Join us as we explore the world of Ryan Van Duzer , an extraordinary storyteller who travels the globe mostly on his bicycle. Ryan's effervescent personality and passion for life are infectious. He invites us into his journey, sharing his experiences from biking Rwanda to across America, and meeting diverse cultures and people. From his service in the Peace Corps in Honduras to his multiple bike rides across American and biking around his hometown on Boulder, Colorado, Ryan's story showcases the goodness of humanity and offers hope and inspiration.
In our chat, Ryan shares his approach to bicycle travel and the power of unpredictable journeys. He talks about the Congo Nile Trail in Rwanda, a place that showcases rural life away from the city bustle, and his experiences in Sweden under the midnight sun. As he discusses the dangerous yet exciting aspect of cycling in different countries, he advocates for bicycle advocacy and protected bike lanes. Ryan also shares his bucket list of cycling adventures and offers valuable advice for beginners who want to venture into the world of cycling.
Lastly, listen in as Ryan narrates his delightful experiences of traveling with his friend and their dog, Mira, on the Baja Divide. He encourages listeners to overcome fears and step out of their comfort zones. By doing something new, he suggests, we can become more compassionate, loving, and patient. Tune in for a heartwarming exploration of traveling with a four-legged friend on a bicycle. Join us for this inspiring journey filled with tales of humanity, adventure, and love for the environment.
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Get inspired by world travelers Chris and Sara with "What No One Tells You," their conversational podcast. Each episode is a fun chat with friends sharing personal experiences, insider tips, and riveting stories. The show is elevated by amazing guests from Youtubers, ultra marathoners, bloggers, and adventurers who bring their unique energy and perspectives to the table. With Chris and Sara, you're sure to feel a part of the group, ready to embark on a new adventure. Explore the world one story at a time and join the conversation today.
Hey y'all! We're Chris + Sara (or as you know us, Let’s Be Us), a husband and wife digital nomad travel duo currently working and traveling full time with our pup, Kramer. We've always dreamed of traveling full time, and in May of 2018 we took the leap and made it happen! Today we're balancing work and fun everywhere between the Pacific and Atlantic. From hiking and cycling to tacos and coffee, we're trying to see and experience as much of this world as we can! While our home is currently on wheels in our DIY Sprinter van, our travels take us all around the world.Be sure to hit subscribe here on Youtube and follow along on Instagram for more daily fun! Oh, and be sure to say hi while you're here. :)
NOTE: There were 3 speakers identified in this transcript. Speaker separation errors can arise when multiple speakers speak simultaneously.
0:00:00 - Chris
Today we're talking to one of our favorite YouTubers, storytellers ever. In fact, we don't watch a lot of YouTube, but we really don't. No, but we watch this guy a lot.
0:00:11 - Sara
So if you don't know who Ryan Van Duzer is, ryan, how do you even explain him? He is probably got one of the most contagious upbeat personalities and he travels the world mostly by bicycle.
0:00:24 - Chris
Yeah, he, and it's just something. When you watch him, you can tell when he interacts with people. He's just. I'm like are you always this happy? Are you always? I think he is too.
0:00:33 - Sara
And that passion about life.
0:00:35 - Chris
But the thing we really love about his travels, you know, one it's by bicycle, but two, it's the people that he invites in and he gets to experience all sorts of different cultures, all sorts of different people, from big cities to small town America, to people in Mexico or Sweden or Rwanda. And he invites these people inside their, his videos and you just get to. You get to see a different side of life different side of humanity.
0:01:03 - Sara
He, his videos always have the common thread of people in this world are not that bad People, are mostly good people, and he shares a lot of that hope for humanity in his videos, but always filled with travel and adventure along the way. So Ryan is an amazing storyteller of taking us along around the world with him, and we're talking with him today about some of his most recent trips, including biking Rwanda, sweden. He's biked across America multiple times.
0:01:31 - Chris
I mean, this guy's been everywhere he's been everywhere he's been there. So we're going to get into the conversation, but before we do, if you can make sure to leave a review for this podcast, it really helps us out quite a bit. That's the only ask that I have.
0:01:45 - Sara
Yeah, I think that's that's it, that's it All right.
0:01:49 - Chris
Let's, let's just hop right into the conversation with Brian. Brian, thanks for being here today. We really appreciate it.
0:02:00 - Ryan Van Duzer
I am so excited to be here. It's an honor and let's have some fun. Sounds good.
0:02:06 - Sara
All right. So I guess, to start out, I know a lot of people know who you are. You were actually highly requested when we asked for people like who do you guys want to hear? On the podcast we had multiple people say Ryan. So people do know you, because you just give us an introduction of who you are, what you do, what you create, all that kind of thing.
0:02:20 - Ryan Van Duzer
First of all, thank you to all your listeners for watching my videos and wanting to hear more from me. I feel like people get sick of me because I have enough out there. But thank you. I'm Ryan Van Duzer. I am from Boulder, colorado. I've never driven a car Well, I guess I can't say that I've never had a driver's license. I live a car free life. I ride my bicycle everywhere. I love promoting people to ride their bikes more and to go out and adventure, and that's what my channel is all about is to show people what is out there in the world and what's possible. And you don't have to be an elite athlete and have the best gear. It's all about just getting outside.
0:02:59 - Sara
I love that.
0:02:59 - Chris
Yeah, that's. I didn't know that about the driver's license.
0:03:03 - Sara
I didn't know that part either. Yeah, that's super interesting.
0:03:06 - Chris
And so how long? How long has that been happening?
0:03:08 - Ryan Van Duzer
Well, let's see, I'm 44 years old now and I remember when I was 16 and all of my friends got driver's licenses and I was like I'm not going to get one, I'm going to ride my bike forever. And there are many reasons why, but the main one is when I was a little kid. I was, you know, I'm born and raised in Boulder, a very environmentally conscious city, and I was like you know what, in my mind, cars are bad, cars are pollution, and I want to try to help mother nature, and so that's my simplistic reason why I never really got a car or got a driver's license. And now I just love riding my bike because it's fun and it makes me feel good.
0:03:45 - Sara
I love that. I love it. So our journey with cycling didn't start until we were older. It's actually how we met. We met cycling across America, but we fell in love with it, like we don't cycle to the extent that you do, but we discovered your channel. I think it was like back during COVID and we were all stuck at home. I want to say it was your Greek divide series.
And it just was like it filled that wanderlust that we had when we couldn't actually go out there and do it ourselves. And you've just done some incredible bike, bike trips, bike packing, kind of things. So maybe for people who aren't familiar with you, what have been, what trips have you done and then what has been the most recent trip?
0:04:19 - Ryan Van Duzer
So I have been lucky and fortunate to have ridden my bike lots of different places. The first big adventure I ever did and this is the adventure that kicked it off and made me want to be a adventure storyteller is I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras in 2003 to 2005. And when I finished my service I got on my bicycle and rode it home to Boulder, colorado 4000 miles, wow. We got a motorcycle, that's not my motorcycle it's my neighbor's driving by.
0:04:54 - Sara
But anyway, so that was my first big trip and I just loved it.
0:04:58 - Ryan Van Duzer
I'd never felt so alive in my life. Every day was a new adventure. I camped along the side of the road, people invited me into their homes and fed me meals and I just saw all of the goodness in humanity. And a lot of times when the Western media portrays Mexico or Latin America in general, it's in a very negative light. And I went through these countries and had the best time of my life and met wonderful humans, generous humans, big hearted humans everywhere I went. And when I finished that journey three months later, I said to myself I want to figure out a way to make a living through travel and storytelling. And so since then I've been on quite a journey.
I used to work in the TV world more with travel channel and other networks, but now I'm on YouTube. It's a dream job. I get to tell the stories that I want to tell in the way that I want to tell them. I can share my heart and my soul, all the ups and the downs, and it's it's a dream and I love it. So other adventures I've ridden across the country four times, the United States being that country.
I rode a cruiser bike one of those times, essentially to show people hey, you don't need to have the best gear to do something big. And I had a cruiser bike with a trailer going across the country from Oceanside, near San Diego, to Washington DC. I've gotten down both the east and the west coast. I've ridden across Cuba and all sorts of other fun places the great divide. This summer I rode my bike from the top of Sweden above the Arctic Circle all the way down to the bottom of Sweden to the village where I lived in as an exchange student 25 years ago. So for me, riding a bike, yes, I love the physical aspect of it, it's fun, but it's a way to connect with humans. And if you watch my videos, you see that the highlights are when I meet people and share their stories on my channel, and I love that. That's my favorite part about doing what I do.
0:06:56 - Sara
We love that part of your channel. I mean, we're not like crazy avid cyclists, but it's the human aspect of it that we fell in love with too, seeing the small places in America that nobody else sees, and just seeing, exactly like what you said. It's not always what the news portrays. That goes for just about anywhere in the world. And, yeah, the way you connect with people everywhere you go and just take us along for what it's really like. I mean, it's just the cycling is a huge part of it and the adventure is there and the new places, but it's always the stories of the people that set it apart.
0:07:29 - Chris
And you've got such I feel like I say this a lot to people, but you especially you have this really infectious personality where you invite people in and it doesn't seem very hard for you to strike up a conversation with a stranger or, you know, is it natural for you to be able to just start talking randomly on the road. You'd be like, yeah, I rode my bike here from California while you're in Arkansas or wherever, and like is it? How do you find these stories? How do you find these people, the good people that you feature?
0:08:02 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know it's. I don't plan any of this. It's not like a TV show where there's a lot of producers involved and like at mile 90, you're going to meet this nice old farmer and you're going to interview him.
You know it's. I just happen upon these people in the parking lots of gas stations or at small town diners or wherever, and you know I don't come, I don't start filming them right away. I will start talking with them, start telling them about my story and what I'm doing, and then you know I'll be like hey, you know what my audience loves hearing from other people other than me. They get sick of me. Would you be willing to chat about your story on my channel? And 9.9 times out of 10 people are always excited to share their stories and to me that's it is kind of easy, it's not like it takes a lot of work, and that's why I do it. I love it. I love meeting these people, even if it slows me down a couple hours on my projected itinerary for the day. It doesn't matter, because those are the moments that I truly cherish and I love sharing with my audience.
0:09:07 - Chris
Let's actually talk about that really quick. You've got, you're on a bicycle. You have to make it somewhere by nightfall typically. You know it's it's not it's good news to really bike at night for the most part. But you meet somebody and you're trying to keep a schedule. But then on top of that, you're filming and like there are certain shots in your videos where you I know that you rode there you set up the tripod and then you rode back to get that shot of you going up whatever hill or whatever and how, like what's a typical day look like? What are the? What's the mileage? What, um like?
0:09:45 - Sara
0:09:46 - Chris
I'm just, we're always, as YouTubers, we're always fascinated by the logistics we are like whether it's yeah, we're just fascinated by all of it, so let's pull back the curtain. I want to know this like nitty gritty stuff.
0:09:56 - Ryan Van Duzer
Well, I want to tell you a secret. There are 10 people with me at any time and they all have cameras and drones and they're filming me at all times.
That's ridiculous, you know it is a ton of work. It's absolutely a ton of work, but I love it. It is fun, and there are times where I'm tired. I'm on mile 80 for the day. It's a hundred degrees out.
I want to be done, but maybe I'm seeing something beautiful and I'm like Ryan, you need to stop and document this, cause if you don't film it, it's like it never happened for the audience, and so I just I really need, I know that I need to put in the effort to get these shots and it makes it all worth it when I come home and I have great footage to edit, cause if I was just riding down the road with a GoPro on my head the whole time, the footage wouldn't be very dynamic. It would really makes it come alive when I put my camera on the tripod and ride in front of the camera and get the drone out and try to get a mix of different shots. So it's not just one camera angle the entire time. And yeah, it's a lot of work, but again, it's it's my job now and I love it, and I'm, you know, proud to say that I'm a YouTuber that gets to bike around the world and share stories.
0:11:09 - Sara
How amazing is that? Like I think that's so many people. It's my dream job or one of my dream jobs. I think that'd be so cool. So I want to ask one more question about logistics, before we go on to the actual places you've been and the people you've met, and that is, how often, how far in advance do you plan where you're staying at night? Because I know from watching some of your past bike packing trips and stuff, you end up staying with locals or you'll just find a spot on the side of the road. So what does that look like? I mean, how far are you planning?
0:11:36 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know, I really don't plan much at all, Even my big adventures. Like I'm going to do something this fall, I don't really know what I'm going to do, but it'll come to me and I'm just going to run out and do it. So I know a lot of people like planning way more than I do. But I'm not a huge planner, you know, and on a day to day basis I wake up and I'll look at my maps and say, ok, I'd like to get to this town for resupply, or at least maybe I haven't had a hotel in four days and I want to get a shower and charge up all my electronics. So some days I'll have an idea of where I want to go, but I would say most days I have no clue how far I'm going to get, no clue where I'm going to sleep or who I'm going to meet or what I'm going to eat. That's what I mean is when I say every day is an adventure. It really is like I just wake up, pack my stuff and start moving. Oh no go.
0:12:28 - Sara
OK, I was going to ask do you feel that, when every day looks different, do you feel like you remember life a little bit better? Because I know, is that what you were going with yeah, I was going with that.
Yeah, because that's something we've always noticed is like when life is a little unpredictable and you're pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, whether that's socially or physically or whatever that looks like. I tend to remember life better and I think probably filming on top of it Do you just have better vivid memories of the moments you've experienced along the way.
0:12:54 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know, that's a great point and I really do feel that way. A lot of times. I'll say to myself at the end of a day like wow, this this morning at 8 AM feels like a completely different day. It feels so long ago. I feel like I get two to three days in one day when I'm out on a bikepacking adventure because so much happens and you're so hyper alert of everything You're navigating, you're filtering water, you're meeting people, you're riding your bike, which can be physically difficult, so your brain is on overdrive all day long. And then, finally, when you relax at the end of the day, you're like wow, breakfast seems like it was a week ago. And then when I get documented, of course you know I come home and I edit footage. Right now I'm editing my footage from Sweden and I get to relive a lot of these very powerful moments in my life. It's very cool.
0:13:52 - Sara
How cool is that? That is cool, I just love that.
0:13:54 - Chris
So when you go home, are you bored? You know, it's funny.
0:13:57 - Ryan Van Duzer
When I get home from adventures I'm usually psyched to be home because I love my home, I love Boulder and my friends and my community. But after like a week or so I'm like, oh, I kind of want to get on the road again. You know same? Yeah, that's how we are.
0:14:12 - Chris
Yeah, takes me like I don't know.
0:14:16 - Sara
I enjoy being back home with like a regular shower, a laundry machine, washing machine, and then after a few days I'm ready for something abnormal again. That's how I am. So, how many days do you actually spend at home a year, because I feel like you live on a bike at least 30% of the year. Is that true?
0:14:32 - Ryan Van Duzer
Yeah, I would say something like that. Before the pandemic I traveled like 150 to 200 days a year. Wow, it's not as much these days, but it's still quite a bit. I haven't really calculated it out, but I'm gone quite a bit.
0:14:47 - Sara
Let's. I want to jump to some of your most recent trips, which I think the one that I find really fascinating is Rwanda, and I don't remember when exactly that was. Was it June or March? Okay, spend a little bit. Can you talk to us about Rwanda, Because that's obviously a country that has I mean, it's gone through so much the last few decades and I feel like, especially seeing it through your eyes and how much they progress and how much it's changed has become like this destination is just this beautiful country. Could you kind of walk us through your expectations of what you were when you headed to Rwanda, what you were expecting and then what you actually experienced while you were there?
0:15:23 - Ryan Van Duzer
I love it. I love talking about Rwanda. So I had never been to Africa before. Rwanda was not on my list of places to go this year and I got an email from the tourism board saying hey, we love your videos, we would love for you to come to Rwanda and help us promote cycling in Rwanda, because we want people to come here and see our beautiful country on the seat of a bicycle. And I was like, okay, that sounds awesome, and I don't usually do sponsored trips with tourism boards because they can be really curated. Yeah, like my, adventures are wide open and whatever happens happens. But when you work with a tourism board it's usually a pretty strict itinerary. But this sounded too good to pass up, so I went over there.
I read some books before I went to Rwanda. Obviously we've all heard of the genocide in 1994 and the horrific events of that, and I had also read in these books that Rwanda has made a complete turnaround and is one of the most safe countries in Africa now and progressive in a way that even the United States or Western European countries are not. You know they banned single use plastic bags a long time ago, way before we did, because they know that all this stuff is really horrible for the environment and it was fascinating to be there. You know, the landscape is stunning all the rolling hills and it's emerald green and jungles, and, of course, one of the highlights of my life was visiting the mountain gorillas.
Oh my gosh, you know we got to go on a trek into the jungle and see the mountain gorillas, which was super special, and this is where I really appreciated being with the tourism board, because to see the mountain gorillas is a $1,500 permit per person.
0:17:04 - Chris
Oh, wow, yeah, it's really expensive. I probably would never yeah.
0:17:09 - Ryan Van Duzer
I would never have done it on my own but, man, it was so magical to see these creatures and look into their eyes and like connect with them on a level that I've never connected with another animal.
You know they're 99.5% the same as us and so that was fascinating. And the way I worked around the whole strict itinerary of a tourism board is I did their whole trip for 10 days where it was all these different events all day long for 10 days, and I said I will do this trip if I can stay later and do my own bike trip. They said that sounds great. So I rode what's called the Congo Nile Trail, which is along Lake Kivu and it's a new tourism route that the country has developed to promote people to go to these village, far off villages and experience African life away from the cities. And this Congo Nile Trail was absolutely stunning and I had a guide with me, kali, the guy who actually developed the route, so I had the perfect person to be riding with. And everywhere I went on my bicycle, kids were chasing me and yelling at me yelling like good things, not like angry things Like hello, hello friend, how are you?
I'm a Kuru. I'm a Kuru is their way of saying. How are you and? So it was like a fairy tale. It really was going to Rwanda.
0:18:29 - Sara
So I'm really curious, because I know that they've invested a lot in the tourism side of cycling. And what would you say If someone like us was interested in cycling Rwanda, because I think that would be absolutely incredible. What should we know about that? Like it's really kind of hard for me to imagine exactly what kind of amenities to expect, or like I mean I'm thinking like resupplying, like food, water. I mean I hear Rwanda when I think probably amazing coffee the whole way, but past that I don't really know what to expect. So what does that look like?
0:18:59 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know, what I've told my friends since coming home is it's a super safe place to ride a bike because there aren't many vehicles on the roads and they're very mindful of people on bikes because a lot of the country uses bikes to move their goods from market to market, and so whenever you're on a road in Rwanda, each the sides of the roads are filled with people on bicycles going all different directions. So, first off, it's a safe place to ride, which is key because a lot of places are not safe. You know, in the United States I try my best to stay away from paved roads now because there's so much distracted driving. People are on their phones and it's horrifying.
So that's why I try to do most of my adventures on dirt, so I'm away from cars, and if I crash it's my fault.
0:19:51 - Sara
Yeah, no one else to blame.
0:19:53 - Ryan Van Duzer
Yeah, exactly. But as far as resupply, you know, there's food, there's restaurants, there's water. People are very friendly, very curious. I've even heard as a single woman. It's a safer place to travel than other parts of Africa and they have some established bike routes now, both mountain biking on dirt and on the roads. You know Rwanda itself as a country. They love cycling and they have a Rwandan national cycling team that's very strong and very fit and competes on an international level. So, yeah, I think if you do wanna go to Rwanda and ride your bike, it's the perfect place. You could just ride around in circles and have the time of your life.
0:20:35 - Sara
0:20:36 - Chris
I'm ready to go.
0:20:38 - Sara
I've never been to Africa either, but I keep hearing people say Rwanda is just this incredible, like they've just done so much in such a short amount of time that it's just like this incredible destination right now, so I hope we get to go there very soon.
0:20:52 - Chris
Maybe by bike, I don't know. So Rwanda is one trip that you took this year, but then on the flip side, I feel like completely 360, you went to Sweden. I mean, it's completely different on the opposite end or of the world. Well, it's just north. It's like northly yeah, and so.
0:21:12 - Sara
Sweden's special to you because you lived there.
0:21:14 - Chris
So, yeah, let's talk about Sweden.
0:21:16 - Ryan Van Duzer
So Sweden was a trip a long time in the making. I was an exchange student there 25 years ago. It was that experience that opened my eyes to the world. You know, I grew up in Boulder, in this beautiful little protected bubble. It's a beautiful city, but I didn't get out much. I was raised by a single mom. She had four kids. We didn't go on vacations, so I had never experienced really anything outside of Boulder. The one time I left Boulder when I was a kid was to go to Wyoming for a soccer game, and I thought that was pretty exciting, wow. So Sweden when I graduated high school was a very big deal, and my host family was incredible. It was destiny to be matched up with these people. I was a rotary international exchange student. I went to school. I met my first love over there.
I learned to speak Swedish. It was a dream situation, so Sweden will always hold a special place in my heart, and when I was an exchange student there, I always dreamed of going to the far north to experience the midnight sun. I was down outside of Malmö, sweden, which is the very southern tip, but I never made my northern Sweden dreams come true. And finally, this year I did, and actually last year I had the trip all set to go. I had my bike packed up in a box and 24 hours before I was supposed to get on the airplane, scandinavian airlines went on strike and all the itineraries were canceled, so I was really close last year and then finally made it happen this year.
I flew to the very top of Sweden, a city called Kyruna, which is above the Arctic Circle, and I landed on Midsummer, which is the longest day of the year, and it was incredible. I never saw darkness when I was in Sweden, which is bizarre. So cool. You're in your tent and you need to go outside and use the bathroom at three in the morning and it is light outside. It's crazy.
0:23:15 - Sara
I love it. Did you bike extra long days because you just had no perception of time For?
0:23:20 - Ryan Van Duzer
sure, I mean, I rode till 10, 11 pm some nights, because you can, that's so weird, that's amazing.
0:23:27 - Sara
So you said you speak Swedish. That cannot be an easy language, that's I feel like it could be really difficult, is it?
0:23:34 - Ryan Van Duzer
Well, you know, maybe it is if I tried to learn it now, but I was 18, I went to Swedish high school. I had a Swedish girlfriend, so it was just kind of like learning English when I was a baby. I just heard the same words over and over and over and finally started picking it up and I really made an effort to learn Swedish, because If you've ever been to Northern Europe, scandinavia, they are amazing at English.
There's no reason to learn Swedish, because you don't need it, because their English is perfect. But I really made a point to learn Swedish. I wanted to get the most out of my experience. So, yeah, I speak Swedish, which is totally random and not very useful unless you're in Sweden.
0:24:14 - Sara
I love that. Yeah, I'm finished apart finished and I always was like I'm going to learn Finnish and I realized that's like a completely useless language in America. There's like no Finnish people, but their words are, like you know, 10 miles long and I kind of imagine it's the same thing.
0:24:27 - Ryan Van Duzer
Finnish is actually way different than Swedish, so Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are pretty similar. Finnish is totally different. It's its own weird thing. I've heard that, and that truly is a hard language.
0:24:40 - Sara
Yeah, I don't think that's going to happen, Not at this age maybe.
0:24:44 - Ryan Van Duzer
But OK so.
0:24:45 - Sara
Sweden is the series that you're currently working through editing and posting on YouTube. We need is there anything people should know about that? To go catch up Like how many videos will there be?
0:24:57 - Ryan Van Duzer
And there'll be quite a few videos. So a lot of times when I'm on a bike trip, I'll make a video for one full day. So if the trip is 10 days, I'll have 10 videos. So I filmed quite a bit to make sure to be able to fill up a full day's worth of action. So I'm on video number seven right now. The beginning of the trip was very difficult because it was super rainy and super mosquito-y, is that?
0:25:23 - Sara
the word. I was going to ask. Yes, I was going to ask about that.
0:25:26 - Ryan Van Duzer
Oh, the mosquitoes were absolutely horrible. It was crazy. I had never experienced anything like it. I had been warned that there were lots of mosquitoes, but boy, I wasn't ready and it was crazy making. I couldn't stop ever and just eat a cliff bar or energy bar or whatever and enjoy myself, because if I stopped, the mosquitoes would descend.
0:25:48 - Sara
If I was going slowly up a hill.
0:25:51 - Ryan Van Duzer
They could go my speed and suck my blood while I was riding my bike.
0:25:56 - Chris
It was nuts.
0:25:59 - Ryan Van Duzer
I was not a big fan of the Swedish mosquitoes. I love everything about Sweden except for the mosquitoes.
0:26:05 - Sara
Did they get better as you went further south away from the Arctic?
0:26:07 - Ryan Van Duzer
So yeah, I was originally riding what's called the Euro Divide Trail, which is in the middle of nowhere backwoods, and I realized that the backwoods is where most of the mosquitoes were and I changed my route. I was like I don't want to stay on this route. It's driving me nuts. So I headed more toward the coast, where there's a lot fewer mosquitoes, and then it got better.
0:26:29 - Sara
OK, were people pretty respectful of cyclists up there.
0:26:33 - Ryan Van Duzer
Very respectful. Yeah, In the United States I get honked at all the time by cars and in Sweden I didn't get honked at once Again. Europe, Sweden, they're very. It's a bike-centric culture. A lot of people ride bikes there. They respect cyclists, so they're not as agro as in the United States, so I was treated very well by all the drivers in Sweden, and way up north there's really not that many people, so I was seeing a lot more reindeer than humans in cars.
0:27:05 - Chris
How cool is that. That is super cool.
0:27:07 - Sara
0:27:09 - Chris
What would be the most dangerous place that you've cycled?
0:27:13 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know, I guess, as far as like cars, yeah, I think cars or people shooting at me.
0:27:20 - Chris
Oh gosh, I mean either, or I was thinking cars, I mean I mean.
0:27:25 - Ryan Van Duzer
I would say the United States, for sure, is the most dangerous. Sure, there's so many cars and everybody's in a hurry, so many people are distracted drivers. So, again, like I said, I try to stay off roads in the United States. There are times where I have to ride pavement to get to connect different places, but, yeah, it's a bummer. But that's why I'm so passionate about what I do in promoting bicycle advocacy and trying to get cities to build more protected bike lanes, because if we can get more people riding bikes, then drivers are going to see more people on bikes and they're going to hopefully respect us more. And that's how they did it in Europe. That's the model there, and countries like Denmark and Holland and Sweden and all these different countries France have huge numbers of bike commuters where people just use their bikes to go to work, for the grocery store.
0:28:17 - Chris
Mm, look at that, that's so cool.
0:28:19 - Ryan Van Duzer
0:28:19 - Chris
0:28:20 - Ryan Van Duzer
Cuba is another very safe place to ride a bike if you ever want to go to Cuba.
0:28:24 - Sara
0:28:25 - Ryan Van Duzer
Cuba's kind of like Rwanda in a way where there's not many vehicles on the roads and everybody there they're used to people in horse drawn carts and buggies all over the place going slow on the roads. The cars just go slow, they're not looking to run anybody over.
0:28:40 - Sara
Wow, I would not have expected. I mean, I've never been to Cuba, but I wouldn't have thought about cycling Cuba, yeah.
0:28:45 - Ryan Van Duzer
When did you do?
0:28:46 - Sara
that. Can I ask what year was that I've done?
0:28:47 - Ryan Van Duzer
it twice actually. I did it in 2015, and then again in 2018. Ok, so recently, yeah, yeah, so it's a fascinating place, just even if you're not on a bike, but it's a great place to ride a bike.
0:29:00 - Sara
Man, that would be so cool.
0:29:03 - Ryan Van Duzer
And it's not that far to get to. Yeah, it's pretty cool. We're from the.
0:29:05 - Chris
East Coast, you know, to our flight from us Not too bad at all, so cool, ok.
0:29:10 - Sara
So I have a question for you. I'm going to guess you probably have a whole bucket list of places you want to cycle, so could you give us like what? Maybe you'd like to keep this quiet, but like what's next, or what would be your bucket list place?
0:29:21 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know I want to ride. I've been to Nepal three times to trek in the Himalayas. I would love to ride my bike more in Nepal. I love that country, I love the culture, I love the architecture, I love the religion, I love the food. Nepal is fascinating to me, so I'd love to ride my bike there a bit more. I would love to ride my bike in different places in Africa Mozambique, you know, I mean there's so many different. I mean I'll ride my bike anywhere. I want to ride my bike in Argentina and Brazil. So I have a long list of places where I want to go. Yeah, and you know, I slowly just chip away at the list and make it happen.
0:30:00 - Sara
I love that. That's amazing. Go ahead, I'm asking all the questions again. I have a bad habit of that. No, you're doing great.
0:30:06 - Chris
Well, I was going to say, I mean, if somebody's listening to this and they're like, oh, wow, yeah, I'd love to bike there, I'd love, but they don't know how to bike, you know, or is there any good practical like first steps on? I know, getting a bike would probably be a good one, but how could somebody start doing the similar adventures that you're doing now?
0:30:25 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know, I always tell people to start small. A lot of different people watch my channel and they'll write comments saying, oh, this looks so good and so beautiful, but I'm scared of lots of different things, and so I tell people to start small. You know, get a bike that fits you. It doesn't need to be an amazing bicycle. Like I said, I rode a three-speed cruiser bike all the way across the country.
You can ride just about anything, as long as it fits you and it's comfortable. And then go out for one night and just see what it's like to test your gear and put up your tent and blow up your sleeping mattress and see if you really like it and most people do. Most people love the freedom of traveling by bicycle and seeing the world at a slower speed, and so, yeah, start small and then, from there, start dreaming about bigger trips.
0:31:14 - Sara
0:31:14 - Ryan Van Duzer
That's good advice, yeah, and going to your local bike shop is a great place to start. As far as what type of bike to get. People ask me all the time about what kind of bike, and I just tell them anything that fits you is a good bike.
0:31:29 - Sara
So if you're comfortable on it.
0:31:30 - Ryan Van Duzer
if it feels right, you're ready to go. Then you start buying some different bags and panniers for your bike so you can carry your gear and your food and your cans of beans and you're good to go.
0:31:43 - Sara
I love it this is a common thread in a lot of our episodes is the point of entry. We'll have people on for cycling or international travel or whatever it is, and we love having people share with us how to just get started, because I know that for a lot of people it's that intimidation of just get going and I mean for us especially. I mean it could be daunting. Cycling is not cheap. It could be very expensive, but I know that when we started we both started very minimal. I got a used bike on Craigslist. It is still the bike I bike on 10 years later and I love that little bike. But it doesn't take a lot and I think that that's a really important thing, especially with cycling, because it can be daunting.
0:32:21 - Chris
And you actually you touched on something that is really meaningful to us is traveling slow and doing it by bicycle. I feel like, for the most part, you are traveling slow and it kind of goes over a whole lot. Do you find yourself all like longing for those types of trips, like slow travel? Do you feel like you get to know the place a little better or the people a little better? You know?
0:32:44 - Ryan Van Duzer
I, since my very first trip, I call it life at 15 miles. It's not a good podcast unless the dog is barking in the background.
0:32:57 - Chris
That's right oh.
0:33:04 - Ryan Van Duzer
Ever since my first trip I've called it life at 15 miles an hour and that even might be a little fast For a bike trip. Most people like maybe 12 or 13 miles an hour. That's right, yeah, but you really get to experience a place At a pace that puts you there on the ground, where you can hear the bugs buzzing and the flowers and the birds chirping and the wind blowing through the trees and the leaves, and you get to stop in these small town cafes or Community centers. You get to meet just regular old people in the middle of nowhere, and I love it. I mean, that's really why I love traveling by bicycle. It's a connector, it's a tool, it's a way for me to see the world and For me it's the best way to travel. Now, look at me. Now I have like loud sounds in the background. Hold on, I'm gonna turn, close my window. Oh.
0:33:59 - Sara
I could barely hear that at all.
0:34:01 - Ryan Van Duzer
Yeah, you're, oh really, yeah, no, no, no, you're good I was.
0:34:06 - Sara
I was gonna say Cycling by bike like traveling by bike is. I think if we could have it our way, that's what we would do. I think we, we travel slow. We're in like 1988 Lane Cruiser right now, which goes maximum.
0:34:17 - Chris
Yeah, five miles an hour, which will slow to you, would beat us on a downhill any given day, but cycling would be our preferred method.
0:34:26 - Sara
But we have this little guy, the little four-legged friend, right here who makes it a little more difficult. But I have seen you travel. One of your friends has a dog. Is it Mira? Is that right?
0:34:39 - Ryan Van Duzer
Yeah, mira, and she has become more famous than me and John and everybody else on my channel. Everybody loves Mira, the Wonder dog. I met John and Mira in the middle of nowhere on the Baja Peninsula in 2020. Oh my, we were both riding what's called the Baja divide and John Road up to me and he had seen my videos and we just started talking and we traveled together for the next seven days and his dog, mira, is absolutely incredible.
She's so fun, she has tons of energy, she's a goofball and I love traveling with her, and so he has a longer extended bike that has a basket on the back, so she's in and out of this basket all day long. Sometimes she's running alongside us, sometimes she's in the basket, and it just makes life a lot more fun, especially when you're camping at nighttime to have a dog around because you can play fetch, and sometimes you're having a hard day. It's scary, you're intimidated, it's hot, you know, and you can get in your own head and really go to a dark place, but when you have a dog there, like jumping on you and barking, wanting you to throw a stick, it snaps you out of your little pity party, and that's what Mira does. She's so, so fun and engaging and since then we've done, you know, lots of other trips together. We've ridden our bike through other parts of Mexico and the United States and I'm sure I will meet him down the road somewhere else.
0:36:03 - Sara
Yeah, that's. He's the first one I've ever seen like bike pack with a dog. I gotta figure out the balance. I mean, kramer is not. That's our dog, kramer. He's definitely not as athletic as Mira is. No, I think we could figure something out maybe Little drama queen sometimes, but well, the opportunity.
0:36:22 - Ryan Van Duzer
Maybe he could turn into, you know, a bike packing dog.
0:36:25 - Sara
Might you might have to. He's been a lot of places, this little guy. Yeah but I know you've got another meeting to get to, so let's finish, let's wrap up, let's see when do we want to take it to get the last few questions.
0:36:36 - Chris
Well, what would you say to somebody right now, like what if you could give them one piece of advice, whether it's about cycling or traveling or life in general? Like what would you say?
0:36:48 - Sara
That's a big question.
0:36:49 - Chris
I know, that is a big question, sorry if you're curious about something.
0:36:54 - Ryan Van Duzer
Maybe you've watched some YouTube videos about biking or running or hiking or whatever it is. If you're curious, I would say go try it, give it a shot. My whole tagline ever since the very beginning of my career, when I was on public access TV, was get out there. Just really simple. Just get out there, get off your couch and try it. And I think most people, once they get out there and they do try something new, they build up a lot of confidence in themselves.
Yes, trying something new is scary and overwhelming, but when you go out there and you confront some of these fears, 100% of the time you're going to be able to get through it. I mean, humans are very resilient and you learn more about yourself and you feel more connected to yourself and to your Surroundings and your fellow humans. You know, because of all my bike trips, I feel way more connected to the world and all these different cultures from Rwanda, sweden, mexico, united States, and it's a. It's a great feeling because if you sit at home and you watch the news and you let the news just kind of drive the narrative and it's just scary and dark and it tells you that Most people are bad and dangerous, then a lot of people start believing that and they fear their neighbors, they fear the outside world.
But when you get out there and you take that initiative, that all changes immediately and that's where the magic happens. So if you're listening to this and you want to get out there, I recommend you to just give it a shot. And yes, it'll be scary, I know it's scary, and that is the point. You want to get just past your comfort zone and try something new and it will make you a better person, I promise, a more loving person, a more patient person and a more compassionate human towards your fellow neighbors and community. Whew, that was quite the speech. There you go.
0:38:46 - Chris
That was so good. I was like ready to go flossing. It was such a loaded question for you. I'm like it's like what's the meaning of life? And you handled that so well it was so good, that was so good.
0:38:56 - Sara
I feel so empowered to go do something new right now.
0:38:59 - Chris
Yeah, and you know, we just recently watched your Burning man video and it was interesting to hear your view on things and then what the news was saying on the other side of that, and so it's just a really good reminder to go experience something for yourself.
0:39:21 - Sara
And yeah, we love that. Can I ask one more question? Do you find that the more new experiences you put yourself in, do you find that that initial challenge of it gets easier with each one? You'd know that at the end of the day it's going to be okay, like you're going to fail or you'll succeed, but it's a new experience. Do you find that each one gets a little bit easier?
0:39:40 - Ryan Van Duzer
You know, I don't know, because it can still be intimidating, even when I go out on a new adventure. If I'm going far away to Rwanda or even to Mexico, a place where I'm really comfortable, like there's always so many unknowns, you're like here I go, I'm packing up all my gear and I'm flying on an airplane and I'm getting off the airplane and I'm going to go out into the middle of nowhere and I hope everything you know goes smoothly. But I do know that it always does work out. People ask me questions all the time about what if it doesn't work out? What if this happens? What if that happens? And it's like things happen. That's all part of going on an adventure. Things rarely turn out the way that I have them planned in my mind, or that goes for anybody as well. So I mean, yes, things can go south from times to time, but that's when the good stuff happens.
That's really when the magic happens.
That's when you either dip, you know, deep into your soul and you, you know, you do something you didn't think you were capable of and that feels really good and you get past a challenge.
Or you rely on community members and people are strangers and you ask them for help. You know I talk a lot about trail magic on my channel and trail magic is when people essentially come out of nowhere to save the day and help you and through hikers know a lot about this. You know people will set up essentially aid stations on different trails just to help hikers out. And there's also lots of unplanned trail magic where maybe you're caught in a rainstorm and you're huddling under a tree somewhere and somebody sees you and they invite you into their car to warm up and then they take you home and you have dinner with them and it turns into this whole relationship and you're in touch with them for 20 years. I mean, I've had that happen so many times to me and that's really the magic and I've met all these wonderful people throughout the years that I'm still in touch with and that, to me, is is the best part of all this.
0:41:36 - Sara
I love that. Yeah, people are the best part of experiencing anything or to travel. Travel is about the people. To us, yeah. And we love the good food too. But like yeah, we really like the people yeah yeah, for sure.
0:41:48 - Chris
So, ryan, if people wanted to follow along your adventures because I feel like a lot of people will want to follow along after this where can we do that? What can we?
0:41:56 - Ryan Van Duzer
do you know, youtube is the best place. That's where I put most of my content that I really truly care about. So YouTube. I think my channel is DozerTV I don't even know what my handle is anymore. We'll link it down below. You can just Google my name and things will pop up. Yeah, Second best place is probably Instagram. That's where I post most like up to date in the moment. You know stuff about my adventures, but YouTube is really where I put all of my heart and my soul.
0:42:27 - Chris
Perfect, perfect. Yeah, we'll link everything down below, yeah.
0:42:30 - Sara
Ryan, thank you so much. It's been so fun talking to you and we can't wait to follow more of your adventures.
0:42:35 - Ryan Van Duzer
Yeah, and thank you so much for this opportunity. You two are awesome and I wish you all the best on your adventures.
0:42:41 - Sara
Thank you and maybe we'll meet someday. I know Maybe Rag Brie you have us. We've been wanting to do Rag Brie for over a decade now, so maybe Rag. Brie, we'll finally meet up one day. Yeah, do.
0:42:49 - Ryan Van Duzer
Rag Brie, it's so fun. That's the dream. Yes, and for the listeners out there who don't know what Rag Brie is, it's a gigantic bike party all the way across the state of Iowa. There's about 25,000 people that ride from the west side of Iowa to the east side of Iowa about 450 miles over a span of seven days. I always call it a rolling county fair. There's fake sales and there's slip and slides and there's country bands and it really brings out the best of small town America.
0:43:21 - Sara
I love that. The Midwest in general. It's just a special place to cycle.
0:43:25 - Chris
It really is, Ryan thank you so much.
0:43:28 - Sara
This is great. Thank you Talk soon, bye, bye. Thanks for listening to what no One Tells you with Kristen Sara. If you have a comment or question that you want answered on the air, be sure to send us a message to hello at ChrisandSara.com, or you can call or text our phone number at 423-825-9572. Thanks for listening.
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