A pair of fully loaded touring bikes is a sight that makes people wonder, perhaps where we came from and where we’re headed. I think most people tend to imagine it’s Coast to Coast, while we may only be on our way to a Wisconsin state park. Nonetheless, a comradery of wanderlust is built on as little as a smile or a nod to two people on a bike camping adventure.In any case, we’ve found people are more hospitable to bicyclists with panniers and camping equipment than without. For example, motorists tend to slow down and give more space. People we pass along the way, whether working on their yards or walking along the sidewalk, often smile and say “Hi.” Other cyclists really get a kick out of seeing us grinding up a hill, pulling the weight of everything stuffed into panniers or bungeed across the racks. As they pass by on sleek road bikes, they quite commonly give a cheer or a thumbs up.
A fully loaded touring bike also invites a conversation. It seems like whenever we’re stopped, people come up to us to ask about touring, where we’re headed (and react with a bit of surprise to a destination in Wisconsin), or to share a story about their own cross-country trek.