Although in my life I met not that many, at least compared to men, cycling solo women, with many I am in touch with and I know, even thanks to WOW – Women on wheels, that in Poland and in the world we are plentiful.
Cycling alone is not and hasn't been for me, the act of desperation or any extraordinary courage – simply, I like to decide about myslef, I've been on my own all my life, and that's the way it is on the go, too. I am aware, however, that for many females espacially the beginnings might be difficult – and – although I have been traveling by bicycle since 12 years of age – for me in many aspects they were such as well.
Because a lot of women, asks me what it's like to travel alone, or asks others and has doubts, does not know how to go about it, I thought, that I will write about my experiences and share the proven “tips that work” – about men, accommodation, bike repairs.
Pushy men – how to cope. Don't you fet any proposals “not to be rejected (as we say in Poland)”?
I'm sorry gentlemen, that you are going to the first fire.. life.
Well, Of course, that I am afraid of this type of meeting and that I get such offers. I have no miracle prescription for eliminating such situations, but there are ways, to largely avoid them.
the most important thing is do not provoke with clothes, appearance and behavior. Adapt your clothes to generally accepted rules in the country you visit (which, of course, does not mean putting on local costumes). It really helps and inspires respect. In Europe it may be less visible, but in many countries tight-fitting cycling clothing or bare shoulders and shorts can be perceived wrongly – as an encouragement, and the woman as “no impressions”. In Southeast Asia, I would feel extremely bad with bare shoulders – women cover the body fairly well – a tanned body is unpopular there.
In Muslim countries, the rules are obviously more restrictive (even if the country is considered to be open to newcomers and their customs) arms and legs must be covered at least to the knee, preferably whole. In Turkey, to which many of us travel to, other rules apply to the liberal, the coast full of tourists, and others in the conservative highlands. I like wearing long pants in Oman, tak nie zdejmowałam ich niemal wcale przez cały Bliski Wschód, Kaukaz i Turcję (December – wrzesień przyszłego roku). Spodenki, pomimo upalnej pogody leżały w sakwie – tak było lepiej.
I do not know if that's the case, but only once, when I put the shirt “on straps”, and it was as if there was no country, where tourists are in bunches, i.e.. Thailand rode up to me on the eye barely a teenager youngster and proposed obściskiwanie in the bushes. Posłałam mu wiązankę a bluzki już więcej nie założyłam.
- not accept invitations to drink alcohol together (somewhere along the way, men only), strongly discourage you. During more than 3,5 month-long stay in the Caucasus, I never once drank home made alcohol that is so popular there., that is “"cha-cha"”, that I was offered. Ale wino czasem sobie kupowałam i owszem 🙂
– no i choć to zabrzmi dziwnie, but … keep your distance and even dose smiles sometimes. I have talked to fellow solo travelers about it many times – yes, it is also read as an encouragement. What to do, after all, a smile is necessary everywhere, but here you have to rely on your own sense.
What, however, if such a proposal is received?
To imply strongly, that one is not interested. Scare the police. In addition, there is a fairly common belief in other parts of the world / outside Europe, that a woman is a woman from Europe “liberated”, who want sex any time of day or night, and no matter who does it. In Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyzstan on horseback rode up to me and asked “how is my sex life going”. In the second sentence. In Armenia took advantage of a ride and a pleasant sort of driver, half the way he bragged about his family and grandchildren and then offered a hug “because nobody will see”. In Greece, this was how the truck driver treated me.
Was there something wrong to me, despite the precaution? Yep, worst case is attack in Iran sexual (read the post if you want to know the details).. Twice. I ended up in Iranian court. Unfortunately Iran, which is considered extremely friendly to foreigners, this is not a country for solo bicycle travelers. A woman on a bicycle is a different category there. My friend also had trouble there. Smaller, type of catching, smacking as well as very serious.
Besides, I had a very unpleasant situation in my native Bieszczady, about which I write below.
2. How to organize your accommodation, mainly “wild camping”? That is ACCOMMODATION in the wild while traveling by bike – rules
In terms of accommodation, we have many options available.
- standard or camping, hostel, hotel or agrotourism (depends on which part of the world we are in).
Here, of course, I use common booking sites as booking.com, AirBnB, I often search on google maps in the area, where am I (In the last moment), sometimes on the official websites of the tourist information.
However, I do not like to sleep at campsites in high season and choose it as a last resort. Sometimes I buy a day stay, (then I take a bath, piorę, I'm loading the equipment), albo sam prysznic i jadę “w krzaki”.
- Someone – for example,. “per host” or through portals, e.g.. Warmshowers / Coachsurfing etc.
You can even try to sleep “per host”, or ask for the opportunity to spread a tent on someone's yard / field / meadow. If this is someone you should ask area! In Europe, it is unlikely to be a problem, but in Asia. Tam często nie ma po prostu miejsca “under the tent”. I rarely do that. I do not like too much to ask, This first, besides, it is also not a guarantee of peace – sometime in Poland (Formula) I slept in the agritourism area and at night my host and friends came to my tent, after the party, they had fun walking around my tent and shining flashlights and I was thinking, I would die of fear. No, thank you, I'd rather hide somewhere, where no one will know about me.
- noclegi na dziko
This is my favorite way, but for many years it frightened me and it was an insurmountable obstacle for me. Yes, I slept in this way more than once, but always in the company of. Kilak years ago when going solo I spread a tent somewhere on the Bug, even though it was close to a farm, half the night I was shaking with fear and listening to the approaching dangers. Teraz wkładam zatyczki do uszu 🙂
Before embarking on a trip to Asia, I passed through “course sleeping in the wild” with a newly met friend on the road – I just asked a cyclist I didn't know, whom I met somewhere on the road before dark, to let me crash wild with him and sell the patents. He was not at all pleased :), but we rode together for over a week and I learned a lot. I was going on a long and long journey to another continent / continents, but I didn't feel like sleeping in the wild. Now I see it as a fairy tale, but it was so.
In sum – zgadajcie się z kimś doświadczonym w temacie i wybierzcie gdzieś razem na małe szkolenie live :).
The main rule is – or show up (are you sleeping somewhere, bo kogoś pytasz o pozwolenie i jesteś tam oficjalnie) albo się ukryj. W praktyce najlepiej:
– find yourself a seat yourself, for example,. entering the side road, not question him about it people
– not to be seen (which is not always possible, of course,). Place you can select a previously, but putting up a tent as late in the day, ie how is the so-called. “dusk”. Wyłączyć lampki (yes, wzrok się przyzwyczaja i się widzi). Select a place like the least visible – choć wielokrotnie rozstawiałam się na środku pola jak nie było gdzie – wtedy rano Cię widać i trzeba się szybciej zebrać. After spreading the tent sort out a ew. necessary things in specific places and do not use a flashlight. Czytanie odkładamy do rana 🙂
– and yet: be somewhere in sight, say 1 some holding that in miles. greater way – if you can go there (but can not be too close, dogs because they smell and they will bark…)
It happened to me several times, that someone already came close to a chosen spots, and he saw me – w takim przypadku najczęściej w 95% zwijałam się i szukałam (unfortunately, because usually I'm tired and it's late) next. You never know what good will come to mind and whether or not he wants us to visit alone or with colleagues in the night.
It all sounds like a survival school, but it really is not so bad. Można się przyzwyczaić 🙂
I would add, że kwestia spania na dziko i bezpieczeństwa zależy od regionu. While traveling in Asia, I felt much safer than in Europe and also take it easy as never – at times, that I slept in plain sight, on playgrounds etc. in Japan or South Korea it's absolutely no problem. I liked to hide more, so that I no one “did not enter the tent”. I have a theory, that Asian (Far East) the sense of security has to do with religion (Buddhism) and this, that there do not drink either so do not drink alcohol. Alcohol changes people a lot and this is already potentially dangerous.
3. Logistics on the go – how to deal with alone?
If you can't do it yourself, ask for help, although… it's hard for me, bo nie lubię prosić 🙂 Wiadomo, Coming from someone's safer and easier, However, because the person may be at the luggage while the other goes to the store, etc..
Bicycle – in larger towns I always fasten before entering the store, in cities I also close the rear wheel lock. In the villages rather nothing of the above, there everyone knows each other. When I want to visit something, I am already looking for a place, where someone is and can take a look at (Pinned) - my bike. In other cases, related to such. with carrying luggage at the train station or from/to the train, most often I also hide the honor in my pocket and ask someone for help if someone does not offer to offer himself before. Only once have I been denied.
4. How do you deal with bike repairs?
Caution, note! I CAN'T DO IT. Shame to admit, I know. I know how to patch and replace the inner tube, adjust something.. I guess all. However, this is not the reason, da which would cancel the trip, I have traveled a large part of the world. You can always grab the opportunity and come to some bicycle magician (I mean I hope, that always ..).
Kobieca podróż solo rowerem – podsumowanie i przesłanie 🙂
A woman traveling alone most often arouses in others concern and not the desire to harm. However, use common sense and don't underestimate the fact, that you are a woman. It really makes a difference, the further away from Europe, the more.
If you feel, that cycling is something for you is worth a try. Go somewhere for the day, two and if you like it more. The main thing is to take the first step.
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