Around the world bike trip at 17 years old

Around the world bike trip at 17 years old

By Adam Swanson

Hi all,

My name is Adam Swanson, I’m an avid cycle tourist from St. Paul, Minnesota who just finished my dream trip. When I graduated from high school in 2021 at 17 years old, I left on my two-year bike trip that I had been aspiring to do since I was 10 years old. 

I started this trip with a friend who intended to ride with me for the whole two years, but after we cycled across Europe together from Amsterdam, NL to Zagreb, Croatia over four months, he dropped out. I originally thought that if he had dropped out I would go home too, but I ended up forcing myself to ride solo instead and I’ll forever be grateful that I did. 

After my four months cycling across Europe, I decided to fly to South East Asia to take advantage of the warmer parts of the world in November. I flew to Thailand in Nov, 2021 and slowly made my way back to Europe to connect my route. Over the next 12 months, I cycled across Thailand, India, Nepal, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands, connecting my line all the way across Asia and Europe. 

The goal for the trip was to take two years to cycle across these continents, but I ended up finishing with time to spare, so now at 19 years old, I continued my journey into the Americas. 

From the Netherlands, I flew to Argentina and spent four months cycling the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina. 

In March, 2023 I decided to start rolling home, so I flew to Los Angeles, California and cycled up the west coast and across the northern states over three months and ended my journey in the driveway of my childhood home in St. Paul, 22 months and 22,000 miles after I started.

Arkel and Adam : Love At First Sight 

I’m 19 years old now, but I’ve been cycle touring for 20 years, my mom and dad cycled Eastern Europe with my mom very pregnant with me. As a family we have always used Arkel panniers and have never been disappointed. My dad’s GT-54’s are even older than I am!

In this time where so many gear products are unreliable, I always use Arkel as an example of a company that actually makes quality products. Their panniers are one of very few pieces of my gear that lasted my entire journey. I was gifted my Arkel GT-54’s and Orcas by my parents when I was 14 years old, just before I set off on my first ride across the US. My panniers have over 25,000 miles on them and I have no complaints.

I’ll always highly recommend Arkel panniers to any level of cycle tourists whether you’re looking for your first set of panniers or replacing your gear for a new trip.