Three weeks as a woman alone by bikeWether you call it trekking or bikepacking, in Germany people love to travel by bike. It is a very healthy way of moving from one place to another and a really fun and „back to the roots“ way of traveling.
Bikepacking is has a sporting aspect but is also a lifestyle like camping or caravanning. It gives you a wonderful opportunity to travel close to nature and in an environmentally friendly way.
If you are a woman traveling alone by bike, you are, above all, embarking on a journey for yourself. I will give you tips on what you can do as a woman to prepare to travel solo by bike and will share highlights of my three-week bike tour from Cologne to Rotterdam on the @bomencebags Instagram account.
What preparations should you make before embarking on a solo bike tour as a woman?
When you plan a trip, you know in your gut what your priorities are. If you are a self-confident and self-sufficient person, then it will not be difficult for you to mentally prepare for your solo journey. If you are a rather introverted person or someone who is not used to traveling alone, you can get a better sense of the matter by asking yourself a few questions:
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First, what is important to me when traveling?
If you’ve found this article, then you’ve probably not traveled much alone and would like to know which topics you will encounter on a bikepacking tour. As a woman, your focus on a solo tour might be different than that of a man. While the athletic aspect is an important part for men, many women want to explore new places and travel by intuition. At the same time, men and women have different concerns on solo bike trips.
In particular, there are issues that need to be clarified for you as a woman. This includes your personal preferences. Here are a few related points that will be discussed in this text:
Equipment for your first bike tour for approximately 3 weeks
Destinations, route planning, and duration of the tour
1. The feeling of security
2. Good preparation & equipment (use a list)
To counteract the fear of potentially spending a night alone in a place that doesn’t feel safe, you can always make hotel accommodations a possibility. Most hotels or guest houses allow guests to check in until 10 p.m. Depending on which route you ride, you can usually find a permanent place to sleep at least every 10 km. At the same time, it's always okay to come to a place and then decide against it. Women often rely on their gut reactions when engaging in unfamiliar adventures. Therefore, it is important to follow your gut and trust your feelings.
I generally recommend a combination of camping and staying in a hostel (or hotel) on your first bike trip. For your first bikepacking tour, I do not recommend wild camping. For proper wild camping, you also need to familiarize yourself with the laws and possibly choose bivouac places that do not result in reprimands or fines. Campsites often close at 8 p.m., and you should make sure that you can get there in time beforehand, which means always planning enough time. Here, too, you can plan better by choosing known and flat routes or using a practical route app such as Kamoot and Bikemap.
Women often rely on their gut reactions when engaging in unfamiliar adventures.
I always choose my accommodation for the night the day before or the morning of the same day. This relatively short-term decision is entirely sufficient. You can also plan your accommodations 3 days in advance. I don’t recommend planning more days in advance than that, because then the feeling of adventure is lost a bit.
Do you want to meet people and socialize along the way, or would you rather take an inner journey focused on yourself? This question is relevant for choosing your route and accommodations. If you don't like the feeling of being alone at the beginning, then use an app or do some research and look for a route that many cyclists take, like the Rhein-Rad-Weg that I chose. If you want to camp, search specifically for community or family campsites or Airbnb campgrounds to find contacts. Many typical camping sites are geared towards caravans, and older people like to spend time there in peace. Depending on what is important to you and depending on what you want that day, you can use Google to research your next place and aim for the goal you set.
At hostels, it is advisable to ask in advance whether you can safely store your bike inside.
4. Plan the right route by defining your destinations and duration
As a beginner bike packer, you don't want to drive along main roads and avoid mountain regions. The feeling of freedom and connection to nature is important to me. That's why forest paths are particularly great. If you are not yet used to lonely paths, work your way up slowly and choose shorter forest stretches at first.
For your first bikepacking tour, I recommend a trip of between 2-3 weeks, as you will only get into the right bikepacking mode after about a week. Shorter bike tours are more like bike tours that can also be enjoyed "luxuriously". A weekend bike trip is different from a bikepacking trip. Both are great, the focus here is on different things. With bikepacking you want to cover a lot of distance, while a weekend bike tour is a nice change of scenery with movement and new impressions.
For route planning, I can advise you to set 1-2 destinations first. If you want to go to a certain lake or a place, it is much easier to plan the way there than to first look for a bicycle tour route. Because there are always ways, as in life, you should know what inspires you and set a milestone. For example, I had set "beach in Holland" as a goal. Then I looked from Cologne, Germany how to get to a beach in Holland. That's when Rotterdam emerged as a milestone and from then on I thought about which beach could be beautiful. So I visited Ouddorp and other places where you can kite surf because I might come back sometime to learn kite surf. I didn't want to take the same way back, so I set the milestone "Belgium" and looked at what routes were possible for the way back. This time, I rode to Antwerp, stopped there for 3 days, and then stayed in Maastricht for 1 night.
Bike packing is a healthy way to travel
To better track my bike trip, check out this route on Kamoot. Here you can find my panniers that I used for my bikepacking trip.
5. Nutrition on a bike packing tour
How you would like to eat depends on how much money you want to spend on your trip and what bikepacking style you want to follow. If you are on the road for 3-6 weeks, you should set yourself an approximate goal of how much you want to spend per day. For example, an overnight stay at a campsite in Germany costs between 15 and 20 euros with your own tent. If you go out for a delicious meal, you pay at least twice as much per day. If you take your own provisions with you, you save a little money. Here you can think about when you want to prepare your own food. For example, as a solo traveler, I recommend that you only cook on arrival and arrival, otherwise you will lose a lot of time and have to find a suitable place with water. So think about what you can eat on the go. For example, you can pre-cook some vegetables and take them with you in a Tupperware box, buy some bread from the bakery on the way and eat them as a side dish with the vegetables. However, if you are a minimalist on the move, it is also important to treat yourself to something in between and to go out for a delicious meal. You have done a great deal physically and may you be treated to a soothing meal.
I made a YouTube video about food for your bikepacking tour here.
These food-safe coated and waterproof panniers store your food safely. Here you can order the pink Bomence bike bag for your next bike trip as a woman.
How can I prepare myself mentally for my trip?
That is the next question you should ask yourself.
When we are in the grip of everyday life with family and work, traveling alone as a woman is both a curse and a blessing. It is important that we are daring and courageous to step out of the shadows and beyond our comfort zones.
How else can we get back on the path to ourselves?
Sometimes you travel because you want to relax away from everyday life. A bikepacking tour is not physical recreation. However, it can provide mental relaxation as you put your complete focus on the path ahead. This gets you out of your everyday issues and gives you a new chance to see things from a different perspective. There are essential things to look out for on a solo bike tour. Namely, food and sleep. You may still worry a little about laundry and hygiene, but eating and sleeping are the only things that have to be done. This gives you time to think about yourself while traveling, and the energy you derive from this journey may enable you to formulate new projects and think creatively.
For me that was freedom!
Your thoughts can sometimes create beautiful feelings of hope and at the same time represent somewhat sobering realisations, which are enormously important for the further development of your life path. For me, the feeling of anticipation was very important, because in everyday life with children, my focus was on the needs of the children and organising everyday life. My 3-week bikepacking tour, which I did in summer 2021, was my very personal project that was incredibly important to me because I was allowed to design EVERYTHING on my own. I attended to no needs other than my own. I had to coordinate everything for myself, including which routes I would take, which sights I would like to visit, and what I would like to eat. It wasn't pancakes or fries, but raw zucchini with a spicy dip or a delicious salad with chanterelles in the restaurant. For me that was freedom!
It is important that you treat yourself to something in between.
In principle, the answer to how mentally prepare for a solo bikepacking tour as a woman is to say, yes, I can do it - come what may - as long as you do it!
Of course, the bike trip had given me a sense of anticipation as well as some doubts. Can I really do this? Can I do that at all? What if I don't have everything with me or something unforeseen happens? But it is precisely these questions that offer you an enormous amount of creative freedom and, thus, authority. It's a daunting challenge that I want to take on, which allows me to explore myself and learn how to deal with unexpected situations. This is the best way to learn to support the success of a project. If I know how I tick, then I can prepare better for my dream project. This applies to personal development as well as to your own business. Self-confidence and confidence in your own abilities increase enormously after a solo bikepacking tour. I will certainly integrate my experience that everything can be manageable somehow in the future.
You can apply this sentence to all other areas of life.
You can do it! I wish you a lot of joy!
These waterproof panniers are safe companions for your solo bike trip. Order these waterproof bike bags now.
Here you will find suitable sustainable handlebar bags for your bike. This can be converted into a fanny pack and is extremely practical for on the go.