If riding all day on beautiful mountain roads or trails is not enough of an outdoors experience for you, consider bike camping. There's something truly liberating about riding on an extended trip, powered completely by your own body and carrying everything you need to live. Bike camping is the ultimate in roughing it and one of the most intense experiences in nature.
Bike campers may choose to stay at commercial campsites or they may set up camp deep in the woods, wherever they see fit. While staying at campsites is a great way to meet other travelers (and get a shower), finding your own place to set up a tent will give you the most privacy and intimacy with nature. Often, where you camp depends on what is available. Other times, the choice is yours.
Either way, you'll need to have the right camping equipment. At the very least, you want to have a good, breathable tent and a warm sleeping bag. Both should be waterproof. Make sure the tent is large enough to sleep all the campers comfortably (or get more than one). Since you'll be carrying all your camping supplies with you on your bike, the weight and collapsed size of the tent should be major considerations.
It's also smart to have a small lantern and a strong flashlight (a removable battery-powered bike headlight will do the trick). If you plan to cook while camping, you'll need a small grill or stove, a small pot and pan, a dish or two, and a few utensils. Keep everything as lightweight as possible. If you bring food, make sure it's nonperishable. Pasta, rice, or beans are good choices.
Bike camping is certainly not for everybody. After a long day of riding, the last thing you may want to do is set up a campground, start a fire, and cook your own dinner. Also, many bikes (even touring bikes) are not designed to efficiently carry the extra load of camping gear. Bike camping is definitely not easy. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you attempt it. Unless you already have a good deal of experience camping, don't try it alone.