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Sitting in Number One’s gear garage, just inside the door, is my favorite item we travel with: a minty greenish-blue road bike so sleek and sporty looking you’d never know it was an e-bike.
Ever since James and I started RVing 13 years ago, bicycling has been a big part of our RV trips. Heck, it was the sole motivator for why we got an RV in the first place. Biking together is nothing new to us, but me using an e-bike is.
Thing is, James and I have mismatched levels of cycling fitness. And unfortunately I’m not the hare in this story. That’s why I’m so in love with Bea. That little extra e-boost on hills has leveled the playing field. James doesn’t have to settle for slower or shorter bike rides, and I no longer stare daggers into his back while killing myself to keep up.
I’m certainly not unique for owning an e-bike. I see them everywhere. Older couples out enjoying a Sunday roll; a dad returning from the grocery store; a group of friends doing a social ride. The e-bike’s multi-purpose nature makes it appealing to all sorts of people, including those who don’t have the confidence, or perhaps the health, to ride a regular bike.
James, however, has no interest in an e-bike. Yet. I’m sure one (older) day he might warm up to it. But for now, our Class C Winnebago EKKO’s gear garage transports two bikes: my Bea and James’ Trek road bike. Because for us, RVing and bicycling just go together. You put your shirt on to get ready for your day, we put our bikes in the gear garage to get ready for a trip. It would feel weird not to.
In all my years of RVing, I’ve never seen so many bikes at campgrounds as I do today. It’s a sight I love to see. RVs pulling in with bikes on fancy racks, or bikes lovingly stashed away in RV gear garages, have become ubiquitous at campgrounds.
The e-bike trend deserves much of the credit why biking is so popular with RVers, but I don’t believe it should get all of it. The RVers who have embraced bicycling, both e-bikes and regular, have done so for lots of other reasons, too. For those of you who don’t bring a bicycle on your RV trips, perhaps these reasons will convince you to join us on the bicycling bandwagon:
Biking and RVing complement each other.
You wouldn’t have an RV if you weren’t drawn to exploration and adventures; that’s a common thread with RVers. It’s probably some unidentified gene we all share; one that makes traveling, seeing new things, and experiencing novel places so appealing to us. RVing is the catalyst that takes us from one adventure to the next, making it possible for us to hit the road & explore, satiating our wanderlust.
Bicycling is similar in that way. It’s another catalyst; another way we can go explore. Only on the bike, we can do so in a more intimate way, seeing things we might miss while rolling along in the RV. You’re more up close and personal with the sights, smells, and sounds along your route. Bicycling can enrich your RV trips, and create special moments you might not have otherwise experienced.
Bikes make great substitutes for dinghy cars.
And then there’s the practical side of traveling with bicycles. Bikes can be a handy way to run errands. Bringing a bike on your RV trips allows you to drive much less, transporting you to all the little things you do outside the RV park. When I’m choosing places to camp on our trips, one of my considerations is how far amenities are—groceries, coffeehouses, attractions, etc. RV campsites that have some conveniences within reasonable bicycling distance are often appealing.
Biking is an opportunity to get social.
When you’re on an RV trip in unfamiliar territory, you might not be sure where to ride. Joining an organized group ride in the towns you’re visiting is a great way to ensure you’re riding safe and scenic routes. An easy way to find group rides is by contacting local bike shops. It’s a double win, really. You get the group acting as ‘tour guide’ for your ride and you also get to socialize with the locals—a perfect opportunity to get advice on things to do and see in the area. It’s possible you might even make some lasting friendships.
Biking is the fun kind of exercise.
When you’re on an RV trip, are you continuing your same healthy exercise habits that you have while you’re home? I’ve asked this question at RV rallies and seminars I’ve led, and—hardly a surprise—“no” wins by a landslide. Any sort of travel takes you out of your routines. It becomes easy to neglect your otherwise healthy habits, like exercise. Bicycling, then, becomes a way you actually can keep up your fitness on your RV trips. And since it’s ‘fun’, it doesn’t require the motivation it takes to do a more formal workout.
As for me, I think one of my biggest draws to bicycling is the distraction it provides. It’s a break from the flow of regular ‘life’; getting me out of my head and into my body, where I feel more present and more alive. And really, if you think about it, isn’t that the exact same thing that draws us all to love RVing, too?!