40 Cities in 4 Months
New World Tourist owners Monty & Laila give an account of an ingenious adventure that could only be done on a Bike Friday:
How do you bike the world in the least amount of time? Take a world cruise with your Bike Friday!
Cruising can be fun but the lack of transportation can limit the experience to tours and such if you want to explore. What if we could take our BF’s along for the trip? Warning! not all cruise companies will accommodate bringing a bike on board. Princess Cruises said, “if it fits in your room you’re welcome to bring it.” So we did! It was tight in what became to be called “our hamster hole”, but well worth it. Having our NWT BF’s allowed complete and total freedom at each of our destinations. We were neophytes with regards to riding bikes in foreign countries but it was surprisingly easy most of the time. Ship size can make quite a difference as well. This ship passenger count was 650, very small by cruise standards.
Here are some rides that dreams are made of – Valletta to Mdina on Malta, Rome, Cairns to Palm Beach via Captain Cook hwy, Nice to Monaco along the French Riviera, island of Medeira, Portugal, Barcelona (epic), Mumbai, Ho Chi Minh City, Funchal, Topolobampo and Curacao just to name a few. In all we visited close to 40 cities around the world. Being away for nearly 4 months took the traditional 2 week holiday and turned it upside down. There were times when transfers via bus to exit a port area or get to a destination further away was necessary. In these instances you can place your bike in the luggage compartment of the coach. We found no one really used them except for maybe a wheel chair or something like that. Lots of room. When the ship wasn’t able to dock requiring tendering into shore we leaned to wait for the stampede to subside and they’d let us take the bikes without even folding them. We did so once but depends on the conditions. The staff was all too happy to help us. The bikes became quite the topic on board ship. Came to find out the ship actually had a few bikes for the crews use, but when they saw the Bike Friday’s would have gladly traded us.
My NWT was equipped with a Garmin 60CSx. Pre-trip planning included saving ride routes from several of the global bike map web sites. This allowed us to follow pre-determined ride plans. It wasn’t always the best course of action so we stayed flexible. Most cities in the Mediterranean were easy enough just to explore without unless you want to do larger rides with more miles or create loops. We generally took the tourist philosophy that we wanted to see and experience the area not so much make mileage goals.
There were ports where riding didn’t make sense. Dubai being the best example. Hong Kong is another, but the port is on the opposite side of the the bay from Hong Kong in Kowloon. That city is very rideable and quite interesting. Then there’s the issue of being aware of cultural issues. Wearing bike shorts and jersey in some countries would have been quite offensive. The heat and humidity can make riding with pants and full length shirts unbearable. We found easy options when this was the case taking taxi’s or exploring on foot.
The stories and memories are endless. This type of bike adventure really is about maximizing the cruise experience to new levels. We had one flat and I inadvertently miss routed the chain looping it over the pulley guide tab on our first ride in HI. Dooh! That was it for mishaps. If we were at sea more than couple of days the bikes were folded and put away in the case. On repeat ride days we just kept them out in the room, placing a table upside down on the couch to make space. We never really wanted to be in the room anyway unless to sleep.
A trip like this was beyond description. Think of the ship as your moving hotel with free restaurants. Essentially one large sag wagon. The experience was so much fun we’re planning to book another world cruise for 2017.
Monty & Laila’s trip wouldn’t have been possible without their Bike Friday New World Tourists. Follow the link to learn more!
Hi this really sounds great but I am confused – did you bike each day while in port and come back to sleep or did you bike from one port to another and catch the ship further along on the cruise?
Hi Sharo, whatever port we visited allowed us the time we were there to ride. Most of the time it was a full day. On several occasions it was two days. We found it very easy to explore and make it back to the ship.
Great little story, my wife & I cruise a bit, I have only once seen a man with a fold up and have thought about this many times, you convinced me …… Cheers Rod from Australia
Hi Rod, we sure had fun riding in your country. While riding in Darwin (during the tail end of a cyclone) looking for a bike shop for a jersey souvenir I met a shop owner named Dingo who owned K9 Cycles. He didn’t have a jersey at the shop but asked me if I could wait a bit? Sure. He comes back with a totally cool N W Territory racing jersey and gives it to me as a token of Ausie hospitality. The people of Australia were amazing!
We took a BF Project Q in its tandem form on an Alaskan Cruise (New Amsterdam, out of Vancouver, Inside Passage). Disassembling it into its cargo shoulder bag was my means to get it in and off the ship. It made for a slightly cozier space in the room, but it fit. We’d do the assembly/disassembly on the dock. I had mapped out rides of 20-40 miles in each port. Unfortunately, it rained nearly every day except in Skagway, where it was windy and cold. Still we road up the pass towards Canada. Very scenic and free-feeling.
Don’t think our stateroom AKA “hamster hole” would have worked with a tandem. My hats of to you for doing it and making most of your trip despite weather. That’s always roll of the dice.