Although in my life I met not that many, compared to men at least, solo women traveling on a bike are in touch with many I am in touch and I know, even thanks to WOW – Women on wheels, that there are many of us in Poland and in the world.
Cycling alone is not and hasn't been for me, the act of desperation or any extraordinary courage – simply, I like to be my own rudder and ship, I've been able to manage on my own all my life and that's how it is on the road. I am aware, however, that for many females espacially the beginnings might be difficult – and – although I have been traveling by bike since 12 years of age – For me, in many ways, they were too.
Because many women, ask me what it's like to travel alone, or ask others and has doubts, does not know how to go about it, I thought, that I would write about my experiences and share “tips” – like about dealing with pushy men, accommodation, sleeping wild, bike repairs.
You can read here about:
Pushy men – how to cope with. Don't you get “"special" proposals”?
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 go, other rules apply on the liberal, the coast full of tourists, and others in the conservative interior. I put on long pants in Oman, I didn't take them off almost at all throughout the Middle East, Caucasus and Turkey (December – September next year). Shorts, Despite the hot weather, they were lying in a pannier – it was better that way.
I do not know if that's the case, but only once, When I put on the shirt “uncovered arms”, and it was as if there was no country, where there are hundreds of tourists , i.e. A Thai boy came to me, barely a teenager and offered to hug me in the bushes. I sent him to hell and I didn't wear the shirt anymore.
- do not accept invitations to drink alcohol together (somewhere along the way, men only), I 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 🙂
– And although it sounds strange, 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?
Make it clear, that you are not interested. Threaten to call the police. In addition, there is a fairly common belief in further corners of the world / outside Europe, that a woman from Europe is a woman “Liberated”, who wants to have sex at any time of the day or night and no matter who he does it with. In Kyrgyzstan, a Kyrgyz rider rode up to me on horseback and talked “How is my sex life going”. In the second sentence. In Armenia I used a lift and a nice driver, Halfway there, he boasted about his family and grandchildren before offering a hug “because no one would see”. In Greece, this is how a truck driver treated me.
Has anything bad happened to me despite taking precautions? Yep, worst case is Sexual assault 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 to be extremely friendly to foreigners, This is not a country for solo female cycling travelers. A woman on a bicycle is a different category there. My friends also had trouble there. Smaller, type of groping, catcalling as well as very serious ones.
In addition, I had a very unpleasant situation in my native Bieszczady Mountains, about which I wrote below.
2. How to organize your "good night's sleep", mainly “wild camping”? Main – 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), or just a shower and I'm going “into the bushes”.
- 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. There is often simply no place “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.
To sum up – Agree with someone experienced in the subject and choose to go somewhere together for a small live training :).
The main rule is – show yourself, ask people to put your tent (you sleep somewhere, because you ask someone for permission and you are there officially) or just hide. In practice, the best:
– is to look for a place yourself, for example,. entering side roads, Don't ask people about it
– not to be noticed (Which is not always possible, of course). You can choose your spot in advance, but putting up a tent as late in the day, or as it is already. “dusk”. Turn off the lights (yes, Sight gets used to and sees). Select a place like the least visible – although many times I set up in the middle of the field as there was nowhere – then in the morning you can be seen and you need to pack faster. After setting up the tent, arrange the. necessary things in specific places and do not use a flashlight. Czytanie odkładamy do rana 🙂
– and yet: have somewhere in sight, say 1 km some farm. A bigger road – If necessary, you can go there (but you can't get too close either, dogs because they smell and they will bark…)
It happened to me several times, that someone appeared near the already chosen spot and saw me – In this case, most often in 95% I packed and searched (unfortunately, because usually I'm tired and it's late) next. You never know what will come to your mind and whether they will not want to visit us alone or with friends at night.
It all sounds like a survival school, but it really is not so bad. Można się przyzwyczaić 🙂
I would add, that the issue of sleeping in the wild and safety Varies by region. 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 everything by yourself?
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?
Remark, 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 ..).
Women's solo cycling journey – 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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Share your opinion, Share your post! Feel free to look into other entries in the series of guides such as. Does a woman on a solo journey have to be afraid, A must-have or what is useful to me when traveling, Equipment and accessories for cyclingKnock, knock! I wrote this text with others in mind and it took me a lot of time to prepare. . How about buying a coffe?