Eight solid reasons for investing in two wheels and becoming the coolest person you know while you’re travelling on the road in Europe! 

1. Parking In Europe Is Expensive

Save money on parking.

There is no such thing as free parking in this neck of the woods. This is something we struggled with and you’re going to struggle with too unless you have a bicycle.

Both Dan and I invested in second hand bicycles off the internet (Gumtree and Shpock) in the South of England. Now, we are able to park our van outside the places we want to see where there is cheaper if not, free parking and then ride in. From our experience so far, this is something we highly recommend doing. £6 on parking every day? No thank you!

2. Exercise? What’s That?

Get your daily exercise.

Let us tell you now, when you start travelling, all motivation for daily exercise goes out the window unless you have the facilities sitting right in front of you. You don’t have time to be spending hours in the gym, you want to be out seeing things when you are travelling! I don’t think we properly exercised (like, worked up a sweat) for at least two months but since buying our bicycles, all of that has changed.

So, if you want to sneak in your daily exercise or even lose some weight while you’re travelling (I’m feeling you), Dan and I are both in agreement that seeing the world by bicycle is the ultimate way. Honestly, most of the time we don’t even know we’re exercising because we’re too distracted by everything else that’s happening around us!

Two bonuses in one – You’ll go home with a whole lot more experience behind your belt and on top of that you’ll be super fit!

3. People Don’t Truly See As Much As They Say They Do

See and experience more.

It’s not always easy to see everything you want when you’re on the road, especially when your main concern is driving straight. I mean, I can see all I like but Dan misses a lot while he is behind the wheel. So how did we overcome this problem? You guessed it.

Park up a little further away from where you want to be, get out your bike and ride.

Ride down country lanes, along rivers, amongst forests, up mountains and through villages. Stop and take in breathtaking views, sunsets and watch oceans roll in. It’s all there, waiting to be seen and trust me, you’ll gain a much richer experience and a whole lot more memories out of doing it by bicycle.

4. There Is So Much Potential To Meet New People

Make like-minded friends.

Have you ever been lost and tried stopping your car on the road to ask someone for directions then, in response all you got was beeps and abuse from stressed drivers on your back? …Yes? So did you then get stressed yourself, drive off in a fluster and still end up completely lost? …Yes?

Well, we don’t have the time nor the energy for that kind of nonsense and I’m sure you don’t either. Get a bicycle and chill out. Go at your own pace, stop and talk to people all you like and don’t get lost.

There is a huge community of bike riders all over the world and I’m not just talking about the one’s who dress in all the gear and compete. There are many amateurs, like me, who just love to get out, see more and do a bit of exercise at the same time. It’s so easy to meet like-minded people on the road so why waste that opportunity by locking yourself up in a car?

Organised meetings take place everywhere and are easily found through websites and Facebook groups. If you don’t want to get that serious, no problem just go to Amsterdam where practically everybody rides bicycles anyway. Soon enough you’ll find yourself riding alongside somebody who wants a good chinwag.

5. There’s Always A Faster Way

Find shortcuts.

From our experience so far, we often find that it takes much longer to get from A – B in the van than it does to go by bicycle.

Trying to get from Fowey to Looe in Cornwall sounded like a good idea, seeming as it was just across the river. This was not a good idea. We had to drive all the way up the main road, leading inland where the river was narrow, to come all the way back to the coast on the other side. An hour and a half later…

Go exploring and take advantage of secret short-cuts, public pathways and narrow bridges while you’re travelling Europe (believe me, there’s many of them). Travel with a bicycle on hand because you could save yourself a lot of time.

You’ll also find that many villages are often small, windy and narrow, originally designed for horses and carriages, not big vans. Don’t catch yourself out, it’s not fun attempting a 25-point turn to get out of there (take it from us). Just ride a bike.

6. People’s Road Awareness Skills Are Kind Of Lacking

Learn better road awareness.

Until you ride a bicycle on the road, you’ll never be as aware as you could be. Whether you’re driving, riding, walking, skating or roller blading, the road isn’t the safest place, unless you know what you’re doing.

Dan once travelled over 1500  kilometres throughout the Northeast of Brazil on a bicycle. Good going eh? Well it wasn’t easy. When riding a bicycle you’ve got to try and keep up with the traffic and when you can’t, you need to be on the ball. Eyes and ears are extremely important and you learn to tune in and use them much better when riding. You also become much more conscious of signalling other drivers when you make decisions. This is most probably because you know it’s going to hurt if there’s an accident!

So the point here is, as well as learning to use/stimulate your brain a lot more while riding a bicycle, at the same time, you become a better driver in general.

7. The Environment Is Struggling

Be more auto sufficient/sustainable

We can always be more friendly to the environment in everything that we do, especially when we travel. Think about it. We travel to see amazing, beautiful, spectacular places all over the world yet, do we ever think about the fact that one day all that could be gone, covered with the pollution that we helped to spread.

But, what if we could save our world from destruction one little baby step at at a time? What if your children’s children could have the same travel experiences we have now, if not, better in years to come? Well we can do something about that.

For a start, let’s reduce the amount of time we spend driving a vehicle and instead spend more time seeing things by bicycle. What harm can you do then? Apart from bicycles being made in factories (just like cars), there’s really no other way that they can pollute the environment. If you have the time and want to take it up a notch, become 100% environmentally sustainable and walk!

A big bonus that comes from doing this is the fact that you’ll save a lot of money on fuel. Heck, don’t even buy a vehicle and you’ll save a lot more!

8. Life Is What You Make Of It

Have more fun!

At the end of the day, you only have one life so why not make it a fun one? When Dan mentioned buying some bicycles, I wasn’t all that excited. I was mainly focused on that fact that it would save us money. But as soon as we went for our first ride in Newquay, Cornwall, my opinion had changed.

After getting my heart rate up and seeing so many wonderful things, my adrenaline was pumping and I just wanted to get out and do it again and again. I had so much fun and really felt as though I had accomplished more than what I usually would, not going by bicycle.

Just let go and ride. Trust me, I’m a 22 year old female with little bicycle riding experience who enjoys laying by the beach and sipping on cocktails. If I think it’s fun I’m sure you will too!

Have you travelled anywhere with a bicycle? What was your experience like? Do you have any stories? Share them with us! 🙂

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Hannah is an Australian nomad and the Founding Editor of StoryV Travel & Lifestyle. After finishing her studies in Business Administration Hannah took off to Thailand with her father for a life-changing volunteer experience that shaped the way her future panned out. The day she returned home she took up 3 jobs and booked her next ticket out. 3 months later she had quit the rat race completely and was off to Thailand once more - this time, on her own. Little did she know, that solo adventure would lead her to meet the love of her life and go on to explore the rest of the world as a digital nomad. With a thirst for experiencing unfamiliar cultures in exotic destinations around the world, Hannah most enjoys chasing sunsets, lazing on tropical beaches and getting lost among a myriad of crooked buildings and small alleyways. Follow her adventures on Twitter and Facebook!