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Five inspiring books to start planning your cycling adventure

A world trip by bike almost always starts from your own living room. Everything begins with an idea, a wish, a dream. During these colder and darker days (at least in Belgium) we feel there is almost nothing better than dreaming about our next cycling adventure. Adventurous stories from other cyclists give us positive vibes, they inspire us. A cup of tea and cookies combined with an inspiring book, we love it!

One year on a bike - Martijn Doolaard
One Year on a Bike written by Martijn Doolaard made us dream everything is possible

People continuously ask us how we came up with the idea to start a world trip by bike. We love this question because this way we stay in touch with our hopes and dreams. More so, it's always fun to talk about our ideas and share them with people that are genuinely interested in what we do. This way we also hope to inspire others to stop living their rate race and start doing that thing they are positive about.

About five years ago Niels picked up the idea to travel by bike from an old school friend who bought an old bike and just started pedalling for an undecided amount of time, together with his girlfriend. The stories triggered Niels and he immediately felt this way of travelling could give him that sense of freedom he was looking for. There was only one thing (or one person) that he overlooked, Stefanie. "A world trip by bike goes too slow and is way too physical for me, no way!" she immediately thought. A few days later Niels walked into a little book store and bought a book about bicycle touring. A book full of touching stories and beautiful travel pictures. Little did he know this was exactly what Stefanie needed to start dreaming about an adventure by bike as well.

Stefanie started reading more and more books and blogs about adventurous people that conquered the world by bike, still thinking this method of travelling was way too extreme for her. However, it wasn't until we were in New Zealand, where we travelled for a longer time and rented two bikes for a few days, that she decided to take a leap of faith. "I think I am ready to start planning a world trip by bike!" she said. Completely surprised and over the moon Niels immediately made a plan and together, there and then, we decided to tell our employers we would quit our jobs to start cycling around the world.

Cycling through the vineyards in New Zealand

In this blog we want to share some amazing books with you that are very helpful to start planning your own adventure. We hope these amazing stories can inspire and trigger you the same way they amaze us. They can turn your world upside down, and that's a good thing. We want to thank the writers of these books because they inspired us to chase our dreams. Enjoy this little overview of adventurous travel books!

1. One year on a bike – Martijn Doolaard

Niels had bought this book even before he realised a world trip by bike with Stefanie could ever happen. It's a beautiful book and the hard cover is amazing, it fits every interior. Martijn succeeds perfectly in summarising the extremes of a world trip by bike, but at the same time his stories are accessible for all kind of readers. Compelling stories, dazzling pictures and plenty of practical information about gear. Because of Martijn's "One Year on a Bike" we got in touch with the cycling brand "Surly" for the first time. Two years later and we ourselves are still in love with our Surly Bridge Clubs. In the meantime, Martijn has written a second book about other adventures: Two Years on a Bike.

2. Op Eigen Kracht – Zoë Agassi and Olivier Van Herck (only in dutch)

Niels' old friend and classmate, Olivier, started pedalling around the world in 2016, together with his dutch girlfriend Zoë. In the meantime they have travelled 40.000km on human power, you can read all about their stories on the website WeLeaf. Their book "Op Eigen Kracht" bundles many beautiful stories, but it's even more amazing how Olivier and Zoë succeed in transferring their passion and vision about life to others. "Op Eigen Kracht" gives us the power and belief that beautiful things are awaiting us in our upcoming adventure, everything is possible! (There is no english version yet, but you can help them out by registering for a copy here)

3. Epic Bike Rides of the World – Lonely Planet

No life changing stories here, but a collection of epic bike rides from around the world. From family bikepacking trips to mountainbike itineraries through Mongolian plains. It's a book that will make you dream about possibilities and we loved it because of its diversity. For us this was not a planning tool for our upcoming world trip by bike, but we can imagine it can be a must-have for those planning a shorter adventure. We specifically loved the itinerary "to the tip of Patagonia", this convinced us we will have to include that part in our world trip.

4. Dwars door Amerika – Wouter Deboot (only in dutch)

We got to know Wouter Deboot through the show "Iedereen Beroemd" on our Flemish television channel één. In this television show he cycles through the United Stated, from east to west, and interviews people along the way. Wouter decided to write a book about his adventure in which he displays charming portraits of "regular" people. This book and series show perfectly that travelling by bike is something different and how it connects you easier with new cultures and local people. It opened our eyes and made us realise we want people to be the highlight of our trip instead of must-do/see things.

5. It’s all about the bike – Robert Penn

Robert Penn is in love with cycling and everything cycling is connected to. In his early twenties he cycles around the world and falls in love with the bike and this way of transport. This book displays Robert's quest for the perfect self-assembled bicycle and is way more philosophical you'd expect it to be. Captivating!

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