Just like fly fishing, riding a bycicle is an adventure, a passion, a pleasure, and whether if it is a quick ride to a favorite local fishing spot or a few day tour to some distant or remote water, it is always a new experience and a new chance to bond and connect with ourselves.
Riding a bycicle begins as an innocent hobby and just like it did not take very long for you to buy another fly rod, a nice new reel and a smooth line, it does not take long before you get hooked and find yourself all packed up and ready for another „two wheel“ fly fishing tour either.
It will soon become something you think about many times a day and when you come back tired and exhausted with that sweet smile of satisfaction on your face already planning another fly fishing trip with your two wheeled buddy, that will be it – you will officially be hooked and, just like fly fishing, there is no way back. No need to worry, it won’t do you no harm. Your muscles will probably get bigger and your butt will quickly turn into steel and you will feel better than ever before!
While travelling to a new and unknown fishing location by car, train, bus or plane can be very funny, travelling by your own will and power is something else. Merging these two passions, fly fishing and cycling, is the most beautiful thing – your travelling is not just travelling from one spot to another as it is with a car or a bus, it is really travelling through every single little place in the middle.
You do not just breeze through those streets and roads, you really see them and experience them. When you ride your bike, you are your own engine and this is a joy that is really hard to describe. You get to see a small stream or a pond you never knew and you can easily find and get to those hidden spots, make a cast and catch a fish you have never caught before.
Finding yourself in a far off place that is not even listed on the map is simply priceless. While wandering on your two wheeled buddy, you also get to stop and talk to many funny and interesting people, find out not only about local waters and fishing spots but also about good food, cheap places to stay and things to see. Meeting people and talking to them gives you an incredible sense of the place and whether it is small or big, a town or a village, because of the people you meet and talk to, you will remember it for a long time.
If compared to fly fishing, cycling is not so different. Listening to someone who has lots of experience can help, but listening to ten people, more or less experienced, will only get you into trouble. You probably remember that time when that smart guy was telling you that a 6 weight 9 foot fly rod is the way to go and how you ended up selling that rod and getting a shorter 4 weight because it just felt right for you? Well, it is the same when it comes to your bike. Being flexible means just not being limited.
You can sure ask for advice but maybe you will end up being confused. The best advice I have ever got was from an old man I met on the way, I remember him saying something like this: „Boy, don’t listen to others too much. Listen to yourself and do what you like and what feels right. You may be wrong and you will probably be wrong many times. But you will learn at firsthand and next time you will know better“. Yes, your own experience is priceless and unbeatable.
Some guys travel alone and this is a great way to truly know yourself. When touring on a bike, you get your moments of solitude, but you will also meet many people. The fellow cyclist will stop to say hello, they will talk and offer to buy you a drink or even a lunch. The same thing usually happens when you notice a neat pond or a river and decide to make a few casts – a fellow angler will love to hear about your solo flyfishing adventure.
Travelling with your friend or a few of them is definitely great fun but it can be a nightmare as well. You and them need to be as flexible as possible, you need to adapt and match each other and that is not an easy thing to do. Some ride slower, some are quicker and more agile, some like to stop more often, some will like a hotel more than a tent under the stars, but it is really up to you and your friends – make a deal, be flexible as much as you can, make sure it works for you and the others but keep in mind that some things are very enjoyable and some others less. Accept that and enjoy your adventure.
Being a fly angler means you already know how important is not to make things or situations complicated. You simply cannot take your 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 weight fly rods with you every time you decide to fish. You compromise. When touring on a bike, you need to compromise even more. You will not need 500 flies and a few rods.
Find a rod that suits you, get a travel rod that you can easily carry with you and that is well protected. No need to spend a fortune as you can find really great travel rods even for less than 100 EUR. Pick your flies carefully and stuff the „daytripper“ box, make sure you have enough of good working nymphs, dries and streamers. Enough means enough, not too many. Think about all the things you can do without and leave them at home. Also, think well about the things you easily can and can’t get along the way.
Whether you go for a ride from dawn to evening or for a week, you will love every single minute of it. Sounds like fun? It is! Do you have a mountain bike that you rarely ride? Are you thinking about getting one and setting off to an unkown water? Well ,don’t think – do it! Pack your stuff and hop that bike!
Contents THE CHALKSTREAMS OF GREAT BRITAINMODERN TACTICS ON A CHALKSTREAMTHE EQUIPMENTREFRESHEDTHE PRINCIPLE CHALKSTREAMS IN SOUTHERN ENGLANDRIVER TESTRIVER ITCHENRIVER AVONRIVER
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