ExperiencePlus! Blog

Follow Erik Weihenmayer’s self-guided bicycle adventure

The trailer for “Soundscape” – an award-winning 2023 short documentary by Timmy O’Neil that features Erik Weihenmayer, a global adventure athlete and author who is fully blind, as he ascends a massive alpine rock face deep in the Sierra Nevada, starts with a close-in shot of Erik reaching for a craggy hand hold; then, a voiceover from Erik: “People always ask, ‘Why would he go if he can’t see it?’”

Beauty, he answers, is a direct experience that only happens when he touches, smells, and hears. For the visually-abled, the foundation of beauty is deeply tied to sight. Erik’s life as an adventurer and co-founder of the nonprofit No Barriers has turned that assumption on its head.

From July 17-24, 2024, Erik will pedal the stunning alpine valleys of Italy’s Sud Tyrol on a 7-day self-guided ExperiencePlus! bicycle tour that starts in Silandro and ends in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona. He will have mined the route for as much beauty as his body can absorb.

To do so, he will pedal the stoker, or rear position, on a tandem that will be piloted by adventure companion Heather Lauren Quiroga.

“Since Erik’s travels often involve sleeping in the dirt or on a glacier and eating freeze-dried meals, it will be nice to enjoy the luxury of super nice accommodations and great food at the end of the day,” says Heather, who is relatively new to cycling. The duo completed their first self-guided tandem bicycle adventure in Normandy in 2023. “Self-guided tours are fun because you share the experience with the people you love, going at your own pace, taking detours, and making it your own personal experience.”

For Erik, that means having as many tactile experiences as possible, whether a feeling every nook and cranny of a sculpture, the cool wet of a rushing stream, or the velvety petal of a blossoming flower. But it’s also about feeling the cobblestones underfoot and tire, stopping to chat with locals, taking swims, visiting museums, and exploring the places that call to you, “All while getting exercise and earning those beautiful dinners at day’s end!” he says.

We’ll post a pre-trip training ride update from Erik on this page and share stories from the road on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Stay connected to Erik’s amazing adventures, career, and motivational work through his blog, Facebook posts and Instagram feed.

Photo credits: Left: Bob Kaufman; top and bottom right: stills from “Soundscape”; bottom middle: Connor Koch.