Back in September 2017, I had the pleasure of hosting touring cyclist, Jerome Pilette, on an epic journey. We connected through an amazing website that I use often to host travelers, http://www.couchsurfing.com. He rode up to my house on an ole off-brand commuting bike covered in rain gear with a giant smile. We spent the next few days having drinks, sharing stories, and playing music with friends. I recently reconnected with him for an interview.
Q: Where and When did you start and where are you headed?
A:”I started from my hometown Mascouche, about 15 miles North East of Montréal, on July 20th. The goal is Tierra del Fuego, Argentina.”
Q: What made you decide to start touring?
A:”I’ve been thinking about doing that bike tour for probably 10-12 years. Mostly because of depression. I figured it might break my depressive pattern.”
Q: Has touring broken those patterns? If so, in what ways?
A:”I think it really simplifies life. No anxiety, no lease, no bills, no social advancement or all of these games we worry about in our society. My only concern is moving forward. Whether I feel good or not, I just have to move forward. Some days it’ll be only 10 miles, but it’s still 10 miles added to my one simple goal. Then once in a while you check your mileage and it’s pretty high, and it encourages me to keep going.”
Q: “Was there a specific moment that you went from “thinking about touring” to preparing or heading out on tour?
A:”Humm, I’m not big on preparation ^^ I kind of procrastinated on that a good while. I started gathering equipment maybe 2 months before leaving and mapping a route 2-3 weeks before.”
Q: What has been your best ground score(Road Find)?
A: “Hard question. So much stuff. The worst is definitely that weird lichee juice somewhere in Kentucky.”
Q: What do you consider “must have” things to bring on tour?
A:”Besides the things related to bike repairs the thing I probably use the most is my mini sewing kit, camping gear, music, and mess kit.”
Q:Where do you sleep?
A: “Most often stealth camping, then Couch Surfing/Warm Showers in bigger cities, or on Elvis Presley’s birthplace’s porch whenever I’m in Tupelo.”
Q: Have you ever felt as if you were in danger? If so, when?
A:”The road would the most dangerous place. There was a pretty frightening bridge in Louisiana on the south side of Mississippi River, a truck passed about a foot from me. Except from that, I sometimes hear coyotes or wolf packs at night but they’re usually far enough.”
Q: Do you have any words of wisdom for those people who have been thinking or considering bicycle touring?
A:”Leaving on that tour is the best decision I made of all my life, and every fellow biker I met said the same: going on a bike tour gives you back faith in humanity.”
Click here to follow Jerome as he pedals through the Americas.