But one Open University student has combined the two, completing a mammoth cycle around Europe with his laptop and an e-reader in his pocket, allowing him to keep up with his studies.
Stephen Primrose-Smith, who has been studying for a BSc in mathematics and a diploma in physical sciences, set off on his epic journey two years ago.
Covering around 120 miles a day, and taking in 52 European cities in total, he met up with more than 50 fellow Open University students along the way – sharing study tips and picking up valuable local knowledge about the cities he was visiting.
In meantime, he has completed his diploma and is three-quarters of the way to finishing the BSc in mathematics.
He has also been raising money for three charities: the Open University Students Educational Trust, Action for Animals, and Blood Pressure UK.
Speaking on his return earlier this month to his home town of Port St Mary on the Isle of Man, Mr Primrose-Smith said: “This journey has been an incredible experience, not only because I have been able to raise money for charities which are close to my heart, but I have met some amazing people along the way.”
From wild camping in Scandinavia to an Open University residential in Majorca, Mr Primrose-Smith – also known as the UniCyclist – kept a blog describing the highs and lows of being a student on the move, and the challenge of travelling across Europe on a bike. He is already planning more cycling adventures for the future.