There are different kinds of tourists, to be sure. Some get a bad reputation for traveling to new places only to seek the comforts and conveniences of home, or failing to diverge even slightly from the most well-trodden sightseeing paths. There are also those who argue it is difficult to find something new, as so much of the world has been made to look like the rest. Finally, there are those who know that if you’re willing to put in a little extra leg-work, there are still some remarkable untouched wonders waiting to be discovered. Cycling has provided many with a fresh approach to travel, and as Allegra Mcgrory can attest, the virtue of two-wheel tourism is that it allows you to discover all the little gems hidden along the way.
Having discovered the joy of cycling only five years ago, Mcgrory has already seen a lot of the world on her bike. A fitness and travel enthusiast, she was encouraged to try mountain biking by a friend who thought she’d enjoy getting off the road and expanding her horizons. Apparently her friend knows her pretty well, because it was love at first ride and she hasn’t looked back. Quickly realizing that this was the best way to make the most of her travels, Allegra set off to explore.
Australians are known worldwide for their love of travel, a common sight in hostels and campgrounds across the globe. But this Aussie decided to start at home, her cycling beginning as a means to explore the very land on which she was born. People frequently remark that they haven’t properly discovered the places they are from, believing there’s no rush as they have their whole lives to do so, but getting on a bike was all the motivation Allegra needed to decide she wanted to see her country from a different perspective.
As fate would have it, it was also one of her first Australian cycling adventures that would bring her together with her future husband. Both setting out to explore the hills and trails of Lake Crackenback, these two happened upon a cycling romance that now sees them traveling the world together by bike. Despite having lived close to each other for years, they had never met, and it was trying something new that brought them into each other’s lives.
Quickly realizing that neither was afraid of meeting a fork in the road, Allegra and her companion set out to explore the paths less traveled. Quickly devouring much of Australia, they decided to take their adventure overseas. Now the first thing they do when they arrive in a new city is track down the local cycle shop, get hooked up with a suitable model, and make their ambitious plans to take in as much of the surrounding area as possible. Last year they set off on a cycling tour through Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany, covering a huge amount of ground in an eager three- week tour.
That being said, it doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten to take time to slow down and enjoy the little things about visiting a new place. Having spent just under a week in the Czech capital last fall, Allegra’s most vivid memory was not of the Charles Bridge or the Prague Castle, but the beautiful fall colors that displayed themselves so wonderfully on the foliage of the city’s trees. In addition to appreciating the city’s wonders, she also managed three full-day cycle trips, and probably saw more of the country than a lot of locals ever do.
By this point, using a bike to get around a city has become second nature to Allegra. Her absolute favorite thing to do in a new place, though? Climb a mountain on her bike in order to see the surrounding land from a different perspective. Her fondness of reaching a new vantage point reminds us that when traveling, one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. How has cycling expanded your horizons? Share your story here.