Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

I Don't Know Where To Start

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

I Don't Know Where To Start

Old 07-01-21, 05:12 PM
  #26  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,704
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2135 Post(s)
Liked 536 Times in 457 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I have started typing this thread out several times over the past year or so and have always bailed because the topic became too big. Let me see if I can really strip it down to the basics and not be so short on detail as to make it worthless.

Let's dismiss gear. I have a bike and decent touring gear. I want to do a tour. A blended tour if you will, where I stay in hotels at least every other night and camp some along the way. I don't want to cook. I want to tour out West in some remote or semi-remote areas. I envision flying out or doing a one way rental car to the starting point. For my grand tour, I am thinking of making this last anywhere from 2-4 weeks. It will be my retirement gift to myself. I have done RAGBRAI FWIW and will do some shorter shakedown tours before I do the big one. I have read a touring book, but it didn't really help me fill in the blanks.

I feel certain people have done this, but when I start looking at a map and thinking about logistics, I start drawing blank. I'd need a town with some kind of lodging every other night. In that town I'd need to be able to find up to 2 days worth of food to carry with me until my next stop. It would need to be food with enough protein/nutrition/calories to fuel quite a bit of burn. So food is a question.

Some of the places I would like to go are arid climates with significant distances between town. Camel back, bottles in cages and some in the panniers? It's suck to be 40 miles out of Ely Nevada and run out of water on a 100 degree day. Help me think my way through hydration.

Obviously route planning is a huge part of any tour. I have done a good bit of reading and have yet to find anyone who has done a route on the hybrid camp/hotel theme. The Trans American trail looks like it may work, but I haven't found the right kind of reading on it yet.

This may seem odd. Down time is a concern in remote areas. It seems that 50 miles a day is a fairly normal touring day. At an average of 8 MPH, that's about 6 hours of riding. Add in 8 hours of sleep and that leaves 10 hours of down time. Now, I can be very happy roaming around on foot, taking photos and other such touristy things, but leaving the bike and gear unattended is a concern. I don't really get bored on the bike, but is boredom an issue the rest of the time?

Just some things on my mind. Help me sort this out if you don't mind.
as you plan to do some pre tours, this will be the best way for you to get a handle on what amount of food you need for a given time riding, out on the bike. Same goes for drinking, real world stuff in varying temps.
I've never toured in areas where I had to carry 2 days of food and water, so I personally would have to extrapolate from what I know , and would obviously err on taking a bit more than I t hink I need.

re being bored. You know, it always amazes me how on top of actual riding time, stopping to take photos, buy a snack, eat, whatever, a wrong turn here or there--- all adds up, and anyway, you get to the campground / motel / middle of nowhere or whatever, you have to set up your tent, take a shower (or not) and wash your riding clothes and hang up to dry, or at least clean your feet and underbits well, and then its time to get supper prepared cuz you're hungry...so that takes time, then you need to maybe wash up stuff, organize all your crap in the tent so that you dont waste time in the morning, brush your teeth, maybe clean your chain........all this is to say that time flies by, and really truly, I never have time to be bored.

or if I do have time, hell, its nice to just sit and relax and take a load off your arse and feet and just look at the world.
oh, and getting to sleep early is underappreciated--getting a good nights sleep of 8, 9 hours is fantastic for your body to recover, and in my experience, essential to keeping strong day after day after day.
Crucial to how well you feel the next day, and to avoid getting run down on a long trip, which can lead to getting sick, which will make you feel more run down....you get it, you gotta take care of the old bod, especially as a fellow old geezer.
djb is offline  
Old 07-01-21, 07:23 PM
  #27  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,897

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1560 Post(s)
Liked 839 Times in 430 Posts
Originally Posted by djb View Post
as you plan to do some pre tours, this will be the best way for you to get a handle on what amount of food you need for a given time riding, out on the bike. Same goes for drinking, real world stuff in varying temps.
I've never toured in areas where I had to carry 2 days of food and water, so I personally would have to extrapolate from what I know , and would obviously err on taking a bit more than I t hink I need.

re being bored. You know, it always amazes me how on top of actual riding time, stopping to take photos, buy a snack, eat, whatever, a wrong turn here or there--- all adds up, and anyway, you get to the campground / motel / middle of nowhere or whatever, you have to set up your tent, take a shower (or not) and wash your riding clothes and hang up to dry, or at least clean your feet and underbits well, and then its time to get supper prepared cuz you're hungry...so that takes time, then you need to maybe wash up stuff, organize all your crap in the tent so that you dont waste time in the morning, brush your teeth, maybe clean your chain........all this is to say that time flies by, and really truly, I never have time to be bored.

or if I do have time, hell, its nice to just sit and relax and take a load off your arse and feet and just look at the world.
oh, and getting to sleep early is underappreciated--getting a good nights sleep of 8, 9 hours is fantastic for your body to recover, and in my experience, essential to keeping strong day after day after day.
Crucial to how well you feel the next day, and to avoid getting run down on a long trip, which can lead to getting sick, which will make you feel more run down....you get it, you gotta take care of the old bod, especially as a fellow old geezer.

Thanks for your thoughts. Especially those about boredom. That makes sense to me.
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 07-01-21, 07:27 PM
  #28  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,897

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1560 Post(s)
Liked 839 Times in 430 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
This is pretty far off topic, but I thought I should mention it. If you are planning to do this solo, that means if your bike has a mechanical, you are most likely on your own. But if you are traveling with someone else, someone can go get parts or tools, or whatever. But, if I understand this right, you are planning for this trip to be solo.

I do not recall if you built up your bike yourself or had a bike shop build it for you. If you did not build it up, you might need to look for some sources of good info on fixing stuff. I think the Park Tools videos on youtube are excellent. But that only works where you have a cell signal. And it only works if you have the tools you need.

Have you given much thought to a list of tools and spares to bring? And do you have the knowledge on how to use them?

***



Sorry, but I could not pass up the opportunity, ... ...




Only disadvantage is that it does not store well, need to consume right away.

I built the bike from the frame up. I feel confident that I can handle any mechanical issues. I have a good idea of what tools to take. On the gear/equipment side of things, I feel pretty good.
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 07-01-21, 07:30 PM
  #29  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,897

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1560 Post(s)
Liked 839 Times in 430 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Everyone is different, but I have never planned day to day stops. I typically don't know where I will stop until I am there. I do look ahead a few days because there are places where the spacing of services will dictate a schedule or at least limit choices. Often there is a need to choose between two stops one longer and one shorter that you want in order to wind up in the right place two days down the road.

I do plan endlessly when it comes to my gear list, but never day to day stops. I like to be able to ride a long or a short day on a whim and stop in a place that strikes my fancy or push on if it doesn't. I usually have a semi flexible route plan. That is often an ACA route with the possibility of departing from it here and there.
One of the issues with the way I want to do it is that if I want to have motels to stay in, I'll probably have to make reservations in the smaller towns. Some of the towns I have researched only have one "inn."
Paul Barnard is offline  
Old 07-01-21, 07:46 PM
  #30  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,486

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2352 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 593 Times in 488 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
I built the bike from the frame up. I feel confident that I can handle any mechanical issues. I have a good idea of what tools to take. On the gear/equipment side of things, I feel pretty good.
Great.

I have occasionally done some work on other bikers bikes in campsites, thus have seen how things often go wrong at bad times. So, I thought I should mention it.

If you bring a cassette lock ring tool but do not want to carry the weight of a chain whip, I started this thread several years ago describing an alternative.
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/8...l#post13982584
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 07-02-21, 05:17 AM
  #31  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 10,216
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 592 Post(s)
Liked 194 Times in 155 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
One of the issues with the way I want to do it is that if I want to have motels to stay in, I'll probably have to make reservations in the smaller towns. Some of the towns I have researched only have one "inn."
Yeah I can see that, but are small town motels actually booked very far ahead other than just a few in places or could you maintain a fairly flexible schedule and book only a few days ahead where required?

I don't know the answer for your tour, but I have generally been able to find a room when I wanted one on my tours. That was only once in a while for me so I am not a good test and there are places that are certainly booked solid during tourist season.

It would help a great deal if your schedule put you in the places like Yellowstone at a time when you'd need rooms on sunday-wednesday nights when the demand was lower rather than thursday-saturday nights. Also I'd think it gets better after labor day.

Additionally since you are doing a mix of camping and moteling, missing a room one night here or there because of no vacancies would be less of a disaster.

I guess it boils down to how comfortable you are winging it as you go. I'd be inclined to start out with no reservations or only ones a day or two ahead and adjust how far ahead to make them based on what the reality on the road was. If you are more of a planner who likes things nailed down and either likes or at least doesn't mind having a fixed schedule then booking everything may be better for you. It would kind of spoil the trip for me.

Whichever way you go have a great trip.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Likes For staehpj1:
Old 07-02-21, 05:50 AM
  #32  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 867
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Liked 406 Times in 251 Posts
Leaving Astoria in early May? Bring lots of down and a snow shovel. The passes should be fine by early June. I rarely carry much extra food and with the Trans Am route, there are plenty of food spots although there are three stretches where you have to be careful. WRT water, just bring a Sawyer Squeeze attached to a 2L Evernew bladder and 2 water bottles. There is water everywhere pretty much. Food? Just stop and buy what is available. I rarely carry a stove anymore when bike touring or backpacking.

Planning day to day? You will throw that out the window within the first week. Motels are not hard to find during the week but more challenging on weekends or during salmon run time.

I think a tour is more fun when you don't plan. Some of my best ones were when I just went from village to village and stopped whenever I wanted.

The ACA electronic maps to load on your Garmin have every single piece of information you could want.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Likes For GhostRider62:
Old 07-02-21, 06:06 AM
  #33  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 31,069
Mentioned: 199 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13763 Post(s)
Liked 6,700 Times in 3,379 Posts
Originally Posted by Paul Barnard View Post
Some of the towns I have researched only have one "inn."
Don't always expect someone to answer on the first try. Some are owned by people who have "day jobs" and other things going on in their lives. The funniest incident I experienced was on the TA in Wisdom, MT. We decided to get a room in the small motel in town to escape the mosquitoes. When we got to the place there was a note on the office door saying the the owners were at a family function in other town and would be back later that night. There were room keys in separate envelopes taped to the front door. The note invited you to pick a room and "settle up" when the owners returned.
indyfabz is online now  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 07-02-21, 07:27 AM
  #34  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 11,704
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2135 Post(s)
Liked 536 Times in 457 Posts
A few more thoughts.
- having built up your bike is a big advatage, you have mechanical skills, but more importantly, you have the ability to know if all is well with your bike, and to recognize any slight problems before it gets to the broken down stage.
example, on a 6 week trip, on a rest day, doing my bike clean, oil chain, inspection routine, I noticed the front hub cones had some play in them. (First for me on a trip) so being in a large town I found a bike store and the owner whipped out his cone wrenches and put it right.
Someone who never works on hubs would never have noticed.
Another time I met a guy who had been hit by a car a bunch of days earlier, and upon checking over his bike, was riding with a front hub with a bent axle, super hard to turn it. He was oblivious to this and noticed it was hard to get going but once going thought it "was fine"
so yes, first hand knowledge is useful

-second thought. Years back some friends did a hotel trip and for various reasons they booked every
night (week long trip ish) but then bad weather either put them off schedule or they had to hump their keesters to keep on schedule, I don't recall, it was many years ago. All I recall is initially saying that it didn't seem to me to be a good idea to do that, but they were nervous about not getting a place and wanted the reassurance of it all before.
IMO not the way to do a trip and could easily work against you if you have this type of personality bicycle traveling.
djb is offline  
Likes For djb:
Old 07-02-21, 09:52 AM
  #35  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,486

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2352 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 593 Times in 488 Posts
Regarding how far to go each day and how far in advance to plan, all I can say is what I do.

Camping, some people do a lot of wild camping or searching for places where they might ask if they can camp for the night. I do not do that, I always strive to camp at a real campground. That said, you will be riding through long distances in a rural part of USA that might not have many conveniently located campgrounds, so you might find that you need to do some wild camping.

I almost never make campsite reservations in advance, but if I am staying indoors somewhere I almost always do make reservations in advance. That said, if I was on a bike tour and planned to camp on memorial day weekend or labor day weekend, I would probably want to make reservations. My last bike tour, I was at a Canadian Provincial Park campground with about 80 campsites, I heard one of the staff say they only had two empty sites, things can get crowded at times.

Each day I look at the next several days worth of distance and try to see if there is a stretch where I will have to go a long way on one day, because if there is then I try to make sure I am at an appropriate spot on the morning of that long day. But if not, then each day I am inclined to decide in the evening how far I want to go the next day, part of that is based on campsite locations and part based on wind forecasts.

The vast majority of the time when I set a target like that, I hold to that target that day. But there are days with a strong tailwind that I hate to waste, so I might get to my destination and then reassess and decide to push on for another 10 or 20 miles. And there are those occasional days that I just can't make headway into the wind so I throw in the towel early. I recall one day when the wind was so strong that I could not get up a hill, it was not that steep but pedaling into gale force winds with gusts from the side that tried to blow me off the road, I quit early that day and made camp at 10:30am. Next day, it took me less than five minutes to get up that hill.

I usually try to be on the road between 7 and 7:30am, but often actually get rolling closer to 8am. I prefer cool weather over hot, and an early start is usually cooler with less wind. And that early, most of the traffic are drivers that drive that road every day so they will notice anything unusual, like a biker with a flashing taillight. And that early, there are fewer drivers too. The exception is in an area with a lot of agriculture that is labor intensive, like fruit or vegetable picking, then that time of morning might have a lot of traffic.

You will figure out what works for you. There is no single answer and a lot of this is personal preference. I often am rolling out of a campsite before I have seen any movement in other sites, so I am not sure what the norm is for most other people doing bike touring.

If you plan to stay indoors two or three or four nights a week, you may need to have really good cell service.

A backup contingency for cell service is really nice to have, such as a voice over internet way to make a phone call on your phone when you have wifi. You can usually get wifi at community libraries and often at restaurants. I have a Google Voice account and a phone number attached to that account. I can make a phone call anywhere I have wifi, even if I have no cell service. I can only be called on that Google number when my phone is turned on and wifi is also turned on, which is pretty close to never, so I just assume I can make calls but can't be called. Google Voice will store voice mail messages and send me an e-mail with any voice recording that I can listen to later when I have wifi. I have made reservations to stay indoors where I had wifi but no cell service that way. And my foreign trips, I have not gotten local sim cards in the past and my cell plan does not have an international option. So, when traveling international, Google Voice is my only option to make a call. I called one of my credit card companies from Budapest and another credit card company from Reykjavik when my cards stopped working by using Google Voice. I think it is a contingency that every traveler should have.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 07-04-21, 11:12 AM
  #36  
headwind15
Bikeable
 
headwind15's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 216
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 113 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 61 Times in 42 Posts
The best piece of advise I can offer is: KEEP YOUR FIRST TOUR POSITIVE. I will never forget my first tour (in A good way) Hitchiking down to San Diego at the end of June. Spending the first 4-5 days at the beach either swimming or joining other people for volleyball games. Showers at the beach and then finding an empty lot to camp in, and then doing the same routine until I finally started touring back up to the bay area. Come up with a formula that seriously appeals to you.
headwind15 is offline  
Likes For headwind15:
Old 07-04-21, 05:40 PM
  #37  
101stairborne
Senior Member
 
101stairborne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Fishers, Indiana
Posts: 55

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad; Lynkey Cooper CX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 8 Posts
If you wait for all the lights to turn green you are never going to get to town.
101stairborne is offline  
Old 07-06-21, 06:44 AM
  #38  
andrewclaus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO
Posts: 2,197

Bikes: 2016 Fuji Tread

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 472 Post(s)
Liked 226 Times in 166 Posts
Originally Posted by 101stairborne View Post
If you wait for all the lights to turn green you are never going to get to town.
I'm going to use this. Good saying. I don't know how many times, on my long trips, I've run into people who say they'd take a long trip if they only had the time. My reply is you'll never have months of open time--you have to make it and that takes work. I can't imagine a life where there's nothing to do for the next two or three months--that would be horrible.

Another group of people say they'll do it "someday." To them I list the days of the week, and say, "There is no Someday."
andrewclaus is offline  
Likes For andrewclaus:
Old 07-06-21, 07:48 AM
  #39  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 8,486

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1966 Perfekt 3 Speed AB Hub, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad MkII, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 38 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2352 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 593 Times in 488 Posts
Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
... I don't know how many times, on my long trips, I've run into people who say they'd take a long trip if they only had the time. My reply is you'll never have months of open time--you have to make it and that takes work. ...
My longest bike trip before I retired was six days, which included two days of driving, most of my canoe trips and kayak trips were roughly a week long too. It was not until I retired that I could take longer trips. Thus, I certainly understand those that can't take long trips.

That said, short trips teach the skills and mindset you need for longer trips. So, do the short trips, even if you do not have much time. And you can get a lot of experience from ACA group trips too, you don't get the route planning experience from those but you do gain other pertinent experiences.
Tourist in MSN is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.