For the University of Illinois students, a countdown has begun. Spring break has just ended, the weather is getting warmer, and summer days are among us. Without a doubt, students are searching for any motivation they can to finish off the semester, seniors are in denial about graduation, and professors are ready for the local grocery stores to be stocked again. No matter what is ahead, we all look forward to sunnier days. Whether you plan to head home, go on a vacation, or look forward to a new job opportunity, hopefully, you are inspired throughout your ventures.
All around the world, there are beautiful places to see, and many times, they can be enjoyed on bikes. There are tourist attractions and excursions all around the world centered around biking, and some can only be viewed by walking or biking. Several groups as well as individuals, around the world, have biked across one or more countries (e.g. Tour de France), and an experience like that would surely be life-changing. Here in Champaign-Urbana, there is even an organization, the Illini 4000, that bikes across the country in the summer to raise awareness for cancer. Now, even if you don’t want to bike across the country, you could plan a scenic excursion on your next trip, or read an inspiring story by the pool about biking travels like these. Unfortunately, summer isn’t quite here, but I have provided some good reads to look forward to about biking adventures. Hopefully, they can teach you something, allow you to relax by the beach, or motivate you to hop on a bike and start a life-changing adventure of your own.
- Under a Triumphant Sky: A Bike Across America Story—
“Under a Triumphant Sky is more than a bicycle narrative. It is a human story about facing your fears and overcoming adversity - all for the pursuit of a lifelong dream. Steve Garufi pedaled solo across America for forty-five days from Del Mar, California to Jekyll Island, Georgia”.
- Biking Across America: My Coast-to-Coast Adventure and the People I Met Along the Way—
Anyone who longs for adventure, who loves travel and stories of travel, and who loves this place called America will enjoy this book.
“After Paul Stutzman finished hiking the Appalachian Trail, he found himself longing for another challenge, another adventure. Trading his hiking boots for a bicycle, Paul set off to discover more of America. Starting at Neah Bay, Washington, and ending at Key West, Florida, Paul traversed the 5,000-mile distance between the two farthest points in the contiguous United States. Along the way, he encountered nearly every kind of terrain and whether the country had to offer--as well as hundreds of fascinating people whose stories readers will love. Through cold and heat, loneliness and exhaustion, abundance and kindness, Paul pedaled on. His reward--and the readers's a glimpse of a noble yet humble America that still exists and inspires”.
- Pilgrim Wheels: Reflections of a Cyclist Crossing America--
“Approaching 60 years old, Neil Hanson pedaled 3400-miles across the country, exploring an America that can only be discovered on winding backroads from the saddle of a bicycle. More than just a travelogue of a bike ride across the country, Hanson's delightful and beautifully written story takes the reader on a journey that is engaging and insightful, often hilarious, sometimes poignant, and always inspiring. It's a must-read adventure that will stir your soul”.
- Cycle Touring for Beginners: A Guide to Exploring Near and Far by Bicycle--
“This concise guide covers everything beginners and more experienced cycle tourers need to know, including what you don’t need in order to enjoy cycle touring. Covering what sort of bike you need, how fit do you need to be (not super-fit) and whether or not you should bring luxuries (of course you should), Cycle Touring For Beginners encourages you to try exploring your world by bicycle, whether that’s an overnight trip in your own county or a two-month tour in another country, and whether you’re staying in guest houses or camping. With encouragement and tips on everything from how to eat to keep yourself healthy to what to bring in your tool kit, this book will have you itching to saddle up and start your own bike touring adventure this weekend”.
- Epic Bike Rides of the World (Lonely Planet)--
“Discover 200 of the best places to ride a bike in this beautifully illustrated hardback. From family-friendly, sightseeing urban rides to epic adventures off the beaten track. Destinations range from France and Italy, for the world's great bike races, to the wilds of Mongolia and Patagonia. These journeys will inspire - whether you are an experienced cyclist or just getting started”.
- Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die: Biking Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations--
“Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die is the ninth addition to the bestselling Fifty Places series by Chris Santella. Biking has grown increasingly popular in recent years, as both a leisure and an extreme exercise activity, and Santella covers trips for cyclists of every level. Fifty Places to Bike covers environments as varied as the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia, the Indochina Trail in Vietnam, and the urban jungle of New York City. With a healthy mix of international and national locations, the 50 chapters capture the breathtaking vistas cyclists will enjoy around the world. As always, the places are brought to life with more than 40 stunning color photographs”.
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