'Spinning Southward' Director Picks World's Best Bike Tours

Bike touring has gained momentum as a method of travel for adventurous types, be it pedaling through a remote foreign land or a two-wheel trip for a few days just to get away from home. Starting in 2005, I pedaled more than 10,000 miles with John and Mike Logsdon as a part of a tour that spanned the western hemisphere and raised money for a charity.

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Round-the-world biker: Alastair Humphreys navigates a desert stretch

This month, we’re releasing a film, “Spinning Southward,” which documents the 2005-06 trip. I can say the experience changed my life! Here below is a bit more on our film plus descriptions of a few other bike-tour people or groups who have influenced and motivated us along the way. —Nateon Ajello

Spinning Southward Expedition — “What is it like to live every day on a bicycle for 16,000 miles?” That is the question we hope to answer with “Spinning Southward,” a documentary film following three bicyclists (myself and brothers John and Mike Logsdon) as we travel through 13 countries to Ushuaia, Argentina, at the tip of South America. The ride was in support of the National Brain Tumor Society, as all three of us were inspired by the memory of our mothers, Jean Logsdon and Fran Ajello, who both were affected by brain tumors. The film documents the hardship, wonder, challenge, people, and all elements that come with living every day on a bicycle. (I am also proud to say that we raised more than $75,000 at the time for the Brain Tumor Society cause!)

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The “Spinning Southward” crew in Panama

Heinz Stucke — The bike touring god! In 1962, the 22-year-old Stucke quit his job and rode out of his hometown in Germany with a plan to see the world. . . he has never since returned. Now, still on the move, he has visited nearly every country on the planet and lived a two-wheeled nomadic existence for decades. Bike-vagabond legend!

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1977: Stucke on tour in Bosnia Herzegovina

Family on Bikes — “We are just your normal, everyday American family who happens to be following our dreams and chasing rainbows.” That’s how the Family on Bikes group describes themselves. They are what they say — a mom, dad, and kids who rode from Alaska to Argentina, home-schooling and adventuring along the way.

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‘Family on Bikes’ tour in Ushuaia, Argentina

Riding the Spine — A highly adventurous take on the “Alaska to Argentina” route, including kayaking the dangerous Darien Gap with bikes tethered on their boats! The Riding the Spine expedition was mainly an off-road tour that spanned three years, 34,000 kilometers, and 14 countries along its meandering and adventurous route.

Alastair Humphreys — This English adventurer rode around the world by bike, including 60 countries, 5 continents, and 4 years of time. According to his website, for the expedition Alastair rode “from England to South Africa, crossed the Atlantic by yacht and then cycled from Patagonia to Alaska.” Crossing the Pacific by freighter, Alastair completed his expedition by cycling back to England from eastern Siberia. Whew! He put down 46,000 miles on the journey. He has since written three books about the adventure.

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Alastair Humphreys on a salt flat, thousands and thousands of miles into his ‘round the world tour

Skalatitude — Loretta Henderson is pedaling solo around the planet, a fearless route including Pakistan, Iran, Ethiopa and Sudan. Her Twitter bio states simply, “Loretta Henderson: Solo female cycling around the world since 2009, a dozen countries and countless KMs later I hope to encourage others to pedal out the door.”

Nateon Ajello is a filmmaker and animator based in Los Angeles. He is the producer of “Spinning Southward,” a new film that documents a 13-country bike tour to South America’s tip.

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“Spinning Southward” DVD

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