I came to multi-day cycle touring quite late in life, in 1996. Four days after my fiftieth birthday (and nearly ten years after running my last marathon), I visited the Perfumed Pagoda (Cua Hong), just outside Hanoi, Vietnam.
Disgusted with myself at not completing the ascent and determined to improve my physical condition, I set my sights on Bicycle Victorias Big Ride - a 600km./9-day fully-supported ride along the Great Ocean Road, successfully completed in December 1996 on an old 10-speed racer left over from my sons more youthful years. The spreadsheet below is a schematic CV of all my cycling tours to date and my cycling blogs are also accessible below.
Following compulsory retirement in 1999, I planned to go to the USA and ride from San Francisco to Denver, dismissing the obvious negatives:
I had never toured alone, unsupported and fully-loaded before;
I would be riding alone and far from familiar territory;
The terrain was going to be tough over the Sierra Nevada mountains, along the loneliest highway in the USA (US 50) and across both the Continental Divide and the Front Range of the Rockies;
There would be few, if any, transport alternatives in the early stages, eg, Amtrak or Greyhound services;
My schedule required an average 100kms per day for 20 days, with no planned rest day(s).
Sanity eventually prevailed but only after I'd had to make a hasty (and cold, and isolated) bush camp in a snowstorm at 7,000' in the Sierras, on my third night out. I cut back my riding days and average distances, making progress with the help of a rented truck across most of Nevada and then a Greyhound bus from Salt Lake City to the foothills of the Rockies. Nevertheless, I DID manage to cycle fully-loaded and unsupported across the Sierra Nevada, then over the Divide in the Rockies.
A couple of months later I also rode alone down the west coast from Eugene, Oregon, to San Francisco.
After an overnight flight from Tokyo, August 2008.
in deference to those who need to see a pic of the author ...... and who may now wish they hadn't!
Click on image to enlarge