Logistics of touring?

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by mrhawk166, Nov 7, 2003.

  1. mrhawk166

    mrhawk166 New Member

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    Greetings all,

    I've never toured. I do, however, dream of cycling across the United States or France or even up north in California. What's stopping me? Well, I have not a clue as to the logistics of how to actually tour. Like, where do you sleep? Can you camp anywhere? Do you just camp at campgrounds? Where do you sleep when you're heading through the city? What are the rules governing that? (I've never really camped either...) What do you do about having to go the bathroom in the middle of nowhere (Do you pack toilet paper?) What can you do about water/food when you're traveling through the desert?

    In other words, I've been a child of suburbia, naive in the ways of touring. Can anyone point me in the right direction of how to discover the answers to these?

    I'd love to go solo touring, but that seems a little risky, going solo for my first tours. I've got a stock Trek 3500 mountain bike (well, I did get headlamp/taillamp addon). I'm thinking of getting a rear rack/panniers, slicks, and possibly mudguards. Any advice is appreciated.

    Sincerely,

    Mike

    PS. Anyone around Irvine, Orange County, California, who'd like to go riding?
     
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  2. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    A good place for some information is URL:
    http://www.adventurecycling.org/
    Camping in approved parks is usually a good starting point.
    However, there are credit card touring methods that have you staying in motels and other establishments.
    You need to give it a try for weekend trips to see what works for you. There are too many choices to give you a fixed set of suggestions.
    If you are fully equipped for camping you have the most flexibility. Then, if you are too tired, wet, or just want to stay in a motel, you can still do it. Have you ever stayed in a motel and seen a trailer or motor home parked in the lot?
    Cost and weight of camping, cooking gear, food, etc. all slow you down a bit; and may change the bicycle you ride.
    Carrying some food, water, toliet items, rain gear, etc. are a good idea; even if you never acutally camp.
    When you tour, try to stay along some of the major touring routes shown in Adventure Cycling Organization's routes. You will meet some very interesting people and can share stories and ideas that are proven... and that you may want to adopt yourself.
    Adventure Cycling has a magazine and books on the topic. You might find some of these books in your library system.
    Adventure Cycling supports routes all over the USA, including some off road routes.
     
  3. byfred

    byfred New Member

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  4. byfred

    byfred New Member

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    :rolleyes: :) :)
     
  5. MidBunchLurker

    MidBunchLurker New Member

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    Check out http://www-math.science.unitn.it/Bike/ for lots of useful links to bike trip reports. This site is sure to inspire you to get on your bike and go exploring!

    I've also found the Lonely Planet cycling guides very useful when planning trips...
     
  6. pudster

    pudster New Member

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    I have done a lot of touring over the last30 years and I have a couple of suggestions. One would be to go to the www.adventurecycling.com like daveornee said. They have set bike tours with maps , campgrounds, stores distances and tell you distances and tons of other stuff. They also do guided trips for groups of people. You can sign up for any tours they offer and meet great people on them. You can also buy the maps from them and do your own tour. The other way to do a tour when you are unsure about about campgrounds is to get a membership to AAA. You can tell them where you want to go (don't tell them on a bike) and they will set up a trip tik for you . The maps have distances and towns and they will give you all the triple A campround books for the places that you want to go. I don't think that they would mind if you are on a bike but I have never said that. It is a good organization if you have an old car like mine though. They also have motel books that tell you all the motels on your route. They are very nice people. One last thing is to stop at churchs and ask if you can stay on there property. Most seem pleased to help you out just give a good donation to the church. I keep coming up with other ideas, the last one I will bore you with is to stop at the local police station in small towns and ask if there are any places that you could pitch your tent for the night. They are usually great at telling you spots and will even check up on you. Bike touring is fun and if you are nice to people they will be nice to you.
     
  7. Greyfox10025

    Greyfox10025 New Member

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    Hi Mike,
    This might interest you.
    www.todmoore.net
     
  8. mrhawk166

    mrhawk166 New Member

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    Thank you all for your replies :D Those definitely look like some inspiring links, (and AdventureCycling definitely seems like some good first steps). I just wanted to mention what I have found the most difficult part of this all:

    I realized that if I wanted to go touring, I'd probably have to be dealing w/ traffic quite a bit. So, I've been trying to learn how to commute in traffic, (ie, not going on sidewalks, not hugging the right side, actually using the left hand turn lanes and straight lanes, using handsignals to scoot across 3 lanes), and I have to say, this is turning out to be the most "difficult" part of preparing for touring. I think that the camping/packing part seems to be nothing compared to this!

    I'll be honest - it's flat out scary at times. But, I know that it can be done, b/c many others do it, and overall, I'm quite a safe cyclist. It's just dealing w/ that "fear"... Hopefully I'll be out touring soon enough... ;)

    Thanks guys!
     
  9. Greyfox10025

    Greyfox10025 New Member

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    Mike If you go overseas you will find the drivers in Europe much much more considerate that they in this country.
     
  10. Jharte

    Jharte Guest

    Good morning all,
    Mike, bicycle touring can be one of the most peaceful and rewarding things you have ever done. I have been touring/commuting for many years. One thing I always do when trying out new equipment (new tent, cookstove, even a new bicycle) is to stay fairly close to home first. It's just in case something doesn't work out the way I hoped. The links you have been given are great. There are also many different ways to travel, ie self-supported to a fully paid for guided tour. They all have advantages. One thought I always keep: Just being "there" is awesome. "There" is a different place for everyone. You can count on this forum for good info.

    Jerry H.
     
  11. tmctguer

    tmctguer New Member

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    i would be more than happy to share my touring tips. i've travelled from San Francisco to LA with a HUGE group. i've recently completed 2 multi-day trips through parts of france and spain by myself.

    on my group trips, we camped but they were fully supported rides. on my europe trips, i stayed at small, very inexpensive hotels each night after riding. as you can imagine, the pre-trip planning for group versus solo touring is very different.

    if you want to discuss via email, write me at "[email protected]". i would be happy to share lessons learned.

    i live in dana point, by the way. i'm not looking for a riding partner since i always ride solo, but perhaps we could meet for lunch someday if i have any materials that are better shown in person than via email. for example, i have a technique for creating laminated maps & route descriptions that were invaluable during my european trips.

    anyway, email me if you are interested.
     
  12. rlmarr

    rlmarr New Member

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    There is also in depth information on a site that has been spoken about many times due to what occured. The site remains and has great information. Take a look. I hope you find it helpful.


    http://www.kenkifer.com

    Good Luck

    Ray
     
  13. carlfogel

    carlfogel New Member

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    Dear Jerry H.,

    I hope that you see this. I apologize for troubling you, but I'm trying to confirm the existence of half a dozen people who posted from cycling forums to rec.bicycles.tech in past few weeks in a thread about "Should I Wear A Helmet?"

    You were grossly insulted without provocation by some of the more paranoid members of rec.bicycles.tech. (You may recall Chalo Colina.) Some of them continued to call cycling forums posters frauds, claiming that there was a conspiracy for one poster to use many names. They are still claiming as proof their inability to find you and five other posters (two of them have replied, martynspeck and augusta cycling, another is deciding what to do, and I've been trying to find you and two others).

    While the helmet thread is no longer visible from cycling forums, martynspeck just began a new thread about this from cycling forums. It appears as "Since you guys don't seem to think I exist"
    in rec.bicycles.tech.

    I'd appreciate it if you'd either reply here, where your email address is protected, or directly. Silly as it seems, there are some people in rec.bicycles.tech who have privately indicated that they might want to apologize. Some have already done so publicly.

    If you reply privately, I don't intend to quote you or mention your email address without your permission.

    Carl Fogel
     
  14. izella

    izella New Member

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  15. ricks03

    ricks03 New Member

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    I've toured all over Western europe, and it all started with me landing in London and looking for a bike.

    The only difference solo is you're not lost as part of a group.
    :)

    I wouldn't trade solo cycling for anything. It's not every expensive, it really isn't that hard, and you meet the most wonderful people.

    Rick
     
  16. rnagaoka

    rnagaoka New Member

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    Mike,

    A little late to this thread, but you might want to check out this website:

    http://www.outdoorsclub.org/

    They sometimes have beginning overnight self-supported tours led by bikers who want to share their expertise. I've seen some rides go along the coast through South OC and San Diego Co. I'm not a member, but am thinking of joining for the comaraderie.

    --Ron
     
  17. Greyfox10025

    Greyfox10025 New Member

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    Look here. www.TodMoore.net
     
  18. Trekker2017

    Trekker2017 New Member

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    When I planned my cross country solo tour, I started out by choosing the points of interest I wanted to see and then connected the dots. From there I went to Adventure Cycling and they developed some maps for me. Then I picked up the Woodall Campground Directory (they have one dedicated to tenting) and checked for alternative campsites than the ones proposed by Adventure Cycling.

    Once I had my tour planned, I was able to settle on the kinds and amount of clothing I would need to take with me. The clothes I rolled and put in quart freezer bags which kept them dry no matter how wet I got (and I rode through some great storms). I took some food with me, but ended up tossing most of it in favor of local diners where by asking a few questions, you learn just how to cycle through an area, what the drivers like and don't like and how to stay out of their way. If you stay out of people's way they will appreciate it.

    Crossing Alabama, I came across a really bad intersection where several 18-wheelers loaded with logs were trying to get on to this two lane blacktop. I hung back and waited for them to work out their problem before following. While I was waiting, a semi pulled up next to me and the driver wondered why I was waiting. I told him the last thing they needed to worry about was me in front of them. A couple of miles down the road, I pulled off at a small roadside diner for lunch, when I went to pay, the waitress asked me if I was "that guy on a bicycle". When I said I was, she told me my lunch was already paid for. One of the truckers told her that if is stopped by to put it on his tab because I was smart enough to have stayed out of their way.

    I did keep my mountain stove to make coffee with in the mornings or hot chocolate before turning in. Some times I would buy something like Dinty Moore stew from the campground store and cooked that up for dinner. But most of the time I let someone else do the cooking for me.
     
  19. mrhawk166

    mrhawk166 New Member

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    Its stories of kindness like that that make the idea of touring sound very enjoyable. It sounded like you had a great experience. :D My day for a tour will come sometime soon in the future...

    - Mike
     
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