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Bike Life

Tahverlee brings the stories of touring cyclists and hosts from around the globe together, to share knowledge and experiences of Warmshowers.org Foundation community.

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Wild and Wonderful Times on Tour

Natalie's love of cycling started with short weekend trips when she was in college. After graduation, she wanted to try something different, making her step out of her comfort zone. In the summer of 2018, Natalie took off for a three-month, cross-country bike tour from Anacortes, WA, to Bar Harbor, ME.Natalie did not do a lot of training to prepare. She didn't buy a lot of fancy new gear; in fact, she rode the bicycle she had since she was 12 years old! All the rest of her gear was either decades old, borrowed, or bought second-hand. A little camping pillow was the only brand-new thing she bought. Natalie says that all you really need for a bike tour is a bike and a good attitude!The beginning of the tour was a little daunting, and at times, she couldn't believe she was actually taking this crazy solo trip. Luckily, her mom was able to drive along and camp with her for the first two nights, so she didn't feel quite lonely. After that, she met many cyclists along the way and almost always had a traveling companion. The warmth of the cycling community eased her concerns about traveling solo.Some of Natalie's wildest tour experiences were sleeping in a city park bathroom in Montana one night to escape a severe thunderstorm. It was actually quite comfortable, and she got a personal visit from the sheriff! Making it onto the local television and radio station in Fargo, ND, and then being recognized by someone on the street, just like a celebrity. Eating a meal that was entirely grown, hunted, or foraged by one of her Warmshowers hosts in Wisconsin. Having a crazy dream about a colorful chameleon in Michigan, and then the next day, while cycling on Highway 2, finding a chameleon Beanie Baby on the side of the road. She picked it up and named him Calvin; he is still with Natalie and lives on her nightstand. Natalie shares that cycle touring is not about the gear, your level of experience, or how physically fit you are. It's about just going out there and doing it. It's about the surprising encounters you have with other cyclists, with Warmshowers hosts, with passersby who give you water or a big thumbs up. No matter how small, these interactions are what kept her going through deep loneliness, exhaustion, or frustration, not high-end gear or a ton of training.Natalie truly believes that to restore one's faith in humanity, you just need to hop on a bicycle and go explore.You can learn more about Natalie on Instagram at Nizzo.Hope.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

25mins

31 May 2021

Rank #1

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Around the World with Hollie

Hollie liked riding her bike as a kid but never really thought about taking a long cycling tour. Years later, while working as a tour guide in the Yukon, a friend convinced her to take a 6-day, 360-mile cycling trip through Alaska. She was hooked! Even during adverse weather conditions and running into some unfriendly wildlife, she knew bike touring was for her.Hollie spent the next few years working in a bike shop to learn more about the mechanics of bicycles. After reading Barbara Savage’s book, Miles from Nowhere, she decided right then and there to ride around the world on her bike. Hollie finished her schooling, worked to save up some money, and took off on her dream trip.Hollie started her planned 3-year tour by biking from her home in California to southern Chile. She had beautiful experiences everywhere she went but admitted that her favorite country was Columbia. It is a stunning and ecologically diverse country with almost aggressively hospitable people. She stayed with several wonderful Warmshowers hosts there that made her feel like part of the family. The warmth and graciousness of the Columbian people inspired her to be a more generous and open person herself.Unfortunately, Hollie’s journey was cut short by the Covid pandemic. After so much planning, it was hard to cut her trip short, but she knows she will finish her world tour someday.Hollie encourages solo women travelers to get out there. She advises always to be cautious, but not to let fear stop you. Hollie believes that the amount of good people in this world far outnumbers those who want to cause you harm. Fear is not a good reason to hold you back from the joys of solo bike touring.You can learn more about Hollie on Instagram at Hollie_Holly or on her blog at Hollie and Her Bike.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

31mins

17 May 2021

Rank #2

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Where Music Meets Adventure

We are joined today by Antonio Piretti. Antonio is an Italian/Canadian musician who has just completed a 6000km musical bike tour through 16 European countries. He describes the trip as somewhat of a miracle in these "locked down" pandemic times.Antonio began planning his tour over two years ago, but many of his concerts were canceled once the pandemic hit. He did not let this deter him and instead moved on to Plan B. Towing a trailer containing his music equipment and all his belongings, he relied on wonderful Warmshowers.org hosts for hospitality. His trip took him from Northern Germany down to Lisbon and then home to Italy just in time for his son's birth. Then he picked up his journey again and went from Helsinki to Athens. Since the planed large concerts were no longer an option because of Covid, he decided to do smaller backyard concerts instead. Generous Warmshowers.org hosts set up cookouts in their backyards, invited all their friends and the local community, and Antonio would literally sing for his supper! He performed in every environment; backyards, local pubs, small neighborhood parks, and sometimes even in host's living rooms. He played 31 shows in all during his tour, always following local pandemic guidelines.Antonio is so glad he didn't let pandemic restrictions stop his adventure. He believes that things could not have turned out any better than they did. Antonio is amazed by the kindness he received from all he met and is happy he could provide musical pandemic relief to so many wonderful people along the way. You can learn more about Antonio and listen to his beautiful music on his website at AntonioPirettiTOZ.com, his YouTube channel TOZ Antonio Piretti or FacebookJoin our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

29mins

3 May 2021

Rank #3

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Keeping Connections Alive

We are joined today by Quintin Reich. Quintin is a cyclist and longtime Warmshowers.org host located on the Pacific Coast route.During college, Quintin worked for a bike equipment manufacturer and developed a keen interest in bike touring. In 1991, he took an extended tour through Europe and was profoundly affected by the experience. The concept of complete strangers offering help, hospitality, food, and fellowship was amazing to Quintin.  The connections he made, random acts of kindness he received, and the freedom and sense of adventure he felt on that trip totally changed him.  Over the years, his busy career as a mortgage broker curtailed his bike touring. It has been 30 long years since Quintin took that first bike tour, and he still dreams of touring again someday. In the meantime, Quintin hosts cyclists as much as he can. Both through Warmshowers.org and by introducing himself to cyclists passing through the area. Offering hospitality is Quintin’s way of repaying the help and fellowship he received during his bike tour in the 90s.Quintin has made lifelong friends while hosting and loves that he has been able to stay in touch with many of the cyclists he has hosted. In fact, his family took a trip to Europe a few years ago and connected with a former guest of his. Although there have been times when Quintin felt burned out on hosting, he has never said no to a guest. His guests’ stories and adventures have enriched his life so much he feels he gets more out of the experience than they do.If there is one lesson Quintin has learned over the years, it’s that the freedom of bike touring is all about connection. His advice is to stop, slow down, open yourself up, and really participate in the experiences and people you meet along the way.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

35mins

19 Apr 2021

Rank #4

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Turns in the Road

We are joined by Harry Shepherd, a cyclist and environmental campaigner from England. Today, Harry talks about what got him into cycling, his passion for the natural world, and an eventful journey across Europe during 2020. The trip formed part of the Team Townend Challenge, an annual cycling sportive held in the Lake District in memory of Niggy and Christian Townend, two cycling brothers who were killed on their bikes in 2010. Harry helps to organize the event with friends of the brothers each year. When not on the bike, Harry works in environmental communications, promoting the work of organizations dedicated to protecting the natural world.You can learn more about Harry on his website at FollowTheShepherd.uk or Instagram at HarrySheph.To learn more about the Team Townend Challenge or make a donation, visit their website HERE.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

28mins

5 Apr 2021

Rank #5

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Touring Across England with E.T.

We are joined today by Josh Garman. Josh is a touring cyclist who lives in the U.K. and recently cycled 600 miles across England ~ with E.T. as his co-pilot!Josh is an accidental touring cyclist who started his first tour with no prior cycling experience. He had spent time in Australia as a barefoot long-distance walker but had never considered a bike tour. When Josh returned to England, he learned about Chris Brannigan, a father who walked across England barefoot to raise money for his daughter’s medical treatment. Josh was captivated by this unique story and decided right there and then that he would do something to help.He came up with the idea of doing a cycle tour to raise funds for Chris’s charity, Hope for Hasti. While planning his trip on a gloomy, rainy day, the scene from the movie E.T. where Elliot rides across the sky with E.T. on his bike came to him. The vision brought such a simile to his face, and he decided that he would take E.T. along with him to bring attention to his fundraising cause. In 2 short weeks, with very little planning, a small budget, and way too much gear, he set off. Josh spent a total of 23 days on the road. It was very slow going at the start, and he quickly realized that a mountain bike loaded down with gear is not the right way to travel on the English roads! Having E.T. along brought him tremendous attention. Josh spent the first night sleeping in a small tent, but people started offering him shelter after news of his tour got out. He spent 21 of the 23 nights on the road staying in people’s houses, some of which were Warmshowers hosts. Josh was overwhelmed by the kindness he received from total strangers on his journey. On the second last day of Josh’s tour, he and Chris Brannigan from Hope for Hasti finally got to meet. His trip was such a magical experience for him that he knew he would do it again. For his next challenge, he plans to cycle 5000 miles around the coast of England, towing a bicycle camper he built to resemble a school bus while raising money for charity.You can learn more about Josh on Instagram at ExpeditionJosh, on Facebook, on Patreon, YouTube, or his website ExpeditionJosh.com. To learn more about Hope for Hasti, or make a donation, visit their website HERE.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org, or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

30mins

22 Mar 2021

Rank #6

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Slow Traveler

We are joined by Josiah Skeats. Josiah is a people-focused author whose 3 year journey taught him to be a slow traveler.While studying law at university, Josiah came across an article about someone who had cycled around the world. The light bulb went off, and even though he was not a cyclist, he immediately started planning a solo trip. After graduation, he set out for his grand adventure to travel from England to Australia. Along the way, Josiah has fallen in love with bike touring, the experiences it brings, and mostly, with the people you meet.Josiah didn’t do much training to prepare, but he did tons of planning. He wrote a list of every obstacle he thought he would encounter on the trip and then tried to solve it. He laughingly recalls that a week after he set off, all his carefully made plans were discarded, and he decided to just wing it.A big turning point came for Josiah about a month into his trip. After rushing his way through Europe and central Asia, he met two fellow cyclists in Bosnia that significantly impacted him. They taught him it wasn’t about how fast you are going, but rather how slow. After this encounter, Josiah slowed way down, and his trip went from a planned one-year journey to three years. His goal became to seek adventure and learn about the people he met along the way.So many fantastic experiences came from that one decision back in university to cycle around the world. Looking back, Josiah is amazed that he dared to believe that a trip like this was possible. He urges everyone that if bike touring is something you are interested in, it is worth pursuing, even if you don’t have cycling experience.Josiah’s advice is to always be curious and open to the unexpected. Let your gut instincts guide your path, and you will be amazed at what opportunities arise. You can reach Josiah on his website where he blogs about the projects he is working on at JosiahSkeets.com or follow his posts on Facebook at Josiah Skeets and Instagram at josiahskeets.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

24mins

8 Mar 2021

Rank #7

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Protecting our Planet

We are joined by Mike Dits. Mike is a corn-fed Indiana Hoosier and adventurer who now lives in Colorado. He is extremely passionate about clean energy and sustainability.Mike had his first bike touring experience as a sophomore in college when he spent a summer working with a non-profit organization called Bike and Build. After touring the country helping to build homes for those in need, he knew that a solo bike trip was in his future.After graduation in August of 2015, Mike set off for a 4-year solo trip around the world. The theme of his journey was promoting sustainability and renewable energy. He spent his time learning about clean energy and helping install solar water systems for families in Africa.After visiting 63 countries and 5 continents, Mike returned home in October of 2019. You can tell how impactful this trip was on him by the enthusiasm in his voice when he recalls the amazing people he met along the way. He says nothing is better than traveling on two wheels to take in the world's beauty while learning about diverse cultures.Mike's advice for anyone planning a long-term trip is to put yourself in the proper mindset. His motto for life is simple; look around, smile, and keep your hands open. Don't just look ahead or behind but look all around and be totally present. Smile to bring a positive energy, an energy with respect and humility to everyone that you encounter. Keep your hands open, to receive but also to give.  You can reach Mike on his website, Renew Ride, where he blogs about the projects he is working on at RenewRide.com.Join our community at www.warmshowers.org or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

36mins

22 Feb 2021

Rank #8

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Woman on a Mission

We are joined by Anastasia Bouzdine. Anastasia is a 25-year-old woman on a mission to connect with humanity on a bicycle.Anastasia is an engineer, working in a male-dominated field and surrounded by men who do many sport challenges. She decided that if the men could do it, so could she. After trying a few short cycling trips, Anastasia made her first solo trip in September of 2020.She set off on an exhausting 10-day journey across the Alps with the end goal of taking a little swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Anastasia says that when she started, the trip was all about how far or how fast she could travel in a day. But after a few days, she realized that the trip was more about the experiences and the people she met along the way.Every day, the Warmshowers community welcomed and supported her. She was so encouraged by all of her hosts' warm hospitality, some of whom have become lifelong friends. The relationships she made prompted her to become a host herself.Anastasia loves cycling through the mountains, so she is planning on crossing the Dolomite Mountains in Italy for her next trip.For Anastasia, what started as a sport challenge to prove herself, turned into an extraordinary trip of transformation. In the end, it was the connections she made along the way that made the trip such a fantastic experience.You can learn more about Anastasia on her YouTube channel, Anastasia Bouzdine. Join our community at www.warmshowers.org or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.org.Instagram: warmshowers_org

21mins

8 Feb 2021

Rank #9

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Riding the Wild Life

In this episode, Andrew Lee joins the show to discuss awakening through bike touring. Andrew describes how he felt like he'd had some amazing life experiences that had led him to a spiritual awakening. He decided to have one last adventure and undertake a cycling tour across Canada to consolidate his experiences and inspire others before returning to his community to give back and make a difference in the lives of others.Andrew cycled across Canada following the acronym of H.I.L.L, which stands for Hope, Inspiration, Love, and Let Go.Andrew created the H.I.L.L acronym while tackling the tough hills of British Columbia. He describes how he thinks that there is something that happens to us when we overcome big challenges, or we take steps to push ourselves into uncomfortable places where you can learn resiliency, which can help us in every aspect of your lives. We learn about Andrew’s experiences with wild camping and the challenge and excitement of trying to find free places to stay.Read Andrew's blog at http://allineedismy2barefeet.blogspot.com/And follow him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/my2barefeet/Join our community at www.warmshowers.org or you can reach Tahverlee at tahverlee@warmshowers.orgINSTAGRAM: warmshowers_org

31mins

25 Jan 2021

Rank #10