I’m settling into a groove now. And have started reaping the benefits of traveling by bike and doing it self-supported and free. Free is the operative word. And I value my freedom and independence above almost everything else. While I've ridden organized and supported bike trips across America, in Vietnam and through India, this is the first self-supported effort. And something tells me it will be hard to go back. An organized bike trip means you have to be somewhere specific by the end of the day. You ride with the benefit of an organization at your back– someone carries your stuff and you have a place to sleep and something to eat and a nice map and marked route that is planned and someone to call if something goes wrong. They will look for you if you don’t show up at the end of the day. They will get you to a doctor if you are hurt. They are security. With a group cycle tour you ride with a group of strangers who you meet over dinner when everyone is tired and anxious and ready to do this trip planned for months. You often have nothing in common with these people but a desire to bike the same route. Which can be good – good company and a nice pace line and people with you if there is trouble. Or bad – it’s hard to carve out personal time in a group, there is always at least one person who is difficult, and ultimately a group ride is only as strong as the collective abilities. I was thinking about the differences today as I road through the beautiful Po river delta from Ferrara to Comacchio. From a city I’d never heard of to a village I’d only decided to visit yesterday. I rode though flat
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