I have been a solo tour cyclist in more than 30 countries and here are a few of my thoughts about being a solo tour cyclist around the world.
I like cycling alone.
For me, tour cycling is a kind of meditation, where I slow down big time mentally and this is so much easier when you do not have someone who wants you to go either faster or slower. I am in general quite happy about being alone and it does not motivate me more to cycle in a group. I cycle slow, but I am so stubborn that I always reach my goal no matter what, so I do not need a group of people in order to cycle a few thousand kilometers.
I like being able to have my own weird routines.
I have some routines, or maybe more lack of routines that tend to make most other tour cyclists shake their heads. I like getting up late in the morning and then spend a couple of hours having breakfast, while I am reading, checking e mails and such before I hit the road. When I hit the road, I am often cycling very slow and taking many breaks. But I tend to spend many hours on the road every day, so I get my 75 to 100 kilometers in the end, but I do things a little different, because I do not really like speed and my bicycle trips are not some illusion that I am on some macho trip that I call an expedition, in order to impress other people. I cycle around the world, cause I think iy is fun and not to prove something to the world.
I am not lonely as a solo tour cyclist.
I am a person who needs both my alone time and my social time and for that reason, being a solo tour cyclist is perfect for me. I spend most of the day in the saddle, all by myself with my thoughts and then at night I stay in a town where I head out to meet some random strangers I come across there. I am a person who likes to walk in to a bar in an unknown town all by myself, cause I am good at striking up a conversation with people and is in general a very open person and I find that it’s harder to do that when you are two or more, cause people assume that you then want you privacy, while a guy who is on his own is easier to approach.
Accommodation as a solo tour cyclist.
I am mostly staying in smaller roadside hotels, guest houses and so on, when I am tour cycling around the world. If I am in northern Europe or in USA/Canada, then I often camp, because of the price of accommodation and the camp sites at US state parks and state beaches, often have a hiker/biker area, which is not just cheap, but usually also a very social place, where you can hang out with a few other solo tour cyclists. But I am not the kinda guy who camps wild. I simply have no desire to sit alone in my tent the whole evening and talk to myself and my bike. And I am not happy to walk in to town if camping wild as your stuff is a lot more at risk of getting stolen, if you camp in some unofficial place, where there is zero staff looking after the place.
Is tour cycling alone dangerous?
I have cycled tens of thousands of kilometers over the years in countries like Syria, Mexico, Brazil, Albania, Lebanon, Cambodia, just to mention a few places and I have never had a situation where I thought that I was in danger because I was alone. I had one situation in Vietnam 14 years ago, where I was attacked with rocks, but that was not because I was alone, but because I made a wrong move at the wrong time and this situation would most likely have happened even if I had been in a group. I got away from the situation though without having anything stolen. I just got a few bruises because of the rocks they threw after me, but it had nothing to do with being alone.