and have already started mapping out routes and trips that I’m just itching to ride. It’s not likely that I’ll ride everyday, but with the rest of my life to do the rides I want to do, I don’t have to!

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