Old 07-04-20, 01:40 PM
Hooked on Touring
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Wyoming
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Touring, Health Insurance, and Tough Questions

The possibility of illness or injury on a longer bike tour has been discussed often.
It is even more germane now with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When touring internationally, many countries require proof of medical coverage.
For Americans traveling within the U.S., it has been optional.
Optional in the sense that those without health insurance could still tour.

On another thread, it has been stated that the topic is too politicized to discuss.
Why? Why can you discuss frames, shoes, tires, routes - but not health insurance?
One of the accusations levelled at touring is that it is a rich, white sport.
I have often been asked how I can afford to ride for three months.
The easiest response was to say that I am a teacher - which was half-true.

But if you look out there - at least in years other than 2020 -
you will notice that most people touring are either youngsters or retired.
And most have means - either their own or their parents.

I remember a journal over at Crazyguy were the author was amazed
that a young woman who was cashier at a c-store in west Kansas
had never been further than Wichita or Denver.
Perhaps she did not have the imagination,
but I would also suggest that she did not have the means.

Health coverage is simply another division of haves and have-nots.
For Canadians or Europeans it is unimaginable, but for many Americans it is real.
For those who have insurance - whether college-aged or retired -
it requires hardly a thought, except possibly adding a rider.
But for others it involves either enormous risk - or not touring at all.

There are many reasons touring is overwhelmingly white,
but one may be that minorities are far more likely to be uninsured or marginally insured.
The question of access to healthcare could be one means of asking,
"What needs to be done to broaden the appeal of bike touring?"
At least it should.
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