Has a magazine article inspired a tour? - CycleBlaze

Bicycle Travel Forum

Has a magazine article inspired a tour?

Wayne Estes

I have subscribed to Adventure Cyclist magazine since long before it was called Adventure Cyclist magazine. Over the decades I have read countless articles about bike tours. The articles are interesting, but they seldom inspire me to duplicate the author's tour. I think my only previous tour inspired by magazine articles would be my Idaho Trails tour in 2019.

The Mar/Apr 2023 issue of Adventure Cyclist magazine has an article called Still Beautiful that once again inspires me to duplicate an author's tour area. The author documented a 200 mile gravel route in the northernmost Sierra Nevada mountains in 2021 just before the the region was burned by the largest wildfire in California history, the Dixie fire. Then they duplicated the route in 2022 a year after the fire.

Greenville, California before and after the Dixie fire.
Road before and after the Dixie fire.
The Dixie fire burned nearly 1 million acres in 2021.

I want to tour the area in September 2023, two years after the Dixie fire. My route would be longer and mostly paved, and goes farther west to the city of Paradise which burned to the ground 5 years ago. It was victim to the Camp fire, the most deadly and expensive wildfire in California history.

I have pedaled through wildfire burns many times during bike tours, sometimes still smouldering. This will be my first time to deliberately travel through burned areas. It will be interesting to see how much re-growth and re-building has occurred in the years since the fires. The name of the tour will be Destruction and Renewal: Sierra Nevada Fires.

Here's a map of my planned route. It's so hilly that it would take me 10 travel days and 2 rest days. Most of day 1 is on a rail trail called Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail.

Not all of the route burned, and the burned areas aren't completely devastated. Burn areas have newly opened mountain views in what was previously a tunnel of trees.

I welcome suggestions about things to see and do. I know about Feather River hot spring, Western Pacific Railway trestles along the Feather river, Lassen volcano views from Lake Almanor, Paul Bunyan statue in Westwood, Quincy Heritage Walk, and the Sierra Nevada brewery tap room in Chico.

Who else has done a bike tour inspired by a magazine article?

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11 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Wayne Estes

I cancelled my Adventure Cycling subscription a few years ago, but before that, one of its magazine articles inspired me in a different way.  I read an account of riding the Mah Dah Hey Trail through the badlands of western North Dakota.  I wasn't sure if my rusty mountain bike was up to such a rugged track, so I convinced a friend to backpack a part of it with me for a couple days.  It was great.  Someday I will ride that 100- miles of single-track awesomeness.

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11 months ago
Keith AdamsTo Wayne Estes

Not yet, at least.

What I find is that the fodder that seems to be the preferred grist for magazine editors may be an interesting read but in the back of my mind there's a constant refrain: "Boy am I glad I'll never voluntarily put myself in such a situation."

It's true of journals here and elsewhere, too: there's simply no way I'd ever be interested in a multi-year solo (or otherwise) trip around the world, with especial attention to the difficult and possibly dangerous corners.  I've enjoyed reading several round-the-world journals but have no interest at all in attempting to duplicate or emulate them.

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11 months ago
Wayne EstesTo Keith Adams

Boy am I glad I'll never voluntarily put myself in such a situation.

I have those thoughts when reading my own older tour journals. As I get older, gradually more things that were once "ordinary adventures"are added to the "avoid at all costs" list. My sense of adventure took a big step down when I quit carrying camping gear. Then down again when I starting booking lodging in advance. Now my tours are shorter, with easier days and more rest days. It's either that or no tours...

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11 months ago
Susan CarpenterTo Wayne Estes

It was a 2009 article by Joe Nocera in the NY Times Travel section that got me started on cycle touring. Though I didn't take the Provence tour he chronicled, the article introduced me to the concept of self-guided touring. I convinced my sisters to join me on a self-guided tour in Burgundy later that year, and the rest is history.

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11 months ago
Graham SmithTo Wayne Estes

Hi Wayne, I can’t remember ever being inspired to do a specific tour by a magazine article. However reading Rupert McGuiness’s book “The Overlanders” did spark me enough to ride across Australia a few years ago. 

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11 months ago
George HallTo Wayne Estes

I don't think I've been inspired by a magazine article per se to do a particular tour, however I have been influenced by reading articles of tours in general.  For instance, I knew about the Transamerica Trail from various magazine articles I had read, and although no one article in particular influenced me to do the route, the combination of all of them was always in the background of my mind.  I knew that if others had ridden coast-to-coast on this route, then maybe I could too, so I suppose I was inspired to do it by the combination of many articles. Maybe or maybe not - I mean, I started doing short self-supported tours in college before I ever read any magazine articles, so maybe I would have done it anyway.

I give much more credence to real journals that I read than to magazine articles in Adventure Cycling or Bicycle Quarterly or other such publications. The magazines need to sell, and they need death-defying human interest stories detailing how someone biked up Mount Impossible (with deference to famed author and imaginary world adventurer Greg Garceau) to do so.

I wasn't influenced to ride the Western Express, Northern Tier, or Great Rivers South routes by a particular magazine article, but I did try and research the routes in advance by reading journal articles. The journals that I found really didn't inspire me or dissuade me, I just used them to note riding conditions, lodging, anything that may be helpful to know in advance of my own tour.

Now for a somewhat contradictory finish to the general trend of this post; the next tour I am planning IS based on a journal I read, and the journal author's opinion of the route has certainly encouraged me that the route is worthwhile. While I consider myself to be self-inspired, I wouldn't have thought to even consider the route if not for the journal - so I suppose it's fair to say that I was inspired to ride the route by the journal.

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10 months ago
Dino AngeliciTo Wayne Estes

"The articles are interesting, but they seldom inspire me to duplicate the author's tour."

I'll go out on a limb here and say the following. Other than riding across the country (USA), I haven't duplicated any magazine articles (printed or virtual). However, on several occasions, I have seen articles similar to a recently published/posted trip that I did, repeated in a magazine (not going to say which publication) a few months later by someone else. In one instance, an exact photo that I had in one of my journals was in the article. In another instance, a description of mine that I have never seen printed anywhere else (and I have been reading cycling publications for nearly 50 years) was used and re-worded, slightly. 

I know I can't accuse anyone of plagiarizing or stealing an idea but these were awfully coincidental. I've decided that I am happy to have been able to help an editor(s) somewhere tp come up with filler for their magazine(s). I'm sure it's a tough job. It's also good to know they read our stuff. However, a mention every now and then, would be nice. 

Happy publishing!

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3 weeks ago
Dino AngeliciTo Dino Angelici

I should add that I am currently working on a journal depicting a series of rides inspired by a book. I bought the book more than 30 years ago and it sat on one of my shelfs, largely unread until late 2021. I happened to see it with renewed interest and am occasionally riding some of the rides as time allows. It's interesting to see how some things have changed while others are still as they were.

I hope to have this non-traditional journal finished later on this year.

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3 weeks ago
Wayne EstesTo Dino Angelici

Dino, I can hardly imagine a publisher using your photo without consent and without giving credit. Maybe you are referring to an Internet publisher. On the Internet people routinely get away with re-using copyrighted photos without permission or attribution. 

I don't mind when people re-use photos I post on Facebook. I don't add a watermark or explicit copyright symbol. Most of the time people on Facebook "share" my photos which does keep the photos attributed to me.

I totally agree with your statement "It's also good to know they read our stuff. A mention, every now and then would be nice". It's sort of a compliment when somebody likes your photo or prose enough to steal it and call it their own.

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3 weeks ago