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As it stands today, I’d estimate that my collection of cycling-related internet bookmarks either equals, or surpasses the ones that I have saved on nautically-inspired topics. I have read, and saved for future reference, countless articles on gear selection, equipment reviews, routes, and travelogues. There is one link in particular though that I saved because it so perfectly relates to both cycling and cruising. Follow the link below and read the post before carrying on:

The Great Fear

We are still months away from cycling and yet people are already sharing what they know about The Great Fear. Surely we’ll be mauled by bears, moose, and mountain lions, and if we somehow manage to escape their clutches, we’ll undoubtedly be robbed, if not kidnapped and held for ransom. I wonder if Russ, the author of that excellent article, is aware of how The Great Fear manifests itself on the water?


Every cruiser knows that pirates are lurking just over the horizon to sweep in to rape and pillage, and every weather anomaly is going to turn into a Cat 5 hurricane. And if those two biggies don’t get you, there are all manner of other dangers that well-meaning folk will be happy to remind you of.

Why focus on the bad instead of the good?

What is it that makes people want to focus on this stuff? Yes, bad things do occasionally happen, but prudent thought and action can normally prevent the vast majority of it. Is it easier for people to use these fears as legitimate reasons for not even trying, for remaining inside their cocoon, their comfort zone? I honestly don’t know. It is so far outside of my way of thinking that I can’t comprehend it.

For our friends and family who are genuinely concerned, thank you for caring. Rest assured though, since we haven’t yet died on the water, my guess is that we’ll make out fine doing this too. And yes, we’ll be sure to carry Bear Spray!


  1. Great read.
    Thanks Mike

  2. My 25 year old son is about to purchase a 23 Georgian and sail from Georgian Bay to Nova Scotia. I plan to join him for part of the trip. Challenge the fear.

  3. “You don’t know if you don’t go…”

  4. We hear it about our sailboat, scuba diving, motorcycles… all the time. I came to peace with it years ago when I decided to live every day like it was my last so there’s nothing left to fear, if death catches me he was also treated to a great ride!

  5. When we were cruising in the Sea of Cortez, every year we met a number of cyclists on their way from Alaska to Chile — most often in LaPaz, but other locations too. They were all having the time of the their lives!

    I think that those who doubted you commented and those like us who knew people who had done similar things didn’t . . . so you get a bunch of comments that don’t really represent what “the crowd” thinks.

    • The stuff I was referencing in this post primarily comes from people who have never done it themselves, and/or like you said, from people who don’t know others who have done it either.

      We have been paying particular attention to people riding in Baja:

  6. If it weren’t for fear it would be a whole lot more crowded for people out there living fulfilling lives.

  7. I shattered my kneecap in 16 pieces bike racing in college. Crashing and cars are the greatest risks, IMO.

    The rest of it? It could happen anywhere. You’ll see some bears I’m sure. I’ve seen them too close, but nothing happens, if you are calm and practical. And they are not hunting on the road–I was way off the trail. A co-worker was actually attacked by a mountain lion, but they had thrown stones, and then ran and got separated. Just scratches, really, much less than it sounds like. He was just playing and proving his territory.

    My only fear would be my body or mind quitting on me. If you believe in those, then go!

  8. Well if you guys are kidnapped and held for ransom, please post about it and I will gladly chip in $25 to get Rebecca free. Can’t help with the bear thing.

  9. As you must know; you could always get on the Santana or a sailboat to go around it when you get to that point.

  10. This is pretty much the most important cycle-related bookmark you can have on your browser:

    All hail Sheldon!

  11. I feel like he economic theory of loss aversion captures this great fear.

    For some reason our mind, if not self aware, goes to preventing losses we can visualize and tends to miss out on the possibility that avoiding that miniscule possibility of loss can actually cause us to miss out on much greater gains.

    I think this is true not just in financial economics but in life. Articles serve as great reminders to be more aware of our illogical fears, and not miss out on life 🙂

    • I’m not familiar with the theory that you’re referencing, but I get what you’re saying.

      • From Wikipedia, but it’s a pretty good summary:

        In economics and decision theory, loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains: it’s better to not lose $5 than to find $5. Some studies have suggested that losses are twice as powerful, psychologically, as gains.

        I suspect it’s the psychological fear of loss that keeps people from taking positive risks.

        • I think it’s been established that people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. The news media, and especially the weather men, are all over that.

  12. I think it’s easier for people to give in to their fears and play it safe than to take the time to research the subject and push themselves to a place they have never been. I will admit, I am afraid of most things that could possibly kill me. What I find is that when I do my research on how others have achieved what I am wanting to do, prepare for the worst but expect the best; I grow so much and I always come out with a great experience. I tend to look back and think I’m silly for ever being afraid. While I haven’t done everything that I have wanted to do, the things that, at one time, crippled me with fear have turned out to be the best moments of my life. Being deathly afraid of heights, I skydived religiously for a few years. Super afraid of being 20 ft below water, I have scuba dived amazing shipwrecks at 130′. I know how I get and I know what I need to do to become successful. I know it works out. Many have been negative about things my husband and I have planned and I just let them be where they are. I find many people question (with negativity) because deep down they wish they could do whatever it is being done. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t tell me they vicariously live through us or ask me to see video or pictures of whatever it is we have done. When someone asks, I feel we are responsible to give them hope that they too can conquer whatever it is they are fearing. I’m responsible because they live in this world and if I want it to be better, I need to be the example. Humility and hope are my two words I do my best to live by and I want to pass it on when the opportunity arises. You and Rebecca have been that to us, through your blog; showing us the good, the bad and they ugly. We start this year with our ASA courses and we couldn’t be more excited. The frustrations you have expressed in the past with people in the cruising questioning certain things happen in every single community of whatever it is you are doing. Everyone thinks they know better, everyone has a learning curve and everyone knows what they have or do is the best. I take joy in those that stay open minded and have discussions about situations or equipment vs those who are ego filled. I can’t wait to meet those type of people moving forward. I seem to have written a small book here and it’s something I could talk about forever. Thank you for creating such a great site for us to reference as we learn about this lifestyle. We are aging and will probably be doing the Bahamas to Grenada for quite a few years and maybe that’s all we will do. Who knows, we don’t and we don’t really care. A saying that has always stuck out to me when dealing with negativity is “I don’t mind if you do, if you don’t mind that I don’t.”

    • Hi Lee

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. There are so many great things to see and do between the Bahamas and Grenada. Some people could do that for a lifetime and be satisfied. Enjoy!!!

  13. I always think that if everyone who went off sailing/bikepacking/skydiving/mountain climbing/scuba diving/etc died from pirates/sharknados/religious kidnappings/etc, we would hear about it …

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