A friend recently passed along "Catfish and Mandala" by Andrew X. Pham, the story of a solo bicycle tour in Vietnam. It is a wonderfully well written account, and has more depth than your average travel diary, as the life story of a vietnamese american family comes out alongside brilliant, spot-on, descriptions of the art of the bicycle tour. This paragraph is my favorite:
Touring solo on a bicycle, I discover, is an act of stupidity or an act of divine belief. It is intense stretches of isolation punctuated with flashes of pure terror and indelible moments of friendship. Mostly, it is dirty work particularly suitable for the stubborn masochist. I was suckered into the adventure, the elegant simplicity of its execution, and, yes, even the glory of its agony.
With that, I am thinking of taking the Ukulele by Bicycle Tour back on the road in the summer of 2011. While I would probably do it alone (and bask in the glory of the agony), I am also accepting applications for the position of "tour manager" whose job it would be to ride along with me and be there to share my excitement at the price of bananas at Food Lion or a record breaking time between Rutherforton and Boiling Springs, NC.