One of the things that we find most interesting about the average Bikeout attendee is that there isn't one.
Each trip brings together people of varied levels of experience with bike travel, whether they've toured thousands of miles or don't own a bike. Last October during our Philly to New Hope trip, we asked Philadelphia writer Patrick McNeil to talk to a handful of attendees to capture that spirit, and understand what drives people to travel, by bike or not. Photographer Emily P. Townsend snapped portraits of each attendee around the farm.
This is probably the closest I've come to traveling by bicycle. I mostly bike to work and home and around town and try to bike on the weekends as much as possible. I like feeling independent. But I haven’t done anything as long as Bikeout. I found myself realizing when we were like going down those long stretches of hills with nothing but the bikes around us, “Whoa, I don’t know if I’ve ever done anything like this before.” It felt really good and new.
Bicycling has been central to my life. I didn’t own a car until I was 35. Right after college, I did a 600-mile bike trip, up the coast to Maine and to Montreal. We were going to take the train back, but we ran out of money. So we biked the last 100 miles on two dozen doughnuts. Bikeout is a lot easier. It’s the perfect length ride and ends in a beautiful place.
I don't own a bicycle. I borrowed one from one of my roommates for Bikeout. This was just something I heard about from my coworker and it sounded really fun. This is probably the longest I've ever ridden in one go. It was awesome. I really like camping, and I actually loaned tents to most of the friends and coworkers that came with me. This is the perfect sweet spot to do as a group
My sister Maureen sent me an email about Bikeout and said, “Hey, would you like to do this ride?” I live in Illinois, and we get together a couple times a year. So I said yes, as long as I can ride my electric assist bike. It was fantastic. Unfortunately my electric assist inadvertently got disconnected on the ride, so my sister was nice enough to volunteer to swap bikes with me every other hill. It’s good to have a little sister on the ride with you. But it wouldn’t stop me from doing it again, that’s for sure.
I bike on average two to three times a month. My fiancé is an avid cyclist, so we trained for a 75-mile charity ride recently. I realized I can do distance cycling. With the hills, Bikeout was a test of your aerobic ability. We don’t travel to get away from our lives. We travel to experience something new. Bikeout is something brand new. It’s biking and yoga and a home-cooked meal. It’s absolutely an experience.
I’ve done some pretty-long distance bike riding and I was a group leader at Bikeout. I think a lot of people living in a city crave being away from the city, even if it's just for a weekend. It does a lot to your well being. There’s something special about getting somewhere by your own power by bike. You feel like you’ve conquered some real distance.
I’ve toured across the country and I've toured in Asia. On my first bike tour there was definitely a major barrier to breaking in and understanding the resources that you need to do an adventure. Being a part of Bikeout as a group lead, it comes full circle as I get to empower people to get over that hump and give them the confidence they need to have a fulfilling experience.