Adventure cycling is, as the name suggests, an exploration of the world via bicycle. Adventure cyclists abandon modern transportation such as cars and planes and embrace the freedom of the bicycle. Adventure cyclists travel alone, with friends, or with organized groups. They camp out in nature or stay in hotels along their route, seeing as much of the territory they're covering as possible.
Adventure cycling allows people to see the country or world in a new way. Organized tours leave from nearly every part of the US and cover an extensive amount of ground.
You may choose to leave from your hometown, or you may wish to ship your bike overseas for a European bike tours.
The largest adventure cycling company is known simply as the Adventure Cycling Association. The Adventure Cycling Association is a non-profit organization whose mission "is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle for fitness, fun, and self-discovery." It is a great resource for people considering venturing out on a cycling adventure. Its website, www.adventurecycling.org, even has yellow pages which can help you find routes, places to stay along the way and bicycle shops, among other things.
To participate in adventure cycling you should be in decent shape. You don't have to be an Ironman athlete, but your body should be able to handle cycling for long periods of time. Practice traveling the distance you plan on cycling on your trip for multiple days and check with your doctor before departing on your trip to make sure you're physically capable.
You'll need some basic equipment. A bicycle is an obvious necessity. Though there are touring bicycles available, you don't have to have one of these. Pretty much any bicycle will do, though a road bicycle may sacrifice some comfort that you'll miss on lengthy rides. You'll also need a way to carry your travel gear, such as clothes. Cyclists generally use a trailer hitched to their bicycle or a pannier, which is luggage that attaches directly to your bicycle. Consider the weight and ease of transport when deciding how to carry your gear.
While on your cycling adventure, try to suss out routes that allow for cyclists. Less-traveled roads and those which are cyclist-friendly (wide shoulders) should receive priority over high-traffic areas. Mapping out your trip before you go is a wise idea.
The modern cycling training schedule does not require you to train year-round for any specific race.