Introvert or Extrovert? - CycleBlaze

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Introvert or Extrovert?

Mark Bingham

Are you an extrovert or an introvert?

For me, I couldn't be any more of an introvert. When I took a personality test years ago, I tested so far on the introverted scale that I wouldn't have been surprised to get a call from the person who scored it asking if I ever left my house, and did I need someone to bring some groceries by. Of course, I wouldn't have answered the phone because of my introversion.

Even so, I enjoy people, and find them endlessly fascinating. As you know, people always come up to you when you're on a bike and start talking, and that's one of the main reasons I tour. I truly believe that everyone has a great story in them - all you need to do is to get them to start talking. I've never found a single person to be uninteresting if asked the right questions.

Perhaps my curiosity and the pleasure I get from listening to people overcomes my introversion?

Another peculiarity is that I've published several journals on CycleBlaze, expressing my thoughts and feelings to complete strangers. That doesn't sound like an introvert. Nor does posting on the forum.

And yet, I absolutely am an introvert, shy even. It doesn't make much sense to me, and I started wondering about other people. Bicycle touring is by nature an individualized activity. Even people who travel together don't always ride at the same pace.

So, what are you? Do you consider yourself to be an introvert or extrovert, and how does it affect your cycling, if at all?

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1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo Mark Bingham

100% of my local bike rides are solo. 95% of my bike tours are solo.

I'm obsessed about taking landscape photos but almost never take people photos.

I function well in transactional relationships with strangers and acquaintances, but terribly in social "small talk" situations. Extroverts generally can't even comprehend that I have no desire for deep friendships.

Introvert to the max.

Effects on cycling are minor. I spend more time biking and less time talking. I stop more often to take photos. I never stress about having to wait for others, or worry about others having to wait for me.

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1 month ago
Brent IrvineTo Mark Bingham

I feel I am an introvert, Meyers-Briggs tells me I am an introvert, so I must be one.

I, too, can easily go talk with anyone, but am not too fond of a social 'party' atmosphere full of small talk. And after being out and about with people for a while, I need to head back to solitude for a while to rest.

So I suppose this introversion helps me as I really enjoy chatting with anyone while on tour, yet am content alone on the road, wandering on foot in new towns, or in my accommodations at night,  happily reading my book.

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1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo Mark Bingham

The bike touring extroverts must be too busy socializing to read this message board.  ;-)

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1 month ago
Bill StoneTo Mark Bingham


I'm definitely an introvert on my home turf, and would always rather be working on my own private projects rather than interacting with other people.

However, when bicycling in unfamiliar places, I often strike up conversations with strangers, something I never do at home. When I subsequently relate those conversations to my extroverted ace support crew (also known as my wife), she always says, "What, you actually talked to somebody?"

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1 month ago
John PickettTo Mark Bingham

I am a total introvert. I HATE small talk. I hate social events where I don't know anyone. I do most of my rides alone. The second half of my 2022 tour with 2 others was an exception. Also, I do some local event rides every year but mostly with people I know. 

I am certain that I was attracted to running and cycling because they fit with my introversion..

I can't handle people who like to chat while riding. It totally stresses me out. It also interrupts all the monkeys running around inside my head.

I do enjoy interacting with people (especially other bike tourists) at hostels and such. I especially like talking to tourists riding the opposite way. The information exchange is useful and there's an element of social comfort knowing we're all in this together.

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1 month ago
George HallTo Mark Bingham

Interesting question.  Personality tests I was forced to take during my working career showed approximately equal tendencies of introversion and extroversion. And one of them showed me to have equal propensity as an "owl" (i.e., nerdy smart guy) and as a "lion." FWIW, a lot of smart folks argue against the validity of these tests, and some even consider them to be total pseudoscience.  But I'm wondering off-topic, something that my weird personality tends to do.

Here's what I do know about myself:

1.) I don't mind touring solo. 2 of my 4 long tours were solo (including 1 coast-to-coast ride), and even the 2 that weren't had portions where I was solo. 

2.) It can be beneficial to tour with 1 or 2 others - certainly It's nice to be able to share the cost of hotel rooms.  However, I have discovered that it's very important to me that any touring partner has similar values to mine, particularly so regarding how they behave on the road and around others.

3.) Like Wayne, most of my photos are landscape - of the remaining, most of those are wildlife shots.  Most of the people photos I take are either state-line or mountain pass selfies, or other cyclists I meet on the road.

4.) I have some ongoing health issues.  I would have never said anything about them - I suspect that's something I inherited or adapted from my dad's personality (in his worldview, men just didn't complain about any personal health issue ever, men should be strong). But my wife insisted that I find a way to discuss them so that her extensive family was made aware - and so I have used my journals to do so.  Otherwise, my personality is such that I would have never said a thing.  Does that make me an introvert? Or am I an extrovert because I relented and did as she asked?

5.) After a long day on tour, I usually prefer to buy something I can take to the room and eat versus eating out in a restaurant.  Part of that is because there never seems to be much time if you are trying to post journal entries each day, but also I just don't feel the need to be around others. I have toured with others who want to eat out and/or go to a bar wearing their biking clothes just so they can let folks know they are on a cross-country bike tour. I don't have that need, not at all. Does that mean I'm an introvert?

6.) I have discovered that I like to write a journal as I go along. Doing so is a way of telling the whole world (or at least those with a bicycle touring interest) about my daily trials and joys. Does that mean that all of us who write journals are extroverts?  BTW, I was 1 week into my first long tour (Transam, 2015, solo) when I first "discovered" that I could write a journal - I met another tourist who was keeping a journal and spent my entire first rest day learning how to do it. That first journal is probably my best one.

7.) Even when I have toured with others, much of the time we ride separately and meet up occasionally along the way or at day's end.  I tend to roll out earlier than others.

8.) The best touring partners I ever had were folks I met along the way on the Transam. I rode with an English fellow and a young man from Denver for a couple of weeks and we shared the cost of cheap lodging as we could. A $65 hotel room split 3 ways is cheaper than a lot of camping sites.  So am I an introvert for commencing the tour solo, or an extrovert for teaming up with a couple of fellow adventurers?

Sigh... I'm 70 years old and still don't know what I want to be when (if) I grow up - I don't even know if I'm an introvert or an extrovert, and I don't feel any strong tendency to want to be either. I'm a total mess, I just know I want to go on more bicycle adventures...


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1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo George Hall

Buddy, your message wasn't long and detailed enough.  ;-)  Please say more more about item #2, partners behaviors that you don't want to tolerate.

I found item #5 interesting. I didn't know cyclists actually do what you describe, probably because I seldom see other cyclists during my bike tours. I will eat lunch at a restaurant in cycling clothes, but dinners are always in "street" clothes. In fact I am often one of the best-dressed patrons. I don't look like a cyclist but restaurant staff often ask about the peculiar chin strap no-tan lines on my face.

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1 month ago
Rich FrasierTo Mark Bingham

We are both incredible introverts, which frankly has always made us feel somewhat out of place in our home country, the good old highly-interactive USA.

We ride a tandem, too, which I think inhibits interaction from other people.  And we ride exclusively here in Europe, where people are much less likely to strike up conversations with strangers.

As a result, I can count on two hands the number of times we’ve had any kind of talk about what we’re doing when we’re out on tour.  No one ever asks us what we’re doing - hotel clerks, waiters…no one.   The few times we’ve interacted with people have almost always been with other Americans.  I guess those crazy Yanks will talk to anyone!  :)

If I didn’t believe deeply in the transformative power of cycle touring, I wouldn’t journal our rides on this site.  We love the adventure of setting out without a car and the perfect pace at which it allows us to discover the world.  I do the journals to encourage others to give it a try.  Certainly not because I want someone to notice.

We admire extroverts but we routinely fail to emulate them.  More power to them!  I really enjoy reading their journals here.

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1 month ago
Graham SmithTo Mark Bingham

Good question Mark. The short answer is that I’m an introvert, according to the most widely used workplace tests such as MBTI & DiSC and I agree with the findings.

The longer answer: My understanding of introversion vs extroversion is that introverts need to use ‘energy’ to socialise, especially with larger groups. Whereas extroverts feel energised by interacting with other people. Their batteries recharge in social situations, whereas introverts like me feel their batteries have lost charge after socialising.

 Extreme extroverts find it very difficult to be alone, and constantly seek out social situations. Extreme introverts prefer not to have to interact too much or too often with others, as the interactions tire them.

That said, neither introversion nor extroversion are fixed, unchangeable traits like eye colour. They are changeable sets of behaviours. Behaviours which can be learned and practiced. Extroverts can learn/practice introvert behaviours, and introverts can learn / practice extroversion. I’m an introvert who has learned to be extrovert. It’s just that I have to use more energy to be extrovert than somebody who’s naturally more extrovert than me.

Care is needed not to label people as introverts or extroverts. The categories aren’t boxes. They are simply descriptions of preferences.

The relevance to cycle touring? I’m quite comfortable touring solo for a long time, and also comfortable touring with others. However I know and expect that touring with others will feel like it’s more ‘work’ and that’s a factor I have to deal with.  I know I need to compensate by adjusting my own behaviour and attitude, and not expect others to change their preferences.

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1 month ago