|Frequently Asked Questions|
|Is this English or Dutch?|
Both. Depends on how I feel.
How does this site work?
Stories: this is a blog. While new stories are being added older ones scroll down, and eventually fall off the main page. What you see on the main page is usually just the first paragraph. Clicking on "read more" will show you the whole story. A story often has one or more "tags" in the upper right corner. E.g. clicking on the tag "Mexico" will select all stories on Mexico.
Photos: the latest photos are in the main section. Older ones move to their own "album". Clicking on a thumbnail will give you a full screen photo. Clicking on that one will give you the original version. Please use this last option with some caution as the original version is usually over 500 kilobytes.
Can I use your photos?
You are allowed to make copies of the contents of this site for personal use. For all other purposes please contact me.
Wow, what's that?
A reclining seat on wheels. Used for laid-back traveling. They call it a recumbent (ligfiets).
Does it go fast?
With a recumbent your air resistance is about 20% lower. So you can be faster with the same amount of energy. Or be as fast with less energy.
Uphill I go as slow as 6 km/h. Downhill I easily go 60 km/h. My cruising speed is usually just under 20 km/h, but can be up to 30 km/h with some tailwind.
Isn't it hard to climb up a mountain?
True. But you get rewarded.
First, on the top there is usually a great view.
Second, what goes up must come down, and downhill on a recumbent is really a lot of fun.
Third, after a long climb there are always a couple of barefooted virgins, in transparent silk dresses, with pitchers of fresh cool drinking water on their shoulders, waiting for me on the top. Really.
Do you ever think "Why am I doing this?"
It happens. At the end of the day, tired and hungry, on an ugly road, and a destination which turns out to be way further than expected. At those times there is a voice inside my head saying "Why are you doing this?" Another voice however says "Come on, you can do it!" And a third voice laughs about the other two.
Do you travel alone?
Are you alone?
Sometimes. On my bike I'm alone, and I like it like that. When I stop I usually draw a lot of attention with my recumbent bike. I meet a lot of local people. And I'm surely not the only traveler around.
Do you ever feel lonely?
So far this happened only once. At that time I was in the company of ten people. Being alone and being lonely are two separate things. I even think they are highly unrelated.
Do you take music with you?
No. But I'll sing. And I can use the frame of my bike as a didgeridoo. And I have a "gonzofoon". See also the "about" section.
Why are you doing this?
Because it was time for something new. Because I'm curious. Curious for the world, other countries, other surroundings, people, cultures, and mostly curious for myself being in that other world.
When I read a travel guide, or see a map of a deserted area, I want to go there. Islands near the shore of Panama, the caribic coast of Nicaragua, Baja... For my tenth birthday I asked (and got) a "Bosatlas". I've spent hours looking at the maps and dreaming of foreign countries.
Elke dag heen en weer rijden naar Amsterdam Zuid-Oost en daar een beetje op een duf kantoor rondhangen, dat is toch niet waar het om gaat in het leven.
Zeker als je alleen op reis gaat leer je jezelf kennen. Je eigen karaktertrekken worden uitvergroot, zowel de goede als de minder goede. Ik kan aardig met mezelf opschieten. Maar ik weet ook dat ik af en toe moeite heb met mezelf om te gaan. Ik hoop nog wat beter met mezelf te leren omgaan. Ik verwacht af en toe heel hard te zingen op de fiets. Ik zal ongetwijfeld ook af en toe nog harder vloeken.
Wat ik niet wil is op de automaat door het leven gaan.
How do you pay it?
My employer PinkRoccade has very good employee benefits. You can save part of your salary for a one year leave of absence. From 1 March 2003 till 29 Feb 2004 I have a 20% contract, so I get paid one day per week. On 1 March 2004 I'll return to a normal 100% contract. So I'll get a partially paid leave of absence. Thank you Pink.
Besides I've saved some money (spaarloon). Salary and saved money total to an amount of about EUR 10000.
Aren't they stupid?
I don't think so. Without these benefits I might have left them a year ago. So at least they have kept me another year. And they really appreciated my work.
How can you take your bagage with you on your recumbent bike? How much do you take with you?
I have large "banaantassen" which go under the seat (nicely centered weight). Behind that are small Ortlieb bags. On top of the rack goes a small backpack. I have a tent, sleeping bag, matress, cooking set, pans, clothes, etc. Including food and 6 liters or more of water this makes about 40 kg.
Doesn't your neck hurt on such a bike?
Actually one of the reasons I have a recumbent is because I would otherwise have pain in my back and shoulders. A hybrid or mountain bike will only increase the force on your wrists and shoulders, especially on a rocky downhill gravel road. A saddle isn't very comfortable either. A recumbent on the other hand has a seat, or maybe I should say a reclining seat. It's very comfortable, and your position is more natural.
Some French people even call it a vélo couché.
Do you wear a helmet?
Definitely. Ever since I've seen a friend being hit by the right mirror of a rental RV driven by some idiot senior citizen bozo ("Uh, oh, didn't know it was that wide") I'm convinced of how valuable a bicycle helmet can be. In many countries outside NL/EU they're not used to bicycles in traffic.
I wear a red helmet (good for visibility) with lots of holes for ventilation. On the left it carries a tiny rear view mirror.
Aren't those huge trucks dangerous?
Not that I'm aware of.
Why do you take this route?
My original plan was to travel by motorbike, from Alaska to Patagonia. After a while I decided a bicycle would be a better mode of traveling. This is just the best part of the original route.
I'll start in LA, and my plan is to end in Chile. Skipping some parts by plane, bus or boat. However I might just end in Panama, or Cuba, or in the US again.
How did you make this site?
This site was made with the following fine open source software:
Drupal - the blogging engine
PHP - the scripting language
MySQL - the database
Gallery - the image management software
Bluechat - the chat software
Perl - never leave without it
Apache - the webserver
Debian Linux - 100% Free Software