We're Lauren and Jay, two Americans off to bike around the world.

Lauren

Lauren remembers a time (just several years ago) when she was reluctant to give cycling a chance. "But I like taking the bus!", Lauren, a public transportation enthusiast, would say to Jay's amusement. Aside from the occasional family bike ride around the Rose Bowl during her childhood, Lauren had not spent much time on a bicycle before 2013.

Lauren's adult cycling journey began with a bikeshare day-pass that soon became a bikeshare annual membership and eventually the purchase of her very own bicycle from Craiglist (and later a local bike shop). As her confidence and comfort level and skills on the bicycle (and Washington, DC streets) grew, so did her cycling frequency and distances. She began biking to and from work (with the help of bicycle-friendly dresses and rain gear). She traversed parts of the city once unknown. She fell in love with the efficiency, accessibility, wellness, open air, vulnerability, community, and joy of bicycle riding. Although she definitely still appreciates good public transportation, cycling has made its way into Lauren's heart (and legs!) and enriched her life immensely.

Send Lauren an email here.

Jay never really got to travel much as a kid. So at the age of twenty-three he took off on his trusty scooter and roamed 15,000 miles around North America, getting his first taste of freedom, two-wheeled adventure, and simple travel along the way. After summers on the trains of Europe, winters on the buses of India and Nepal, and long holidays driving around the deserts of Namibia and South Africa, Jay decided to bring his bicycle along on his next big trip, a ride through the mountains of valleys of southern Morocco, and immediately fell in love with the pace and routine of simply cycling.

A few bike tours later, and he's decided to leave behind a nice, comfortable government job and a self-built, self-sustaining tiny house in Washington, DC to cycle around the world, which is more likely than not to entail loads of bumpy roads, strong headwinds, and tough challenges—but also the freedom and the privilege to see some amazing places, meet some wonderful people, and spend lots and lots of time with a really lovely girl.

Send Jay an email here.

The plan: two bikes, four panniers, and lots and lots of long, dusty roads.


In the summer of 2016, we flew to Iceland with our bicycles and enjoyed a delightful month riding around the country. We cycled over a thousand kilometers and camped for twenty-six nights straight and, by the end of our time there, agreed that we wanted more of it: more peaceful pedaling through gorgeous landscapes, more sleeping in open fields under clear skies, more quiet sunsets and more friendly people and more adventure and, importantly, more time together too, living life on simpler, more meaningful terms. So we decided to quit our jobs and bike around the world.

A few qualifiers. For one, we're not aiming to break any world records: not the longest 'round-the-world bike ride, nor the quickest—not necessarily even a proper circumnavigation. We have neither a firm route nor a timetable, a sponsorship nor a place we need to be, and so we're comfortable just pedaling where the winds and the world and our own hearts take us. We're starting in South Africa in July 2017 and heading north from there, and we're vaguely planning to make it to Egypt and then ferry along to Europe, and maybe head east and start working our way through central Asia and eastern Asia and maybe even dip down into Australia before flying over to South America and slowly pedaling north back to the States, so maybe that'll happen, but it all depends how we're feeling along the way.

Our actual route, updated occasionally. All locations approximate. Symbol denotes mode of transportation.

We're prioritizing memories over mileage, meaning that we may very well take breaks, short weeks out of the saddle here or there, or longer stops to relax, live, or work, and we won't be too terribly disappointed if we don't come full circle but end up having a great time of it anyway. We're riding self-supported—just us, our bikes, and a few panniers stuffed with clothes and food and a stove and a tent—and we're getting by on a pretty tight budget. And while we aim to bike the overwhelming majority of the land we'll be crossing, we're not above catching a ferry when there's water in the way, booking a flight when there's bureaucracy in the way, and hitching a ride when a stretch of road is dangerous or just awful.

We're blogging about our adventures, about where we are and what we're doing and how we're feeling, and always welcome whatever encouragement, tips, and support folks care to offer.

 

We want to do our small part in helping shed a little light on the wonderful world of slow, simple, sustainable, and self-supported travel.


Take note: though we're traveled a bunch, we're still relatively new to the bike travel scene, so—at least at the outset—Simply Cycling is a little bit of firsthand knowledge with a whole lot of secondhand wisdom and exhaustive research by those who have come before us on awesome long-haul bike trips of their own. 

Updates are totally dependent on our time and our internet connection. Sometimes they're frequent, and sometimes we'll be pretty blissfully disconnected for weeks at a time. Our writing station is a cell phone, a small wireless keyboard, and a flat surface, so while we're able to upload new, text-heavy posts pretty easily, actually editing and reformatting static pages like this one gets done less frequently, likely from the comfort of an internet cafe on a rainy day.

Oh, one more thing: unless otherwise noted, everything on this site is freely available for you to use under a Creative Commons attribution non-commercial license, meaning that you're welcome to copy, redistribute, and remix anything you see as long as it's attributed to Simply Cycling and not used for commercial purposes. A heads-up (or if you're feeling really generous, a small donation) is nice, but totally unnecessary. To learn more about the Creative Commons, click here.