SCOTT STOLL (UNITED STATES)

“I’d love to ride a bicycle in Antarctica just to say I’ve done all 7 continents”.

What is your name?
Scott Stoll.

Where is your ‘base camp’?
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. I like to use my to use my bike for commuting to work, and for exploring the local trails.

How do you usually ride?
Mostly alone, sometimes with friends. I enjoy making cycling friends as I travel and sharing a ride and different points of view.

How and where did you learn to ride a bike?
In Milwaukee as a young kid. I would sneak over to my neighbor’s house when I was about 5 years old and practice on his bike because my parents thought I was still too young.

The best and the worst of riding under your perspective…
The worst is easily the car drivers that aren’t paying attention because of their phones. Second worst is the pollution and urban sprawl. The best is communing (feeling at one) with nature. I also love the time to meditate while I ride and just be surprised by what I discover.

How about your training? How do you prepare your tours?
I don’t train. I just start out slow.

The greatest Challenge you faced riding
For me it was the loneliness. My world bike tour was driven by desire to find meaning to life and happiness. So depression was like a shadow wherever I went. I also had problems with my knees. And once I nearly dyed of dehydration in the Baja Desert. But it must have all been worthwhile because I kept on going.

Who would you share a beer (or a pepsi :-)) with after a good route?
I like to get know the locals and their culture, so any friendly stranger is fun to get to know.

And what about a goo meal?
Usually, I just find the restaurant or vendor that has the longest line of local people. If I am lucky, I get invited to someone’s home. Those are always the best meals and the most memorable moments.

Please suggest us a good route you know well
One of my favorite routes is actually in my own country. It is the Pacific Coast Highway. You’ll get to bike next to the Pacific Ocean for about 3.000 kilometers. Don’t miss the Avenue of Giants and the redwood trees, drive-thru expresso, great Hiker/Biker campgrounds, Vancouver (if you want to start in Canada), San Francisco, surfing in the sun, dolphins, a side trip to Tijuana, Mexico. And much more.
Here is rough idea of that route on Google Maps: http://goo.gl/UMQKqC
Here is a great resource for maps by cyclists.
See:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottstoll/3609567045/in/set-72157621462733782
https://www.flickr.com/photos/scottstoll/3431894733/in/set-72157615991270796

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Tell us about 2 or 3 bike routes you enjoyed intensely
An important skill to learn, and one that I keep practicing is that if you have see the world with eyes of wonder, you can enjoy any place you cycle.

What about those dreamed journeys in the future?
I am thinking of doing one more big tour, perhaps Ulan Bator, Mongolia to Beijing, China. I’d also love to ride a bicycle in Antarctica just to say I’ve done all 7 continents. The easiest one I’m thinking about is the East Coast of the United States, especially Key West, Florida.

The most stunning places you visited thanks to your rides
Here are just a few:
– Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming, USA).
– Yosemite National Park (California, USA).
– Redwood Forests (California, USA).
– Sedona (Arizona, USA).
– Grand Canyon (Arizona, USA).
– Table Mountain (South Africa).
– Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia).
– Victoria Falls (Zimbabawe).
– Sani Pass (Lesotho).
– Franz Josef Glacier (New Zealand).
– Uluru (Ayers Rock, Australia).
– The cacti forests of Baja California (Mexico).
– The fynbos plant kingdom (South Africa).
– Mount Everest (Nepal, Tibet).

Actually, I have a list of my 10 Favorite things. It seems to never be finished.
http://theargonauts.com/around-the-world-by-bicycle/faqs/top-10.shtml

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What can you tell us about the travel as a human experience?
For me, the greatest impression is always coming home again. It is only when I returned that I realized how much I have changed. Second to that is the stories of how I have inspired people that I met.
The longer answer is that I finally did discover that meaning to life and happiness. In part, I learned to that I create my own life and am responsible for my own emotions. On a deeper level, I discovered that we are all the same. That sounds cliché until you have the experience.

Here is an excerpt from my book:

“One mystery was that everywhere I went, sometimes dozens of times per day, people asked me the same questions. Most had never read a newspaper or watched television; some had never seen a foreigner, heard of America, or even knew in which country they lived. It was a fascinating mystery. How could all these people (regardless of age, race, gender, culture or any other factor) be asking the same questions in the same order? Then serendipity smiled and I realized that it was a key to human nature. People everywhere are fundamentally the same: we all have fears and doubts; and we all have hopes and dreams. The questions people asked me were evidence that we are all on a similar journey: traveling a path from struggle and survival, learning to befriend our fears, through a quest for meaning and happiness, and ultimately seeking peace and enlightenment”.

3 scott

Tell us about the music that takes you (figuratively speaking ) to your rides 
I don’t listen to music when I ride. I do like to listen to the birds and rivers and pounding surf of the ocean. Anything but cars.

What about your equipment. What bicycle do you usually travel with?
I used a Gunnar Mountain bike, Brooks Saddle, Ortlieb Panniers, Schwalbe MarathonTires.
Supply list:
http://theargonauts.com/around-the-world-by-bicycle/supplies.shtml

Any suggestion for people thinking about starting in the bike touring arena?
Don’t over think it. Go for an overnight camping trip to start. For longer tours, you will get on shape and modify your bicycle kit as you go.

Share with us about your website
http://www.theargonauts.com
My motivation for traveling was to find happiness and the meaning of life. I feel I found that and so much more. My website, however, has always been about more than just me. For over 15 years we have welcomed everybody to share inspirational stories of their journeys.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Our vision is to inspire people to embrace their fears and turn their dreams into reality.
No matter what you call it — the hero’s journey, wanderlust, walkabout, vision quest, coming-of-age ritual, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, spiritual awakening, enlightenment, the travel bug, voyage into the unknown, self-transcendence — or simply hope — whether your journey is to travel the world, bake cupcakes or sweep streets — this is our exploration of life and the human spirit”.

You have written a book about your  travels, right?
Yes. My boook is called Falling Uphill. I think your readers would like to know. There is also a children’s Spanish version: Cayendo Hacia Arriba.
http://theargonauts.com/books/falling-uphill/index.shtml
http://theargonauts.com/books/falling-uphill/cayendo-hacia-arriba.shtml

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