Yesterday, I mentioned that there seems to be a significant number of websites dedicated to chronicling long distance travels on the bicycle. Below are three that I have run across just over the past few days that have to do specifically with biking across Tajikistan:
- A Long Ride Home – cycling from Japan to England over the course of three years
- Roddo.net – a New Zealander bikes across Asia on his way home
- Totally Knackered Tour – Tim and Rowena Barnes cycle across Europe and Central Asia
What is it about travelling by bike that engenders these sorts of sites? Is it something intrinsic to the type of person drawn to biking long distances? Or does the mere fact that the bicyclist is seeing all sorts of beautiful/amazing/different/bizarre things that compels memorializing their trip in this way?
These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. I am genuinely curious about this phenomena. Maybe I have simply run across these cyclists’ sites by chance and they are not as widespread as I think. But I wonder if there isn’t something about people who take any sort of longish trip by an atypical mode of transport that leads to them writing about their experiences. In my bibliography, you’ll see a book called Through Russia on a Mustang. That’s the horse, not the car, and it tells the story of Thomas Stevens, an American who rode his trusty steed from the West through the wooly East of rural Russia in 1890. People thought he was crazy (and some rural Russians thought he was a demon), but he perserved and got the New York World to publish his missives from the trail.
This has clearly been going on for some time. By the way, Stevens also rode a bicycle around the world in 1886, “seeing the sights in Europe, out-racing a mob in Persia, and baffling the Japanese in Yokohama,” according to the back of the book. Some people just have a compulsion to travel exotically and write about it, and it’s plain, from the Victorian era to the present, that other people want to read about it.