The world of bike tourists is relatively small. I got to know of Marielle Jauring through my Episode 001 guest Adam Hugill. After looking through her Instagram, checking out her photos, and tour statistics, I got in touch with her to ask her to be on the show.
Marielle is not your typical bike tourist, doing a tour of one or more years. She divides her time between her various passions: snowboarding, surfing, and biking. Marielle typically plans her tours in the autumn before snowboard season starts. This allow her to set some goals that most people can’t comprehend, and can only look on with admiration, and maybe the occasional shake of their head.
For me I’m more interested in doing big trips, but maybe for 4 or 5 months a year, because I also like doing other things in between.
Marielle grew up in northern Sweden and didn’t have the luxury of a car, so her family would go everywhere by bicycle. Challenges such as the weather were an everyday part of life and I think that these challenges helped shape and develop Marielle into the type of athlete that pushes herself to new limits and perseveres through the most difficult challenges.
Two years ago, Marielle and her friend Friday decided to cycle across the United States. Unlike most bike tourists cycle across the United States, keeping the wind at their back, Marielle and Frida decided to go from East to West, so that they could enjoy any remaining time on the west coast, as it seemed to them like a more fun place to hangout. Many cyclists that they passed along the way told them they would never make it through Yellowstone National Park before winter arrived, but instead of giving up, they decided to just push harder and ride a minimum of 100km a day, with no rest days. Overcoming some tough weather days, they managed to make it to the west coast where Marielle then rode solo down the coast, where she met up with her mother to tour with for a little while. Marielle finished her first bike tour having cycled 9440km.
Every minute on the road I loved it. Like, it was not even [on] one of those headwind days and the rainy days that I felt like I hated it. So I really enjoyed my time being on the bike and I thought this is the way I wanna see the world.
Because Marielle likes to tours at a faster pace than most bike tourists, she chooses to not use a traditional touring bike like a Surly Long Haul Trucker, as it is quite heavy and she would prefer to ride lighter, faster, and further. Instead, she uses a gravel bike, a bike designed with a similar geometry to a road bike, but with the ability to mount racks, with the added benefit of holding more bottles and being able to accommodate beefier tires. Marielle keeps her weight as light as possible, not using front panniers, but only two on the back rack and her tent strapped across the top. This allows her to ride in a more aerodynamic position and push out long days on the bike.
While most people ride somewhere between 100 – 120km per day, Marielle says that on days when she only covers 120km she feels as though she has been lazy. In order to ride around Australia in a time frame that is manageable, she decided that she needed to ride between 150-200km every day. She also rarely took rest days and said that her legs don’t get sore, but she feels it more in her shoulders.
First I thought I was going to cross Australia, but I thought it was a little bit short. Then my second idea was to bike around Australia, which is 16,100km … and I realized that [with] Australia you can’t just do 100km a day, but need to smash out 150-200km a day.
One big part of doing a tour such as cycling around Australia is to adjust as necessary, always keeping health and safety in mind. Such was the case with Marielle when she had 4000km to go. Marielle decided to put a temporary stop to the Australia circumnavigation because the daily temperature was getting up to nearly 50 degrees celsius and she felt it was too dangerous to continue. While waiting for the season to change, Marielle decided to fly to New Zealand and cycle 5600km around it before going back to Aussie and finishing the last 4000km.
People think it’s flat, but it’s so so wrong. Also the people driving around Australia they always [say] like, “Ahhh, you’re so lucky biking around Australia because it’s so flat,” but I’m like, “dude, it’s definitely not flat.”
One major area of difficulty when cycling is safety, and women in particular have to be extra careful when doing a tour, especially as bike tourists are often cycling in unknown places and if something were to happen, it’s possible no one would know about it. Marielle shared a story about an incident that happened when she was cycling through California, where things could have turned out much worse, but luckily didn’t. Marielle stresses that as a woman, it’s important to always follow your gut instinct and not to ignore it out of fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. She still uses Warmshowers to find places to stay on occasion, but now limits herself to only staying with couples or female hosts. She also feels it’s important to no give up on doing what you love, out of fear of the unknown, but to always be aware of your surroundings and situations that could arise.
Marielle’s next adventure will take her across Canada this autumn. This time, she will ride from West to East. Keep an eye out on her Instagram @_the_biking_viking_ to see how she’s doing.
Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me Marielle. Sima and I are looking forward to meeting you when you come through Ottawa.
Bike. Tour. Adventure
Follow Marielle on her adventures at:
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~ 30 sec Introduction to Episode 008
~ 2 min The interconnectedness of the bike touring community
~ 3 min Who is Marielle Jauring?
~ 5 min How she got into bike touring, her first bike tour, and why she likes doing shorter, more intense tours
~ 7m 30s Cycling nearly 10,000km in the United States, crossing the country the wrong way, and people telling them they wouldn’t make it
~ 9m 30 Staying in churches along the way and having a Pastor pray for Frida’s ass
~ 11 min Why she decided to circumnavigate Australia and not just ride across it, the need to smash out 150-200km per day, and the nice thing about touring with a friend
~ 13m 30s Why Marielle isn’t using a touring bike, having everything she needs on a trip, why two panniers is enough, and using lightweight, high tech gear
~ 19 min Not using a Brooks saddle, not wearing biking shorts, using baby powder and vaseline
~ 21 min New terminology – lunch ass, and having a Pastor pray for your ass
~ 23 min Talking about cycling in Australia, people dying of dehydration, cycling in New Zealand, making the most of New Zealand’s varied landscape
~ 26m 30s How bad the flies can get in Australia, and tips of eating and getting into the tent
~ 29 min Cultural differences between the people of the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, and Pete, the 96 year old Australian guy
~ 33 min What kind of food Marielle eats to keep up energy stores, riding 70km before breakfast
~ 36 min Other sports Marielle is passionate about, what her job is, how she manages her time, and what it’s like to literally work in Hell
~ 41 min Australia statistics: Average riding distance, rest days, riding speed, riding time per day, elevation,
~ 50 min What is allemannsretten?
~ 53 min Next trip….Canada, cycling in the cold, and bears
~ 58 min Fundraising for a dog shelter in Sri Lanka
Animal SOS Sri Lanka
~ 1h 2m Touring as a solo female, keeping safe, ways of being extra careful
~ 1h 16m Desire to inspire others to cycle and tour, and the most common questions people ask her.
~ 1h 23m End of episode and about next week’s episode