It’s quite common that the onset of a new decade in one’s life inspires a desire for change, for new experiences that broaden one’s perspective and feel worthy of an investment of time, one of the life’s greatest and most preciously limited commodities. For Lee Chimerakis, saying goodbye to his 50s and hello to his 60s inspired him to pursue a new and somewhat unexpected hobby: bicycle touring.
After crossing paths with a group of joyful riders who had just completed a long day’s ride, Lee and his wife developed a keen interest in bicycle touring and decided to celebrate Lee’s 60th birthday by going on a bike tour of Tuscany. In the years since, Lee and his wife have gone on at least a dozen bike tours, most of which take about a week to complete.
Even though Lee describes the routes as “challenging and demanding,” he also raves about bike tours as a life-altering experience capable of influencing one’s view of the world in the most profound and positive of ways. Lee credits, along with his wife, of course, the tour guides, his fellow riders, and the people he’s met along the way for opening his eyes in many ways while visiting. For example, pre-historic caves, monasteries, and vineyards while also providing the opportunity to learn how to make pasta, to sample the local cuisine, or to enjoy a picnic in the quiet company of nature.
“The walking and hiking can be very demanding, but it’s always followed by unbelievable views and delicious lunches from local restaurants in remote towns and other rural locations,” Lee explains. “It is a truly inspirational experience that we look forward to every few years, and we look forward to much more to come in the future.”
With the help of a tour guide and the support of a group that might include as many as 20 riders, Lee points out that many of the typical issues one might experience during a bike tour are either minimized or eliminated altogether:
Traveling to an unfamiliar locale where you don’t speak the language? Not to worry, says Lee, because the tour guides know the area and speak multiple languages. What about a flat tire or a broken spoke? Again, the tour guides are skilled in bike repair and have plenty of spare equipment. Even if fatigue is a factor, upgraded or electric-assist bikes help limit the physical demands of the steepest of inclines.
As Lee and his wife discovered, a bike tour is an inspirational and life-changing experience that absolutely anyone can enjoy.