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How do you guys afford the time and money and company to do long tours???

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How do you guys afford the time and money and company to do long tours???

Old 05-14-19, 08:09 AM
  #26  
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At this point in my life, work takes precedence. I like my job and plan to keep at it for as long as I’m able. That means short tours of a week or so, and very short trips of 2-3 days. There are plenty of great places to ride that don’t require loads of time. Some day, that longer tour will happen, but there’s no sense in waiting for that day. Never toured with others, and probably wouldn’t, knowing myself and hearing the experiences of others. My goal of touring is to get away from people and get into nature.

Also, I bike commute year round about 30 miles a day and usually ride some singletrack on the weekend, so it not like my only riding is touring.

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Old 05-14-19, 08:25 AM
  #27  
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Before I retired, my bike tours were one week or less.

I was unemployed for over a year and a half in the early 80s when unemployment was over 10 percent. It completely wiped me out financially. That trained me to become a frugal spender and consummate saver once I got back onto my feet. After that at least 10 percent of my income and often 20 percent went to savings. That meant that I could afford to buy larger items later because I did not live paycheck to paycheck. That eventually became the reason that I could take early retirement. Regarding cost of camping gear, I did a lot of camping before I got into bike touring so the camping gear is stuff I already owned.

You are right, finding touring partners is very difficult, it is hart to find friends that are about evenly matched for bike speed, endurance, etc. And interested in going to similar places and doing similar activities. I was lucky that one of my co-workers had done some credit card touring. He also did camping but had not camped on bike trips. So, when I decided to get into bike touring I was pleasantly surprised to learn of his past bike touring and he was interested in joining me. We are similar age, similar interests, etc. I have more endurance than he does but he has more climbing ability on the hills during the first few hours of riding each day, overall we are accepting of each others strengths and weaknesses during the bike riding portion of the day. We do not fully agree on a lot of things, but we work to be accepting of each others biases and preferences. But I have also done solo touring, my next tour will be solo.

It is not cheap, but if you really are interested in starting bike touring, save up for an ACA week long van supported camping tour or inn to inn tour. I say van supported because then the type of bike is less important and the costs of panniers and racks will not prevent you from going. Look for one that is reasonably close to home so you could avoid airline travel costs. Once you have done one, you will know if you want to keep doing it. Most of the people on those trips are traveling solo to and from the trip start and end points.

If you lack the bike, I have never seen a Windsor Tourist, but it is my understanding that they have worked well for some on a strict budget. Sometimes they are out of stock in the size you need, but they eventually reappear.
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist-touring-bikes-v.htm

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Old 05-14-19, 08:51 AM
  #28  
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I wonder how you came to save up so much money. Don't you have mortgages, bills and other expenses?

I don't tour, but I have been known to blow ridiculous amount of money on bicycles & related paraphanelia.

What @andrewclause said is spot on.
Ditch the subscription services. Pandora, Spotify, that MMORPG, that dinner box delivery service...etc. All of it.

Ditch the cable company that charges you 3 times for the same data connection (cable, internet, voice). You only need 1 data connection. Internet alone is pretty cheap.

Ditch the redundant land line telephone. If you still have copper wires. You can do like I did & literally cut them off your house & coil them up by the power pole. It might take a year or 2, but the phone company will come get them. It is YOUR house afterall. They have no right & you have no obligation to keep them attached.

Television is free with an antenna & has been so since the 1930-something Worlds Fair.

Ditch the gym membership.

Eliminate the car payment. That helps in a bunch of ways. 1 being the insurance cost of full coverage. Another being the interest. Another being on going monthly overhead. The best way to turn a sensible $12,000 car into an $18,000 car is getting it financed at 6.5% or that same car into a $40,000 obligation is to fold it into a home equity line at 5.5% for 20 years.

Pay mortgage principal in addition to regular monthly payments. A $240,000 home is easily $450,000 in obligation over 30 years. Paying principal payments in greater amount & earlier on really eff's with the interest portion of the payment scheme. How's that extra $200,000 dollars and decade & a half of being tied to "the man" avoided sound? It's the same compounding mathematics for credit cards.

Start thinking of things in terms of obligation & total cost.

Credit cards cut your purchasing power in half. I've found the best way to think about any purchase with a card is to mentally double the price. Would you still buy it? This has allowed me to put all the cards to rest.

I have a ridiculously gutted retirement, to make some investors & day traders happy with my employer. I've also placed no dollars in my employers Voluntary Investment Plan. The reasons are simple. I honestly do not believe my employer or the plans will exist when it comes time for me to retire. The other is the 2% "management fee" compounds & eats 2/3rd's of the potential gain. Puting money there amounts to just learning how to live with debt, obligation & makes for a ripe customer for other E-Z-Credit opportunist.

Also, it doesn't hurt to know that the rate of growth of my employers plan, over 20 years, even convienently discounting the fee's effect is half as strong as the saved obligation of getting the mortgage paid 20 years early. The end result is 8x the net spendable cash than otherwise so & zero of the obligation...all by living thin for just the next 4 years.

TBH: After all is accounted for the total amount I would end up with under my employers plan is really no different than that of a maxing out annual IRA contributions or buying a good IRA CD, so that's where my money goes. It's not fancy but it allows my other monies to go where it is most effective at freeing me of obligation.

Really, as a direct answer to your question: People manage to do things like have time & money to go on tour by making life long choices, looking at "the big picture" & having habits that avoid obligation.

Also, as a side note: I got tired of my debit card being skimmed at gas pumps, hotel congierges, etc...& being fraudulently used on the other side of the country for things like Uber/Lyft or Atm's. So when the bank offered to replace it, (again!) I opted to not. I am now 100% cash based in my personal economics. That choice alone saves about $30,000-$35,000 dollars per year of concenience spending that used to happen. Yeah, it means a weekly trip to the bank to talk to a human teller person. But if it saved you $35,000 a year, would you? Besides the teller at my credit union is a nice person, so it's a win.

I still live on $200 a week for coffee, burgers, movies, & beer, That's plenty to cover everything I need for recreational spending...Even in pricy Seattle.

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Old 05-14-19, 09:27 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
I've been dreaming of doing a bikepacking tour for many years now. But I can't figure out how to get started. I mean, I see all these posts and photos about bike touring and camping in all kinds of places.

I wonder what kind of jobs you guys have, that you can afford to take several weeks or months off. I get 3 weeks in a year, and that needs to be distributed among all the vacations. Traveling to all these exotic places means it's not going to be just a Saturday day trip.
I've been at my job for 37 years. At about 15 years, my vacation accrual maxed at at 26 days per year. I could carry over more but only slightly up to 35 days or 9 days more than the maximum. Anything I don't use over the 280, I lose. Since I'm not in the habit of donating time back to my company, I had to do something with my vacation time and there's only so much sitting around the house that you can stand, so I started to look for adventures.


Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
I wonder how you came to save up so much money. Don't you have mortgages, bills and other expenses?
Touring doesn't have to be expensive. Yes, travel to the beginning of a tour can be costly. Shipping a bike to the beginning of a tour can be costly. (Watch the dimensions of the bike box you use. Even a fraction of an inch over the limit doubles the shipping cost.). But the riding isn't all that expensive.

I often drive to a starting point and park my car at, for example, a long term airport parking lot. That way I avoid the hassles of getting a bike on a plane...expensive and chancy...and the hassles of getting all kinds of baggage through TSA. The cost is really about the same. Take, for example, a tour I did in 2015. The cost of a flight to Toledo is about $370. To send the bike on the plane would cost me $150 each way for a flight cost of $670. I could ship my bike to Toledo but where would I ship it to? How would I get to where I shipped it? Where would I put the box for 5 weeks? That applies to both the shipping and airlines since bicycles have to be packed in a box to send on an airline. Where would I get a box to ship it back if I didn't find a place to keep a box for 5 weeks?

Then there are the TSA regulations. I can't send fuel canisters through even checked bags. TSA regulations on stoves are tricky to follow and you may end up with a no stove because it was confiscated (in violation of the Constitution, I might add). Not a great way to start a tour. And I'm not sure TSA would look kindly on tents, sleeping bags, bike tools and other items for carry-on. They might even be questionable for checked bags, especially if you use liquid fuel for cooking and carry it in a pannier.

So I usually drive to a start point. This is what the 2015 trip looked like

Bike and touring stuff

2015-04-23 06.25.21 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Docked excursion module in mother ship

2015-04-23 07.38.13 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Undocking in Toledo

IMGP0245 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Parking cost me $8 per day or $280 plus a ton of gas to get there and back. But that's still less cost and far less hassle than taking a plane.

For one way rides, rather than loops, I've also use one-way car rentals which are expensive...probably more expensive then planes... as well but still less hassle than airplanes. If you can drive to your starting location in 24 hours, it will cost you around $300. But it does allow you the freedom of doing ride throughs rather then having to return to a starting point. You'd be amazed at how far you can drive in 24 hours. Portland, OR to Denver is 1240 miles. It can be done, with gas, snack and bathroom breaks, in close to the 18 hours that Google says. I've also driven the 1000 miles from Terre Haute, ID to Denver in about 15 hours. It's two days from Burlington, VT (stopped in Terre Haute) to Denver. I wouldn't want to do that drive again but it is possible.

Originally Posted by fuji_owner View Post
I wonder how so many of you have willing and enthusiastic friends or partners who go with you.
Unlike me, my wife has switched jobs frequently so she never got to the vacation level that I have. Rather than go with someone and suffer the friction of differences in personalities, I go alone. (The only thing worse then going alone is going with someone and the only thing worse than going with someone is touring alone.)

But not every tour has to be an expedition. There are lots and lots of tours that can start from your front door (or further along if you can get someone to drive you). I've done several tours in Colorado...both along and with my wife...several times. We did a week along the Katy Trail that involved leaving our truck in St. Charles and riding Amtrak to the start of our tour. I don't know where you live but Colorado now has a bus system called the Bustang which I have used for an off-road trip and I plan on using it for several more. I can get from Denver to just about any jumping off point I want without having to use my car.

"But...", "but...", "but..." are the rocks upon which many a bicycle tour and budding bicycle tourist are dashed. Don't let them get in your way. You just have to swallow your fears and get out there. As the Great Pee Wee Herman once said, "Everyone has a big but, Simone. Let's talk about your big but." (There is a lot of wisdom in Pee Wee's Big Adventure that is applicable to bicycle touring. I suggest you watch it.)
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Old 05-14-19, 09:44 AM
  #30  
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For my first and longest tour, I'd saved up 8 weeks of vacation, and took the rest as leave without pay. That was the summer my youngest daughter and wife graduated college, three months after we paid off the mortgage, so finances weren't such a huge worry.

If you have money but little time, you can afford to travel to different areas of the country for a week or two. If you have time but little money, you can camp and cook, ride and live cheaply to see large areas. If you don't have much of either, find someplace local where you'd like to ride for five days to a week, and get rolling!

I'd started commuting by bike four years earlier, so I had a bike and one set of panniers. That saved and average of $75 a month in gas and wear and tear on the car, which helped finance the other set of panniers. Once you've got camping gear (which I already had), it's good for a very long time.
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Old 05-14-19, 11:42 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
As the Great Pee Wee Herman once said, "Everyone has a big but, Simone. Let's talk about your big but." (There is a lot of wisdom in Pee Wee's Big Adventure that is applicable to bicycle touring. I suggest you watch it.)
I had a relatively modern TV in college. People used to come to by room to watch on Saturday mornings. Wonder if Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis) looks back on that series and shakes his head.

And I too have used one-way rentals on several occasions, including for my 3 cross-PA trips. SUV had held the bike "whole" every time. Have gotten some good deals with Avis.
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Old 05-14-19, 11:54 AM
  #32  
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Just Do It!

I always dreamed of coast-to-coast bike touring, it was a bucket list thing with me. But like you, the time, equipment, partners, cost, etc. seemed overwhelming so I never did any. One afternoon, while riding with a friend, we were both lamenting all the things on our bucket lists that we’d likely never achieve. Time was the biggest factor for me until I realized while talking with my friend that I could do it in sections, none longer than my annual vacation. I ordered a set of ACA Southern Tier maps and planned an ambitious first leg from San Diego to El Paso. It would take 13 days to complete.

The equipment was also intimidating, but I used my existing bike, a 30-year-old old set of panniers, and other random camping stuff which I already owned. I did buy a lightweight down sleeping bag, but I could have used my existing bag as well. I read this guy’s blog: Ultralight bicycle touring which had lots of great tips. I followed some (like buy a scale and weight everything), and ignored others (like cutting the handle off my toothbrush). In the end, I spent very little on new equipment. Since you don’t know if you’re going to do more than one tour, borrow as much stuff as you can; you’d be amazed what your friends have in their basements and attics.

As for a traveling companion, none of my friends had any interest in bike touring (most thought I was crazy). I planned to ride alone and was OK with that as I’ve traveled extensively by myself and am very comfortable with my own company. However, the month before I left, a housemate of a good friend said he would like to join me. We did one practice ride together (with all our gear) and determined that our riding styles and personalities were compatible.

That first tour was life changing; I loved it. I’d made a few mistakes in planning (i.e. don’t plan an 80-mile first day climbing the Sierras fully loaded unless you’re fitter than I was). Seeing the country at 10 mph is amazing. The kindness and generosity of people was heartwarming. At the finish I was sad to see El Paso as I wanted to keep right on going to the Atlantic; which I did in two more sections over the next two years.

Bottom line – Just go do it! You’ll be shocked at how easy it is.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:08 PM
  #33  
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This has turned out to be a pretty good philosophical thread in a way; detailing the various entry points and modes of touring.

My first real official tour was in 1989 when I recieved $2000 after my father passed away. I was a labourer then and it allowed me to drop out for a bit. That bike was an old gas pipe 2x5 mtb with caliper brakes that wouldn't stop in the rain. I had to drag my foot down two mountain passes on that trip.

I tour alone partly by choice and partly because I find my generation so difficult to coordinate activities with - it's like herding cats. Whether it's diving or biking, someone always wants to alter plans after they are made. Sometimes it clicks but I would rather go alone than get frustrated by people who can't stick to a plan. Whimsy alone is ok but whimsy in groups leads to chaos.

I also like to push myself both to cover distance because of time constraints and for the sheer challenge of it. In my everday life I work closely with people all the time as a rehab assistant which I find rewarding but it's not a big physical challenge for me. Touring lets me decompress socially and push myself as hard as my residents push themselves so it gives me a good sense of empathy towards them too. I share my stories with them so they know when I ask for 100% I'm also willing to give it.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:28 PM
  #34  
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Mr Fuji, you havent piped in, are you in your 20s in North America, or are you in yours 60s in India?

Going from the bikes you own, you probably aren't a starving student, but then again, even if you are, be assured that with some proper and realistic planning and purchasing, you too can try out bike touring.

the recommendation of borrowing stuff is a great one, and combining this with a long weekend could make a trial trip something that wouldnt too hard to organize at very little expense, and if the weather is nice, a perfect way to find out if you like this sort of thing.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:37 PM
  #35  
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I have 17 days vacation/PTO a year. Last year, I chose to use 11 of those to get me a 17 day trip to France (11 work days plus 6 weekend days), not all of it cycle touring but the majority was. Yes, it means foregoing other vacations, but life is about choice, even the choice to not make the France trip riding every single day. Other choices involve her only being halfway up the seniority pole at work, so we generally travel during non-peak vacation seasons, as it is easier for her to get a bigger block of vacation at that point if we aren't competing with spring/summer break schedules.

As for cost, as others have mentioned, only you can answer that. Me and the wife make enough that we can afford to save up for the lodging if we aren't camping, and really beyond that our daily expenses aren't much different than they are if we were at home.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:42 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
The key is to not have kids.

I have 3, so I haven't done an extended tour in more than 20 years.
Yes, I started touring when my children left home for uni and I had the time to bike tour overseas - solo because my wife HATED (!) The idea of camping and travel. That, too, has passed
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Old 05-14-19, 12:45 PM
  #37  
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I have a wife and two kids that are 12 and 8, dogs, a full time office job, and a volunteer position that keeps me busy about 12 hours a week.
Free time is limited and my vacation time is really time to spend with family on whatever our shared calendar shows for activities coming up.

Luckily the volunteering is with a youth mentorship organization where the kids ride 3x/week and train for RAGBRAI at the end of July, so that gives me time on the bike a couple times a week for 25-50mi at a time. If not for that, I would rarely get on two wheels it seems.

Point is- I get creative.
- The mentorship program has 3 weekend campouts where we ride 120-150mi in total and camp overnight. So I go on a couple of those each year.
- RAGBRAI is a week of camping and riding. It’s a supported tour, but each year I get to see dozens of small towns that ive never been to or thru in my state and camp each night.
- I go on 1 or 2 overnight camping rides with my oldest daughter, and will soon bring my youngest daughter with. It’s a lot of planning to ensure the route is safe, realistic, and fun- but its completely worth it. This year we are going to travel out of state to ride later in the summer for a few days.

Basically- figure out how to get the most out of touring based on the life parameters you have chosen. As mentioned in the thread already- s24o trips are a good way to get some experience and to feed the itch a bit. Or plan a few days and take a weekend plus F and M off work. 4 days to ride for 3, basically. Those things will help you figure out what you like, what you dislike, and then allow you to refine your trips in the future.
If something like taking extended time off work to cross the country isn’t in the cards for you, then make the most of whats around.
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Old 05-14-19, 12:50 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by tmac100 View Post
Yes, I started touring when my children left home for uni and I had the time to bike tour overseas - solo because my wife HATED (!) The idea of camping and travel. That, too, has passed
looking at your location- have you toured around Qatar? Its geographically smaller than the state of Connecticut and hot for all months besides December thru March. Curious how touring there works...if at all.
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Old 05-14-19, 01:52 PM
  #39  
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I recently quit a highly paid and highly prestigious job in the USA to move back to Europe. Downsides? (at least) a $70,000 pay cut. Upsides? 10-weeks paid vacation in a country where companies routinely shut down for the whole of August.

I'm looking forward to taking my six year old princess for her first mini tour some time soon. I turned on my Garmin last week, and it had one ride from nearly two years in the USA...
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Old 05-14-19, 01:59 PM
  #40  
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Moved my stuff into storage, so eliminated the apartment rent & utilities cost..

went solo , never married , no kids..
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Old 05-14-19, 02:12 PM
  #41  
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I actually asked a similar question nearly ten years ago. Some interesting replies:

https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/6...o-touring.html

By the time we actually moved to the US, I negotiated 4-weeks vacation, which was kind of OK. I remember HR being very confused that I didn't ask about the salary!
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Old 05-14-19, 02:39 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Jim246 View Post
I recently quit a highly paid and highly prestigious job in the USA to move back to Europe. Downsides? (at least) a $70,000 pay cut. Upsides? 10-weeks paid vacation in a country where companies routinely shut down for the whole of August.
... ...
You clearly have your priorities in order. Life is too short to spend it all in an office.
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Old 05-14-19, 02:51 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
looking at your location- have you toured around Qatar? Its geographically smaller than the state of Connecticut and hot for all months besides December thru March. Curious how touring there works...if at all.
Nope - only solo, self-supported bicycle tour in Australia (Savannah Way and Perth to Sydney via the Nullabore and Broken Hill). This August I take a 7 day self-guided tour in France of the Loire Valley with my "travelling companion", sleeping each night in a 4 star place and evening dining in restaurants - instead of in a tent and cooking on a SVEA. Looking forward to the change in style at 71 years of age
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Old 05-14-19, 03:28 PM
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bikenh
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The key secret to life...

If you don't spend the money, you don't have to make the money...

If you don't have to make the money, you have a lot more free time available to do the things you would much rather off be doing.

I'm single and I live by myself. Both of the past two years I have spent less than $4,000/per year. I don't have to make much money. I could drop that down under $3,000 a year if I wanted to without having to put up much of a fight. I figure I could live for $2-2,500/per full time traveling on the open road. Given everything I have stumbled into over the past few months, maybe quite a bit less than that even.

How to save money? Stop spending it on worthless crap that you don't need in the first place. Remember mankind use to live just fine before some idiot went out and flew a kite in the middle of an lightning storm. You don't NEED anything that runs off of electricity, you WANT it. To have it you also have all the bills that go with, gas, repairs, service contracts, replacement items, etc. You don't NEED any of it. Start keeping track of your expenses and see how much of your annual expenses is directly tied to electric goods/services. I gave up driving over 9 years ago and have watched my expenses tank by 50%+ as a result. I haven't had a TV at my house since before the 2008 Summer Olympics. I don't have internet access at my house. Generally during the summer months my electric bill is 3-4 kW a month. Between mid-May and mid-October last year I used 16 kW. All my electric consumption comes from winter heating, but thanks to a few new ideas that should tank like a rock this coming winter. I live in a 468 sq ft shack. I bought it both because of its size and its location. It's in a town with low property taxes thanks to many million dollar homes around town. I let the big home owner pay my property taxes for me. They want to build 10,000 sq ft log cabins, I won't complain, it just lowers my property tax bill. The small house limits my upkeep expense and it also limits my living in it expense..if I don't have the place to put the stuff I see in a store than I have no reason to buy it.

My single biggest expense each year is food, last year around $1700, with over 700 in junk food. The next biggest expense is property taxes at $900/year. Yeah, that means I spent only $1300 on all other expenses last year. I don't spend money

By not spending money I don't have to make a lot of money so I have tons of time available. I do odds and end jobs. I haven't had a real job in almost a decade now...I'm 46 years old and I don't live off the gov't...I just learn to do more with less.

I don't use panniers for bike travel, instead I go to the local dump and pick up kitty liter buckets for free and they become my panniers. Now I'm looking at a whole new concept that would mean me going back to using a trailer, a hammock trail...no need for trees or ski poles or anything else like that but I could still sleep in a hammock every night, even in the middle of concrete parking lot. Like I said sometimes you just have to learn to be creative.

I travel solo. No one else could tolerate my travel wisdom. I ride on the fly. I don't follow any kind of schedule. I decide from one day to the next where I am going to go and sometimes I change it up midday. No one could tolerate that kind of travel life so I ride solo.

Like others have said, start small and work bigger. Don't throw money at a problem. I gave up the car because I knew I didn't have the money to fix it or replace, so I just stopped driving and it has been the best thing I have did in my life. Yeah, I ride 30 miles roundtrip to the grocery store but it keeps me in shape and gives me an excuse to ride.

The only reason you can't go car free is because you don't want to, not because you can't. I knew of a guy that lived out in the Chicago area that use to ride 60 miles round trip to work each day and he did it all year long.

Again, if you don't have to spend the money then you don't have to make the money and you can have more time to do the things you would much rather off be doing. You say you still have to work though. Who says you have to work at the job you are currently working at...'Oh I love my job'. Ok go in tomorrow and tell your boss you are going to work for nothing from now on. You love the job so much that you will do it for free...do you really love the job or the things the job provides. Remember if you don't need the garbage in life than you don't need the job either.

Not to take this to a whole new extreme, but a while back I saw a link somewhere to guy over in England who went on the challenge to live for a year on nothing, no money at all. Look up the Moneyiless Manifesto(I believe that is the right name of the book he wrote). You can download it for free and watchsome interviews on youtube with him. Let that stir you imagination on how to make things happen.
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Old 05-14-19, 04:20 PM
  #45  
Rowan
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This is among, if not, the best thread I have ever read on Bike Forums. Thanks for starting it, Fuji Owner, and thanks to everyone who has contributed so far talking of their lives and cycle-touring. Wonderful.

And the irony of that thread originator's name is that my first real touring bike was a Fuji Touring which I still have, and it replaced another cheap bike that I rode from Perth in Western Australia to Adelaide in South Australia on my first ever real tour over 20 years ago and which was stolen when I finally reached home Tasmania. The Fuji has done more than 60,000km of touring, commuting and randonneuring.
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Old 05-14-19, 06:05 PM
  #46  
mev
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Single, no kids.

I live below my means, not too different than I did as a college student, except in college I owned a car. I sold the car in 2001, went touring for a year and haven't quite bought one again. I use my bike for commuting to work and most errands. I'll rent a car if I need it, but that isn't very often. I work in tech and can't complain about pay.

At age 23, I graduated from college and started working. Six years later, I asked for and got enough time to what was then "a trip of a lifetime", a bicycle ride across the US. It was an intense ride, completed in six weeks. I spent long hours in the saddle but that was the sort of thing I enjoyed doing at age 29. Overall, an intense but great trip.

Four months after I returned, our group of ~40 engineers was called together and told after a re-organization our work was going to move elsewhere. We could apply for jobs elsewhere in the company and there were other groups hiring. After six years working, it was a big shock. I had put in lots of hours and wrapped a lot of my identity in what I did. One thing I reflected on was that I sure was glad I had been able to do my bike ride the summer before - since it would now be tougher to do that after I found a new a job.

I was fortunate to find a new job without too much difficulty. I decided that if the company could interrupt/reorganize - that I could do that too - and vowed to myself, that I would find another way to do another trip "in about five years" and work to that as a goal. Long story - short. In five years I took off for 3 months this time and bicycled across Canada (Fairbanks to St Johns). This set up a pattern and (a) four years later - a one year trip (around Australia, second cross-USA, New Zealand, India) (b) five years later a 10 month trip (across Russia) (c) five years later a 6 month trip (across Africa) and (d) three and a half years later an 18 month trip (Alaska to Argentina).

All except for my last trip were done by working with my bosses and the leave policies available at companies I worked. I made some trade-offs along the way, e.g. turned down a promotion or two and ended up moving a few times. However, I was fortunate to establish good relations with my bosses and be valuable enough they were willing to take me back after a LOA but never so indispensable that I couldn't work myself out of a job, train replacements and jump to a new role on return. In those 33 years I've worked for only two companies but in five different states. I've worked to keep my skills and contacts up and many roles are technical with either people or project management.

It has been a little tougher to find new roles as I've gotten older. Prior to my last 18-month trip was the first time I formally quit my job for a bike trip. I left things as best I could and figured it would take a month or two to be back working at that company. I did end up rehired but it took six months instead of two. This meant living off savings for two years, but this was something I was prepared to do.

The overall summary would be a combination of being lucky along with a willingness to prioritize life choices in a way that enables me to take some longer tours every five years or so and reach a goal of cycling across six continents. I stumbled into this pattern with the first intra-company layoff but in hindsight am glad I did.

Last edited by mev; 05-14-19 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:43 PM
  #47  
fuji_owner
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
I live and work in Australia where we get 4 weeks holiday time, plus an additional 12 (I think) stat holidays. In addition, my job allows me to purchase leave up to 10 days ... which I've done.

Here's a little news story you might like:
https://www.news.com.au/news/clever-...54cad9b32fad7a

For example, from that article:

"The 10-day Easter holiday hack: Turn three days off into 10

Easter is Friday, April 19 to Monday, April 22 in all states. Anzac Day lands two days later, on Thursday, April 25.

With two public holidays in one week, you can extend your holiday to 10 days — from Friday, April 18 to Sunday, April 28 inclusive — just by taking three days of annual leave."


Since my Easter was Friday to Tuesday, I took Thursday 18th off, Wednesday the 24, Friday the 26th ... and with the expenditure of 3 days of annual leave, I had an 11 day holiday and we travelled around Tassie during that time.


As for money, Rowan and I were able to spend 8 months touring and travelling because we lived on one salary and saved the other for about 3 years. I've been able to go on 1-3 month holidays by setting aside a certain percentage of my salary each pay.

We rent, so no mortgages. We pay things off as quickly as possible so no bills outside the "life bills" (groceries, utilities, etc.), and we try to keep those relatively low. We don't rack up large amounts on the credit card. We don't drink alcohol. We've both lived several years without a motor vehicle, and even now we only use our car on weekends.


As for partners, I started cycletouring with someone I met through Randonneuring/Audax. Then I met Rowan, also through Randonneuring/Audax, and we married a few years later.
Lucky you! living in Australia. I wish we had these long mandatory vacation time in the US.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:47 PM
  #48  
fuji_owner
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Originally Posted by mev View Post
Single, no kids.

I live below my means, not too different than I did as a college student, except in college I owned a car. I sold the car in 2001, went touring for a year and haven't quite bought one again. I use my bike for commuting to work and most errands. I'll rent a car if I need it, but that isn't very often. I work in tech and can't complain about pay.

At age 23, I graduated from college and started working. Six years later, I asked for and got enough time to what was then "a trip of a lifetime", a bicycle ride across the US. It was an intense ride, completed in six weeks. I spent long hours in the saddle but that was the sort of thing I enjoyed doing at age 29. Overall, an intense but great trip.

Four months after I returned, our group of ~40 engineers was called together and told after a re-organization our work was going to move elsewhere. We could apply for jobs elsewhere in the company and there were other groups hiring. After six years working, it was a big shock. I had put in lots of hours and wrapped a lot of my identity in what I did. One thing I reflected on was that I sure was glad I had been able to do my bike ride the summer before - since it would now be tougher to do that after I found a new a job.

I was fortunate to find a new job without too much difficulty. I decided that if the company could interrupt/reorganize - that I could do that too - and vowed to myself, that I would find another way to do another trip "in about five years" and work to that as a goal. Long story - short. In five years I took off for 3 months this time and bicycled across Canada (Fairbanks to St Johns). This set up a pattern and (a) four years later - a one year trip (around Australia, second cross-USA, New Zealand, India) (b) five years later a 10 month trip (across Russia) (c) five years later a 6 month trip (across Africa) and (d) three and a half years later an 18 month trip (Alaska to Argentina).

All except for my last trip were done by working with my bosses and the leave policies available at companies I worked. I made some trade-offs along the way, e.g. turned down a promotion or two and ended up moving a few times. However, I was fortunate to establish good relations with my bosses and be valuable enough they were willing to take me back after a LOA but never so indispensable that I couldn't work myself out of a job, train replacements and jump to a new role on return. In those 33 years I've worked for only two companies but in five different states. I've worked to keep my skills and contacts up and many roles are technical with either people or project management.

It has been a little tougher to find new roles as I've gotten older. Prior to my last 18-month trip was the first time I formally quit my job for a bike trip. I left things as best I could and figured it would take a month or two to be back working at that company. I did end up rehired but it took six months instead of two. This meant living off savings for two years, but this was something I was prepared to do.

The overall summary would be a combination of being lucky along with a willingness to prioritize life choices in a way that enables me to take some longer tours every five years or so and reach a goal of cycling across six continents. I stumbled into this pattern with the first intra-company layoff but in hindsight am glad I did.
Is one of your companies Intel?
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Old 05-14-19, 07:50 PM
  #49  
fuji_owner
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Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
This is among, if not, the best thread I have ever read on Bike Forums. Thanks for starting it, Fuji Owner, and thanks to everyone who has contributed so far talking of their lives and cycle-touring. Wonderful.

And the irony of that thread originator's name is that my first real touring bike was a Fuji Touring which I still have, and it replaced another cheap bike that I rode from Perth in Western Australia to Adelaide in South Australia on my first ever real tour over 20 years ago and which was stolen when I finally reached home Tasmania. The Fuji has done more than 60,000km of touring, commuting and randonneuring.
Haha, you beat me to it. I was going to say the same thing... thanks to everyone for such great candid responses and suggestions! If anyone is interested in bike touring in western US or Canada for short trips, please feel free to PM me.
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Old 05-14-19, 07:57 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
The key secret to life...

If you don't spend the money, you don't have to make the money...

If you don't have to make the money, you have a lot more free time available to do the things you would much rather off be doing.

I'm single and I live by myself. Both of the past two years I have spent less than $4,000/per year. I don't have to make much money. I could drop that down under $3,000 a year if I wanted to without having to put up much of a fight. I figure I could live for $2-2,500/per full time traveling on the open road. Given everything I have stumbled into over the past few months, maybe quite a bit less than that even.

How to save money? Stop spending it on worthless crap that you don't need in the first place. Remember mankind use to live just fine before some idiot went out and flew a kite in the middle of an lightning storm. You don't NEED anything that runs off of electricity, you WANT it. To have it you also have all the bills that go with, gas, repairs, service contracts, replacement items, etc. You don't NEED any of it. Start keeping track of your expenses and see how much of your annual expenses is directly tied to electric goods/services. I gave up driving over 9 years ago and have watched my expenses tank by 50%+ as a result. I haven't had a TV at my house since before the 2008 Summer Olympics. I don't have internet access at my house. Generally during the summer months my electric bill is 3-4 kW a month. Between mid-May and mid-October last year I used 16 kW. All my electric consumption comes from winter heating, but thanks to a few new ideas that should tank like a rock this coming winter. I live in a 468 sq ft shack. I bought it both because of its size and its location. It's in a town with low property taxes thanks to many million dollar homes around town. I let the big home owner pay my property taxes for me. They want to build 10,000 sq ft log cabins, I won't complain, it just lowers my property tax bill. The small house limits my upkeep expense and it also limits my living in it expense..if I don't have the place to put the stuff I see in a store than I have no reason to buy it.

My single biggest expense each year is food, last year around $1700, with over 700 in junk food. The next biggest expense is property taxes at $900/year. Yeah, that means I spent only $1300 on all other expenses last year. I don't spend money

By not spending money I don't have to make a lot of money so I have tons of time available. I do odds and end jobs. I haven't had a real job in almost a decade now...I'm 46 years old and I don't live off the gov't...I just learn to do more with less.

I don't use panniers for bike travel, instead I go to the local dump and pick up kitty liter buckets for free and they become my panniers. Now I'm looking at a whole new concept that would mean me going back to using a trailer, a hammock trail...no need for trees or ski poles or anything else like that but I could still sleep in a hammock every night, even in the middle of concrete parking lot. Like I said sometimes you just have to learn to be creative.

I travel solo. No one else could tolerate my travel wisdom. I ride on the fly. I don't follow any kind of schedule. I decide from one day to the next where I am going to go and sometimes I change it up midday. No one could tolerate that kind of travel life so I ride solo.

Like others have said, start small and work bigger. Don't throw money at a problem. I gave up the car because I knew I didn't have the money to fix it or replace, so I just stopped driving and it has been the best thing I have did in my life. Yeah, I ride 30 miles roundtrip to the grocery store but it keeps me in shape and gives me an excuse to ride.

The only reason you can't go car free is because you don't want to, not because you can't. I knew of a guy that lived out in the Chicago area that use to ride 60 miles round trip to work each day and he did it all year long.

Again, if you don't have to spend the money then you don't have to make the money and you can have more time to do the things you would much rather off be doing. You say you still have to work though. Who says you have to work at the job you are currently working at...'Oh I love my job'. Ok go in tomorrow and tell your boss you are going to work for nothing from now on. You love the job so much that you will do it for free...do you really love the job or the things the job provides. Remember if you don't need the garbage in life than you don't need the job either.

Not to take this to a whole new extreme, but a while back I saw a link somewhere to guy over in England who went on the challenge to live for a year on nothing, no money at all. Look up the Moneyiless Manifesto(I believe that is the right name of the book he wrote). You can download it for free and watchsome interviews on youtube with him. Let that stir you imagination on how to make things happen.
Wow, thanks for this! You sound like a biker monk
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