Business on a Bike

Journal #6: 13 tips for establishing the right work-bike balance. A Guide to Working Full Time While on a Bike Tour.

Health and Time Management

  1. Work offline whenever you can. After a long day of biking, you're going to be tired, but doing a bit of offline work when you are between major cities can free up a great deal of time when you are in metropolitan areas to enjoy yourself, meet new people, or focus your attention on meetings and communications which are only possible with internet.
  2. Meetings need to be tightly structured to make sure all details are covered. Do not allow meetings to slip away into chat about your travel experiences.  There is no opportunity to swing by someone's office later in the day if you forget to mention something important.
  3. Try to maintain similar habits when you are stationary as when you are biking. If you drink, smoke, stay up late, and generally don't care for your body when you are off the road as you would when you are riding, you are going to face some tough days when you get back on your bike.  I try to give myself 24-48hrs of healthy living habits before starting on a multi-day bike trek.
  4. When you need to stop and hole up for a few days, do it. Do not fall victim to chasing daily and weekly distance targets.  You can't be a full time biker and maintain a full time job.  If you want your venture to succeed, do what you need to do to keep it moving.

Human Relations

  1. Be prepared for some clashing if you are working closely with someone in an office environment back home.  Internet and power outages, tough roads, bad maps, and a million other things can slow you down, and your associates need to understand this is not a reflection on you.  On the other hand, you may need to remember that just because you braved a 7km uphill through a monsoon to reach the region's sole internet cafe doesn't mean that your associates will drop everything to meet with you at that moment.  Keep in mind, you are probably much more able to put yourself in their shoes than they are yours.
  2. The variety of your experiences can be a huge asset if managed correctly. You will likely be privy to far more experiences while traveling than you would if you were working in a traditional office environment.  The scope of these experiences can help you see the same challenges in ways you may otherwise have never considered.  However do not allow this to pull you too far off course.
  3. Look for local partners. A creative mind can find the grounds for mutually beneficial tradeoffs in even the most unlikely of places.

Marketing and PR

  1. Your lifestyle should be your biggest asset. Sharing your experiences online through well conceived channels can open new doors and attract new partnerships. However this will not fall into your lap on its own.  If you weren't able to earn a living on facebook before your bike tour, you probably won't be able to earn one during.
  2. Find a few strong forums or blog networks to publish your articles and content on.  Often publishing on someone else's "high traffic" site can provide much greater exposure than just publishing on your own page.  However you should target those which meet the following criteria that should be met.  `

    • The site should target users which are similar to your own. Generating impressions on a site which caters to cat lovers is unlikely to bring the returning members to your site that you are seeking.  Look for sites targeting a niche which you feel is closely related to your content.
    • The site should allow you to add a backlink to your own website or page. If you are providing another site with content, they should provide those readers to link directly back to your site if they've enjoyed your piece.  While it may be worth writing a single article for a site that does not permit backlinks, you should not make a habit of providing content on a regular basis.
    • Monitor your site's results with an Analytics Program like Google Analytics.  If submitting your article to another site is extremely time consuming and not generating the traffic and sales you expected, look for a new location.
  3. Think about who you are targeting with your writing. Many people keep an online journal as a means of keeping family and friends up to date on your whereabouts.  If this is your objective, then this is not a problem, but do not be surprised if others are not drawn in by content riddled with personal references, informal languages not widely recognized, familiar greetings, etc.
  4. Take advantage of local media. As a foreigner biking in many countries, you are likely something of a celebrity.  Take advantage of this status to share your positive experiences of the local country with newspapers or radio reporters when they happen upon you (they will), and utilize the opportunity to tell everyone about your project.  You never know who is listening.


  1. Power.  Without it, you're just lost in the bush.
  2. After power, internet is king.  I am looking into sat phone and mobile internet plans, but thusfar I have not come upon any which provide unlimited service.  I will get this soon, and it will be a game changer.

Filed under: ,