Cycle touring might just be the most sustainable way to travel. At least, that is what Zoe Ashbridge and Stewart Law would say.
Cycle touring might just be the most sustainable way to travel. At least, that is what Zoe Ashbridge and Stewart Law would say. They’ve spent more than a year cycling around the world and in that time have slowly adventured through 24 countries.
The best bit, if it wasn’t for the pandemic that paused their trip for a while, they would explored all of these countries without a single flight.
How did they do it? Cycle touring, of course!
Cycle touring is a form of travel where you explore by bicycle. Cycle tourists carry everything they need on their bikes. Traditional cycle touring set ups include pannier bags and cyclists carry tents, stoves, clothing food and more.
The environmental impact of travel
It’s known that 8-10% of global CO2 emissions come from travel. A large portion of these issues are generated from pollution, global carbon emissions and more.
This is where cycle touring comes in; not all travel is created equal and when it comes to sustainability, bicycle travel is far superior. Afterall, there are no barely any carbon emissions. Cycling, at 33 grams of CO2/mile is 30 times lower than a car.
Benefits of cycle touring on the environment
The first benefit is obvious, you will significantly cut your carbon emissions and by cycling around the world you will be making a huge difference to the environment, but what about the other, less obvious benefits of cycling?
More immersive travel
Zoe Ashbridge and Stewart Law have been cycling around the world for a year. They claim that this form of slow travel gives them a more immersive experience.
Zoe says, ‘The thing with cycle touring is that you travel slow through a country. It’s not like flying to a country, heading for the biggest city and staying there, you weave in and out of small villages and get a real taste for the country and the culture.
‘I won’t forget that while in Thailand Stew and I said that we’d not eaten any Thai food yet. Funny because we were in Thailand! Wat we meant was, we hadn’t eaten a Thai Green Curry of a Pad Thai. But, that’s not what Thai people are eating in the smaller towns and villages. We were eating a wholesome and delicious meal of mince and rice instead.’
You get fit
Instead of flying in and out of a city, you get fit! Stewart and Zoe have now cycled over 13,000 miles and it’s fair to say, in that distance you’ll get fit on a bike. On top of that, the pair are riding bikes that, with luggage, weigh as much as 30kg to 40kg.
There’s no way you can ride a bike that heavy without dropping a few pounds and building some muscle.
A cycle tour offers adventure quite unlike traditional travelling.
Before setting off, Stewart Law planned a planned a cycle tour around the world. His planning included a 24,000 mile turn-by-turn route across over 30 countries.
Stewart said, ‘It took about two years to plan the tour. At the time, it felt like the right thing to do, but it wasn’t long before I learned that you don’t actually have to plan a cycle tour like this so in depth.
‘The great thing about an adventure by bike is that the adventure will create itself in ways you can’t even imagine. The truth us, it’s impossible to plan for everything and that’s the best thing about it.’
Tempted to travel by bicycle?
If sustainable travel and immersive adventure is your thing then a cycle tour around the world might be for you. There is one thing though…
It does really help if you genuinely love riding bikes!