#WhyIBikeTour: A day with a pup
Our #WhyIBikeTour campaign is an exploration of the many different types of travelers who explore the world on two wheels. From families to adventure seekers to retirees, our travelers are as diverse as our tours. Why do you bike tour? Share your story. Tag us at@biketoursdotcom or #whyibiketour on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Age: 71 and 67 (respectively)
Reside in: Frederick, Maryland USA
Professions: Julane spent her professional life as pediatric physical therapist, and later worked at a library and the department of social services. Now retired, she is a busy volunteer.
Art retired from the Army Medical Corps in 2007 as a research scientist. Today he continues his work part-time.
Why do you love to tour a new destination by bicycle?
Every bike ride, no matter where we ride, is an opportunity to intimately experience the beauty and wonder of nature, interact with friendly and helpful people, explore architectural gems, and discover interesting food and customs. We prefer “stopping to smell the roses”– taking photos, finding a locally-owned café or grocery to satisfy our need for caffeine or food, and meeting the challenge of following maps and cue sheets—to riding on a tour bus or speeding along a 4-lane highway in an automobile. We could happily repeat many of the bike tours we’ve been on—perhaps someday we will. In the meantime a different adventure is just around the bend in the road or bike path.
What is your favorite bike touring memory?
In three words: O’Lecce, the Dog. We met the small dog we called O’Lecce on the last leg of the tour “Apulia: Cycling the Heel of Italy’s Boot”. We were walking around Otranto (the “O” in O’Lecce’s name) after dinner when Art stumbled over a small dog.
Neither Art nor the dog was hurt, and we forgot about the incident while enjoying an espresso and a gelato. The next morning, as we biked out of Otranto, the same dog began to follow us. Despite our attempts to shoo him away, he continued to follow, either running ahead of us in the middle of the road or a little behind, depending on our speed.
Every so often he would flop down in a puddle of water to cool off and would eventually rush to catch up to us. As the puddles of water dried up along the way, we let him drink from our water bottles. At one point he became a hero when he fought off a larger dog that began to chase us.
About 10 miles into the ride, figuring that he was hungry, we bought a can of dog food at a grocery for him; he ate half of it and lay down to rest. We pedaled on, up a hill, and saw him on the beach below.
Although he was frolicking with another family, he was loyal to the “hand that fed him” and he soon reunited with us. At mile 20, he seemed relieved when we stopped for a picnic in an olive grove, a chance to rest in the shade. Our destination was the town of Lecce (the “Lecce” in O’Lecce’s name), and 31 miles after he began his journey with us, he disappeared down a side street in the town.
We never saw O’Lecce again, but we think of the happy and intrepid small dog to this day.
Any advice for others thinking about going on their first bike tour?
- Invest in good rain gear (jacket with hood, pants, booties, gloves)
- Be prepared for cold weather—we like merino wool base layers
- Spring and Fall are ideal for biking with cooler temperatures and fewer tourists
- If you choose a self-guided tour, be sure you are able to follow cue sheets and maps
- Know your fitness level
Your favorite route you’ve cycled?
We can’t name just one from our 16 tours in Europe! We especially loved (starting with the most recent):
1) Highlights of the Highlands (North West Ireland)
2) German Danube: Donauworth to Passau
3) Dolomites to Venice Along the Old Dolomites Railway Track
4) Castles of Transylvania: Architecture, Culture, and Nature
5) Rioja: Hidden Spain, Land of Wine
6) Apulia: Cycling the Heel of Italy’s Boot
Why do you bike tour? Share your stories by e-mailing Lindsay Nash at email@example.com or by tagging @biketoursdotcom on Facebook or Instagram when you post pictures or stories.