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Travel diary: the thrills of cycling

Travel diary: the thrills of cycling

Our travel diary dedicated to the adventure of Giulia Baroncini (@ semicercatesonoingiro) from Milan to Chicago by bike, today leads us to address an important issue for those who love to travel alone. Let’s talk about the impact of other people’s opinions and fears and how they can affect our experiences.

If you have not read the first article on cycling tourism dedicated to Giulia’s journey, you can find it on our blog.  But to sum up ... At one point in her life, Giulia came across the biography of Luigi Masetti, a young man who, 130 years ago, set off on a solo bike trip from Milan to Chicago.

The many personal and professional similarities between Giulia and Masetti and Giulia’s desire to change something in her life prompted her to set off on her own adventure, which reached its destination also thanks to the reliability of Ursus wheels and seatpost.

The @semicercatesonoingiro Instagram profile became the virtual place where Giulia shared her encounters and experiences along the way. Now on her way back, Giulia has answered some of our questions, thanks to which we can share with you a series of posts on the theme of cycling.

What thrills will end up in our travel journal?

In this second post inspired by travel blogs, we focus on the sentiments felt on the trip and how, at times, other people’s fears can stick with us and affect our own feelings.

We asked Giulia to talk us through her emotions and people’s reactions at the start, along the way and upon her arrival in Chicago. This first-hand experience helps us to understand that riding a bike never means riding alone.
All that is left to do now is to read the story from our cyclist.

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Before setting off: determination and safety

The time for departure had come. But Giulia had not had the time to fully process what she was getting herself into. The idea of cycling through Europe and the United States was a lighting strike – she simply supported it.

The emotions felt when leaving are joy, determination and self-confidence. But Giulia faced many challenges. Still, she was happy to face the journey and held no doubt that she would be able to do everything. A journey of almost 8,000 km, across two continents, alone, riding a bike.

The madness of travelling alone and choosing to cycle

There is one phrase that Giulia hears over and over when she tells people about the project she is carrying out, “What?! That’s impossible! What are you doing?” 

Along with the amazement, however, she notices a form of admiration, a kind of admission, “I’d like to do that too.” Telling the story of her cycling journey also leads others to rediscover the desire for adventure and she likes that.

Otherwise, however, people’s reactions do not change her determination. She does not consider her long cycling route impossible at all because she knows she has broken it down into small segments suited to her abilities. She does not see 8,000 km of road ahead but many short stretches of road, all absolutely feasible.

The point is that where many see madness, Giulia sees a natural choice – something in her life was wrong, she decided to change it, to do something that was closer to what she would really like to be doing in the travel sector and in the world of cycling.

Arriving in Chicago: the fears of others

Chicago is getting closer. Giulia expected to shed tears of joy when she arrived in the city that represents a turning point in her adventure.
She spoke to many people she had met along her journey. As she approached the finish line, however, people’s reactions become more cautious. 
Many people warned her to be careful, saying that Chicago is one of the most dangerous cities in the US – a violent city.

The fears of others impacted Giulia. On arrival, she didn’t shed the tears of joy she expected.  Her emotions were quite flat. The state of alarm that other people had set off in her muffled her enthusiasm about crossing the finish line.

An incredible landscape, however, is a reward in itself. The first thing you see when you arrive in the city is the shores of Lake Michigan, the golden sand, the blue water and the skyscrapers in the background. Giulia did not expect to be welcomed by such scenery.

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Travelling alone by bike enriches us

Travel is not just a movement in space but is a way to broaden your horizons and meet different people. It is also a time to devote to introspection, especially if you choose a slow form of travel such as cycling.

Can an adventure like this change us? To answer – and conclude – let’s leave the floor to Giulia, who says,

I am definitely a different person. I am much richer in emotions than before. The wallet is a little emptier but the cultural baggage is much larger. I can speak better in the foreign languages I already knew, I am more confident in myself and my abilities.  I have a stronger charge than before because this long bike trip was a recharge of positive energies. I feel different. I define myself as being a little heavier, precisely because today I carry richer inner luggage.”


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