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Richard Engle

Chicago, Illinois Travel Agent

Seeing the World by Bicycle and other Adventures

Most people think they have to be a competitor in the Tour de France to enjoy a biking trip. Far from it. Most companies offer electric or e-bikes that can do as much of the work for you as you’d like. The focus on most cycling, hiking and multi-sport trips I plan is on sightseeing and enjoying the ambiance of a place.

The experience of traveling by bike is far different from driving. Recently, on a five-day tour in the Burgundy region of France, I stopped to drink my water in front of a house. A lady was tending flowers, and I complimented her on her lovely garden. She asked me to wait and brought her mother out, who was thrilled to talk to an American! That’s the kind of thing that can happen when you’re on a bicycle.

The rhythm of that trip was wonderful. We cycled through tiny villages with friendly cafes and farmland that you probably wouldn’t get to any other way. We’d set out on our bikes in the morning and then stop for a leisurely gourmet lunch with wine. Then we would cycle most of the afternoon and wind up at wonderful accommodations, wander around the town we were in and maybe shop, have a great dinner and a good night’s sleep and then get up in the morning and set out again. It was lovely!

I’ve taken and arranged cycling, hiking and multi-sport soft adventures all over the world, from Napa Valley to Ecuador, and there isn’t anywhere that hasn’t been super fun and fascinating. Cycling allows for amazing local encounters. Once, when cycling in Peru, high up in the Andes, a shepherdess, out with her alpacas, came running to my guide. I thought she wanted to sell us something, but she was just concerned for our safety.

In Bhutan, my guide and I had an extended conversation with an elderly person spinning a prayer wheel and exchanged our thoughts on life. Cycling in northern Vietnam, my guide took me to several villages. He arranged for me to stop in schools where children were taking lessons and visit people in their homes to see how they lived and created textiles and other crafts. 

When you travel by bicycle, you experience the land and people far more intimately than when you travel by car. I’ve been taking cycling trips in cities and on back roads around the world for most of my adult life and arranging them for others for more than a decade, so I’ve built a Rolodex of great guides and active touring companies. It’s how I, and a growing number of my clients, like to see the world. Call me if you’d like to learn more! 

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