|A Guitar Ted Productions series|
"In 1994 I went on a self-supported cycling tour with two other guys for a week on $200.00 and came home with money to spare.
That Tweet got more likes than usual, so I thought it might be interesting to bring the series back for 2018. Here are the reasons why:
- The "Touring Tuesdays" posts ran ten years ago. Many of you weren't reading this blog then, so you likely missed that.
- Touring/bikepacking is seeing a rise in popularity. This series is relevant to this new interest.
- I get a chance to revisit this and add any afterthoughts.
In 1994, I was only about a year into my career as a mechanic/cyclist, at least in earnest. While I had been an off-road cyclist since 1989, and while I had been a fan of cycling, and maybe more serious about cycling than many, I was far from being "good" at anything on two wheels yet. I knew very little about cycling techniques and road riding was absolutely alien to me. I had taken a mechanics class, and my year of wrenching had taught me loads, but I was far from being "accomplished" at the mechanics and definitely far from an accomplished cyclist as I could be.
Then there were the times. Of course, the internet existed, but no one was on it outside of college professors and government people. (Generally speaking) There were no cell phones one could carry around easily, they were still super rare, and coverage was still in the dark ages. Google maps, Garmin, and anything that could enable easy navigation simply did not exist for the common man. Much less a scruffy cyclist. Paper maps ruled, and you had to do a lot of decision making and hope you were right. You couldn't "google it". There was no real good way to get information on a route through the back roads and byways of America. If you went off the beaten path, you may as well be flying in space or sailing in uncharted waters. There really was no way to know what you'd find "out there". There were still public telephones. People still were decent on the highways as distracted driving wasn't an issue. Your worst fear was getting hit by a drunk driver. Imagine that now days.
Finally, there was no easy way to photograph things. You had a film based camera, and shots were precious. You didn't take shots on a whim, so images from this time are precious and rare commodities. There was no social media. When you were on the road touring you were totally unplugged from society. No Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook sharing with their immediate, comforting, and enabling feedback. Nope! If you had an issue, you were on yer own! If you had a beautiful sunset, only you had that memory. So, I will be adding reminders about how things were very different then, because it may be taken for granted by us now that things were around then that weren't, and when I wrote this in 1994 and 2008, there were a lot of things that needed explaining that I never dreamed would need explaining.
It was a different day and age, and next Sunday we'll get to experience the first slices of those days again. I plan on adding a bit of commentary to each post. Stay tuned.......