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Your First Tour

Old 06-18-22, 10:00 PM
  #1  
garryg
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Your First Tour

How about stories of your first tour.

Mine was from Montreal to Saranac Lake New York.The year would have been 1970. I was thirteen years old and my brother was 15. Can you imagine our parents let us do that trip and gave us a note to show at the border into the USA. Different times.Things i remember. Crying because it was so hard and getting chased by dogs. Same as my tour last year!
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Old 06-19-22, 04:06 AM
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debade
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Mine was 1975 from E Lansing MI to Toronto. It was with my girlfriend who became my wife not long after. We did have a customs search when returning to the States.

For the next 20 years we did not bike tour much. We did some backpacking trips. Since 1995, we have enjoyed a bike tour each year. Some backpacking events as well, Fortunately still healthy enough to continue the streak. Heading back to Canada on a self contained credit card tour later this summer.
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Old 06-19-22, 07:47 AM
  #3  
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'76 for me, a year out of high school, a buddy and I cycled 1000 miles around Lake Michigan from Chicago. I had to borrow a ten speed, a yellow Schwinn Continental. I'd never heard the words "pannier," "chamois," or "Shimano." We left with $40 each and came home with change. We camped on the lakeshore every night. A couple times fishermen gave us some of their catch that we'd cook over a wood fire. A nice old lady bought us a diner meal in the UP. Great memories--thanks.
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Old 06-19-22, 10:22 AM
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Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME, then to Philly and on to Ocean City, NJ, as part of a charity ride I used to do every year. Despite hanging at home for a few days before that ride I still carried all my gear even though I didnít have to and wasnít going to use it. (The ride provided luggage transport and I had a room for the night. Someone drove my gear back the second day of the event.)

The first day of the trip was only the second time I had ever ridden a fully loaded bike. I had taken a 62 mile day ride the week before I hopped the train to Seattle. Interestingly, I was almost injured during that ride when some young kid hit a telephone pole with his car and flipped it on its roof about 75í behind me. I and a driver stopped to render aid. The kid was alright but was trapped upside down in the car, which started filling with smoke. We used a Club (remember those?) to punch a hole in a window for ventilation. The first night was the first time I had ever camped.

The portion from Seattle to Bar Harbor was with ACA. Twelve other people. The rest was solo.

Nothing like jumping into the deep end.
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Old 06-19-22, 11:06 AM
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Horrible seat. Overloaded bike. Sunburn. Sore legs. Sore butt. Great time. Great memories.
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Old 06-19-22, 11:20 AM
  #6  
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2019 - my wife and I "toured" Grand Manan, NB for a few days on our fatbikes with an excursion over to White Head Island... we didn't bring any food over to White Head as we figured we'd buy something there. Nope. Not even a coffee shop. lol It was a long wait for the ferry back to Grand Manan.

Not a very long tour but considering my wife's physical health issues it was the max we could do. I wasn't sure she'd make it up all the hills but she did... except the one driveway into a diner/convenience store that was at least 13%.

We were supposed to have done the Magdellan Islands by now but... lockdowns.

Maybe next year if she can still ride...

I'm still planning my cross-Canada ride I had to abort the other year due to a back injury.
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Old 06-19-22, 03:05 PM
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Europe - 1998. 9 countries, 6 months. Was supposed to be a full year, but I quit due to El Nino (4 mths of nearly daily rain - which were some of my stories) and not meeting as many tourers as I thought I would. Lots of stories to tell, tho many many have been forgotten over time and/or replaced with stories from newer tours and now living on my bike.
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Old 06-19-22, 04:38 PM
  #8  
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My first overnight tour was with a Potomac Area Council AYH group in 1966 from DC to a youth hostel at Seneca MD along the C&O canal. First looong tour with a high school buddy was from VA > Land o' Lakes WI in 1968. I was invited to join two other high school friends in 1972 on a trip VA > Alaska but I already had a summer job.


Day 1, VA > WI, 1968
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Old 06-19-22, 06:40 PM
  #9  
mev
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I wrote up a brief synopsis as an introduction to my bike touring book - copied it below...

Fully working brakes can't be that important. After the brakes slow you down enough, then you put your feed down to reach a complete stop. It was with this logic that I set off on my first overnigth bicycle trip at age 19.

The plan was simple: follow the Claire Saltonstall Bikeway from Brookline, a suburb of Boston, to the tip of Cape Cod. The bikeway was 135 miles in a combination of bike paths and secondary roads that connected Boston with Provincetown (P-town). From P-town there was an afternoon ferry that returned to Boston. We took our tents with a plan to ride at least half the distance Saturday and the rest on Sunday. I had organized the ride for half a dozen college friends, though this was my first overnight bike trip.

Fewer than ten miles into the trip, disaster struck. Our route crossed a park, went down a small hill and then around a bend. My bicycle had gone down the hill, but I was going too fast and missed the bend. I rode off the edge of the path and then my bicycle stopped. I went flying over the handlebars did a full summersault, landing flat on my back. My day pack took the brunt of the impact. However, on my lower right side below the pack, a rock stuck into my side and scraped my back.

A reasonable, sensible thing to do would have been to turn back and take care of the injury. However, I was 19, male and invincible. Besides I was the leader. So my friends found a nearby drugstore and purchased some large bandages. We taped up the wound and continued on our trip.

That afternoon it was hot, and it hurt as I sweat into the wound. I had a lack of energy until we found a spot to buy a banana for some fuel. What really perked me up, though, was seeing the first sign of Sagamore Bridge in the distance. The Sagamore crossed the Cape Cod Canal and was a sign that we had arrived at the Cape. Hooray!

Not much further, in Barnstable Massachusetts, we found a church that let us camp on their front lawn, "as long as we were packed up in time for Sunday services." This was not a problem, as we planned to get on the road early to finish riding to P-town. No rain was forecast, so we could lay out the ground sheets without tents. It still hurt, however, when my friends carefully changed the dressing on my wound.

Next morning, we had a beautiful ride through the Cape on sections of bike path as well as smaller roads. We arrived in P-town with time to spare and mingled with different crowds, looking at shops but also resting from our ride.

After a ferry ride to Boston, I felt triumphant cycling through downtown Boston to Brookline on Sunday afternoon. We had made it and completed the trip! Even with the fall, I had finished the ride.

Last edited by mev; 06-19-22 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 06-20-22, 01:24 AM
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My Lands End to John O'Groats was supported so my only proper 'everything carried on the bike' tour was from Port Talbot (South Wales) to Middlesbrough (North East of England) - 320 miles in three days. Very enjoyable.
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Old 06-23-22, 10:47 AM
  #11  
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I’m not sure if I’d call my planned ride a tour. It planned to start from Trout Lake, Washington to Madras, Oregon; and then riding approximately 4,000” up to Government Camp at the base of MT Hood; and descending more than 4,000 feet into Portland. It was early March in the early 70s, and I considered this more of a training ride than a tour. I was not sure of the exact distance, It turned out to be 257 miles (all mileages were just figured using Google Maps), but thought I could do it in 2 or 3 days. I had never heard the term “credit card tour”, but I planned on using motels. I did not know anything about bike touring.

The morning start was sunny, but cold. The first day I made it 87 miles to the small town of Maupin, OR where I spent the night. I was still thinking that I might be able to complete the remaining distance,170 miles, to Portland the next day.

The second day was again sunny but cold. I covered the 113 miles to Government Camp, arriving a little after 4:00, just as the ski areas were closing down. The climbing slowed me down, and pretty much eliminated any thoughts of getting to Portland that day. The road was jammed with skiers going home, it was getting dark, and the sides of the road were 10’ vertical walls of snow groomed by the rotary snowplows. There was also some snowmelt during the day, which could freeze on the wet roads as the sun set. As it turned out I did not realize it was still over 50 miles into Portland.

I really did not want to ride the remaining distance, 57 miles, into Portland in the dark, even though it was mostly a downhill ride. I started to look at lodging options, and could not find a room anywhere. So I did the next best thing, and called my wife who was at her folk’s place in Portland. Her uncle was there, and overheard her part of the conversation. He offered to pick me up, only there would be one condition: he would drive up there in his motor home, we would spend the night, and we would ski the next day. How could a guy refuse!

The ride did, however, hook me into real touring.

Last edited by Doug64; 06-23-22 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 06-23-22, 12:26 PM
  #12  
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I don't remember my first tour even though it was not a long time ago. I really started touring no later than 10 years ago or so. I was able to find a photo from 2016 on a bikepacking trip to Katahdin Woods and Waters corridor before it was designated as such.

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Old 06-24-22, 10:32 AM
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First "tour" was just a day trip to the town on the other side of the Oquirrh Mountains, Tooele, Utah from West Valley, Utah. Probably the summer of 1989. This was the summer before my senior year in high school. My pal Mike and I had bought sweet new mountain bikes and decided it would be a good idea to ride through Magna, the town that supported the Kennecott Copper open pit mine, around the point of the mountain alongside the Great Salt Lake, and into Tooele. We didn't plan a route, and eventually discovered that the only way through was along I-80, an unnerving proposition. All went well, however, and our arrival in Tooele, surprisingly, went unheralded by the local citizenry. Some of my most vivid memories of the day include riding bare chested along the interstate on the way home, and stopping on the way home for a nap on a church lawn in Magna. I'll also never forget the searing sunburns Mike and I suffered on our previously lily-white bare backs. He got it worse than me, though, with his whole back blistering and weeping and peeling for days. I only got the sunburn but no blisters. I recall his sister (whom I kind of had a crush on) peeling sheets of dead skin off our backs....
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Old 07-02-22, 09:26 PM
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Florence Oregon to Eastport Maine. 3800 mi
1988. Was about 19 y/o.
With 2 other guys.
I was new to touring. Didnt even do a fully loaded shakedown ride.
The people in Eastport gave us a lobster dinner on the house and Bangor Daily did an article on us.
95 mi per day. If it were up to me we'd have slowed the pace down and looked around more, but we compromise.

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Old 07-03-22, 04:29 AM
  #15  
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My first tour some 40 years ago was a total cluster by modern GPS, Internet, heatmaps, and packaged route standards.

I flew my fit relatively young body with gear to London on Peoples Express (was it really $49 OW?) sans velo.

I wanted a Claude Butler. I really did not have enough money and the shop in London convinced me the Dawes Super Galaxy was almost as good. Front and rear panniers, handlebar bag, tent and sleeping bag on the rear rack and off I went to the Southwest towards some old Cathedral and then a pile of rocks in the field left by UFOs or so they say. The Welch rain was cold in April but the mountainous terrain was nice. Snowdon mountain is pretty high. I wore a helmet and local cyclists made fun of me at pubs, hostels, on the road, and pretty much everywhere. One fellow smartly asked why I forgot my coat of arms and how often do I come off to which I replied often. There were not a lot of camping grounds. I slept wild here and there and got wet and cold. Pubs were warm. I do recall a postman buying me some stouts. We had four. I learned that then that a glass of british beer is 20 oz unlike our 12 oz beer and that it was not 3.2% alcohol. Fortunately, it was a short walk to the Youth Hostel.

I set my sights on the tip of Scotland. But snow got into my brain. I remember spending the night in a train station waiting for a train to take me somewhere warm and holligans were having at it with me. They were not getting my money or bike. The station master observed and called me into his overlord type office to sleep the night with my bike. I can remember the warmth of his office to this day. I get to Dover, take the ferry, and decide to just follow the coast of France thru Normandy and then Brittany down to Bordeaux. It brings tears to my eyes thinking of the older french people who thanked me for saving them from the Nazis and especially seeing the white crosses (and stars) at st laurent cemetery. Standing at the top of Point du Hoc, I could not imagine what that day would have been like. I stayed there longer than planned and was starving with yesterday's tailwind now a headwind arriving at a roadside routier or truckers restaurant a touch after 2 pm and as anyone knows, you ain't getting lunch at 2 pm in France, this is the culinary noman's land. Meekly, I walked into the kitchen where a seemingly elderly lady (she was probably 50 or 60) was cleaning up, I asked her in french if I could eat something. American? Yes. A velo? Yes. She waves me to the dining room. I sat waiting and waiting. She brings a huge steaming plate of lamb chops, puree, and asparagus. A huge basket of bread and says, "Red or white". She brings a full pichet of red for me and white for her. She tells me of the war and how it was like when they were saved when she was a little girl. An amazing account. She asked if any of my family served. My uncle lost his leg in the Battle of the Bulge and supposedly was at D-Day but I only know for sure he lost his leg by a bullet. She would not let me pay. I begged her. She hugged me. Just crazy.

I got robbed, met a girl, drank First Growth, had interesting encounters, and finished my counter clockwise tour of France. Came back many times.
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Old 07-03-22, 07:44 AM
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During the winter of 1975-76 my good friend Pete and I planned a trip along the east coast of Lake Michigan. In 1976 we did it. I've been a tourist since then. Pete got lost in life and has not ridden since, but still has the bike. I suppose it holds a few fond memories for him.
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Old 07-04-22, 11:03 AM
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My fist tour was in 2016. Four months before my 50th birthday. I rode solo from Sebastopol, CA (north of the Bay area), down the Central Valley, up over Yosemite, Tioga Pass, down to Lee Vining, south on the 395, across Death Valley, Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, St George UT, Zion NP and finished at the north rim on the grand canyon. I like in rural New England, so it was like begin on another planet. Especially Death Valley. It was Sept/Oct and still over 100 degrees. I loved every second of it!

I've done two similar-length tours since, including returning to Death Valley in 100+ degree heat to ride down the basin and through the Mojave to Joshua Tree before turning eat to Flagstaff.

Here I am at Zabriskie Point on October 2nd, 2016:

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Old 07-22-22, 12:43 PM
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I did a two week, 800-mile tour around Lake Michigan when I was 18. I started from my home in Milwaukee, WI, rode clockwise around the Lake, and ended in Muskegon, MI where I caught the ferry back across the Lake. Bought the bike from a neighbor and took off a few weeks later. Planned the trip with a friend but ended up riding it solo after they got a good paying summer job. Sadly, the 30 year old bottom bracket only made it part of the way, seizing up somewhere near Traverse City, MI. Before then, I didn't even know what a bottom bracket was. A local mechanic stayed late after work to wrench on my bike and get me back on the road the next day. Bless him. The whole endeavor was one of the most rich and vivid experiences of my young life. Bike touring still does that for me.
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Old 07-26-22, 09:17 AM
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I was pretty late to the party but got it done. In 2019, at 67 yrs old, I took my first tour. I'd become interested in the GAP and, as I told my wife, "I'm not getting any younger" and no way to tell what the future brings (Oooof, did it bring a lot). So I planned and trained and packed and repacked and drove to Cumberland, MD. Four n a half days later I'd rolled 300 miles under the tires and had a great time. See Voyageur's Journey. This photo is what "the mule" looked like this morning. Heavy but solid and hauled me and my self supported stuff without breaking a sweat. Quite a start to this touring thing.


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Old 07-27-22, 03:51 AM
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Tony Marley
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Summer 1971 with a friend from high school. We rode from San Bernardino, California down past Disneyland to Newport Beach, and then down to La Jolla after that. Ten days roundtrip. We spent one night in a hippie commune, and one miserable night on a bench in a public park. Great fun.
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Old 07-27-22, 08:49 PM
  #21  
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My first tour was with a buddy of mine when we were about 13. I was an overnighter of 32 miles total and it wiped us out.. I vowed never again. Well 53 years later I tried it again.
I started biking again about 10 years ago when I got into mountain biking. I liked mountain biking but it is brutal the way I like it. about 5 years ago I built an electric bike and suddenly fell in love with the idea of biking for fun. The e bike suddenly took on new meaning as a means of going great distances. Being a top level engineer and capable of building anything I wanted, I set out to build a long-range e bike for the purpose of touring. That was four years ago. I just needed to solve two pressing problems. One was a saddle that I could ride for that long. I zeroed in on the Infinity saddle and that solve that issue. The other issue was I liked off road touring and that is what I built the bike to do but I could not get past using colorful adjectives to describe the various camping gear items. It's difficult to motivate oneself when you use PC incorrect cuss words in front of various needed items. I needed to get beyond that and have a more favorable adventurous attitude to be able to bikepack. I am excited this year to not have a bad attitude about the gear and therefore decided to invest some money in decent gear.

I started touring in the spring of last year and did four tours last year. I picked up a riding companion that makes it so much nicer to tour. I now have a four-pound toy poodle that loves to ride everywhere with me and is fantastic company.
This year I have toured one long weekend because of health issues. Those issues are behind me for another couple months so it's time to pick a place to go for a week. Really comfortable for me is 80 miles a day. doable for express touring is 120 miles a day and maxed out is 150+ miles.
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Old 08-02-22, 07:07 PM
  #22  
ThisJustIn
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That's awesome.

I haven't done a tour yet, but I'm thinking my first one will be Ottawa to Montreal. I believe it was the "Petit-du-Nord" trail that I was recommended to use.

Any suggestions?
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Old 08-02-22, 07:11 PM
  #23  
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Good for you, sir - one less regret. Also, nice bicycle; i'm loving the burgundy colour.
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Old 08-03-22, 05:45 AM
  #24  
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I've only toured twice, but apparently I am the bringer of storms.

Ohio To Erie '21 - I had a busted spoke 20 miles in on day 1 which sidetracked us for an hour while we found a mobile mechanic who could meet us (all bike shops were closed in the area on that Sunday). 45 miles after that, still on the first day, I had the world's loudest blowout and couldn't hear out of my right ear for two days after. I was ready to give up. I adjusted my attitude and we pressed on. On day 3 we got caught in a wall of water that just didn't seem to end. After realizing that rain gear only works in light rain, and not while basically being waterboarded, we just decided to ride in it. Ended up being kinda fun! This is what the radar looked like at the end...






GAP '22 - we had heard rumors of a fast-approaching storm that was 25 minutes out. We were in Frostburg, about 2.5 miles from a tunnel, and my dumb ass decided our group could make it. Uhhhhh...NOPE! Another big wall of water, temperature drop from 80 to 55 immediately, gale force winds, HAIL, they even blew the tornado sirens. We found 5% refuge under what I hoped was a very sturdy tree until the worst of it passed, then rode (in the rain) to Borden Tunnel where we waited for another hour and a half...no radar pics of this one since we had no service in that stretch of the GAP.
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Old 08-04-22, 09:36 AM
  #25  
ThisJustIn
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Hi.

The sky blue bike on the right, what are those red-lined pouches on the handlebars? Are those to keep your hands warm? If so, ingenious! I didn't realise there is such a thing. This now makes winter time fat-biking appealing.

Cool photo, btw
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