Author Topic: Long distance trip alone?  (Read 10327 times)

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Offline mikefm58

Long distance trip alone?
« on: January 25, 2012, 10:54:54 pm »
I'm considering a long distance trip this summer, biking from Orlando to upstate NY.  I don't have any riding partners so I'd be taking this alone.  Am I crazy and stupid?  LOL, but seriously I'd like to here from anyone else who has done a cycling trip alone and hear their experiences and words of wisdom.

Offline misterflask

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 11:56:56 pm »
If you're considering it, you probably have the temperament for it.  I've ridden 350, 700, 800, and 1400 mile rides by myself and am planning a TA trip for this year.  Never seemed overly lonely; you just stop and talk to people when it suits.  If you feel like cranking out a long day, or loafing, there's no need to submit it to a committee. 
My wife (she doesn't ride) insists she is not going to be one of those wives whose husband disappears from the face of the earth, so I carry a SPOT satellite locator (see link below).  She'll at least know where to look if something drastic happens.  I haven't followed through on it yet, but I've meant to carry some sort of ID and contact info on my person in case there was an incapacitating accident of some sort.  I've worked in an ER, and I'd say it is unlikely that ID in your bags would find its way to the ER with you.
But that's all a downer:  Have fun with it.  Riding up from Orlando through GA you'll be picking up some conditioning by the time you need it.

bcs

link to SPOT locator site: http://www.findmespot.com/en/
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 12:00:39 am by misterflask »

Offline staehpj1

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2012, 06:51:28 am »
Nothing wrong with touring alone.  I have done a few tours alone and it is not a problem.

I will say that I personally prefer to do routes where I meet other touring cyclists.  On a couple tours I met either one or no other touring cyclists and missed meeting, comparing notes with, and hanging out in camp with other tourists.  That makes me more partial to routes like the TA or the Pacific Coast.  Just something to consider if your route choice is flexible.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2012, 07:48:32 am »
Crossed the country with a small group. The following year I did seven weeks solo in southern Spain and seven weeks solo in the U.S.  I'm not crazy or stupid. I much prefer it to traveling with people who I didn't know when the trip started. I also like the flexibility. You don't have to consider anyone else's want or need but your own.

I think you need to comfortable being by yourself.  Some people feel the need for constant/more frequent social interaction.  If you do, you might not like it.

Joe B

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Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2012, 09:40:32 am »
... I've meant to carry some sort of ID and contact info on my person in case there was an incapacitating accident of some sort.  I've worked in an ER, and I'd say it is unlikely that ID in your bags would find its way to the ER with you...

I decided that the easiest thing to do was get a RoadID bracelet, I don't really like wearing it but I know it could be important should something happen.


That being said, I have done long tours ( up to 6 months) and never had a serious injury or incident, and I don't expect to. However I don't bounce the way I did when I was 25 and sand, wet paint, metal covers and grates have gotten sneakier over the years i think.

Bottom line: Take some simple pre trip precautions , then forget about it and have fun.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 10:46:21 am »
If you have a life-long friend, then touring together is probably good. But I would not want tour with someone I didn't know well. Such a partnership is unlikely to last very long.

Touring for me is about freedom. Freedom to decide where to go, how far to go, how fast to go, when to linger, when to call it a day, what to eat, where to sleep and when to get up. Touring alone preserves that freedom. There's a lot to say for it. If you don't want to make these decisions, then having a touring partner would probably be fine.

Also keep in mind that we are never alone. There are people everywhere. And 99% of those people are kind, friendly, eager to engage and helpful.

Offline DaveB

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 11:08:04 am »
I haven't followed through on it yet, but I've meant to carry some sort of ID and contact info on my person in case there was an incapacitating accident of some sort.  I've worked in an ER, and I'd say it is unlikely that ID in your bags would find its way to the ER with you.
Absolutely have some ID on your person as anything on the bike is likely to be separated from you.  I've got a "dog tag" like the Road ID version shown above but it's on a metal bead chain around my neck and I never ride anywhere without it.   The benefit of the metal chain is that it's not going to get cut and lost if the EMS people have to cut off your shirt or jersey after an accident. 

Road ID is the best known supplier but are pricy and only offer wrist bands.  Do a Google search for "dog tags" and you will find numerous lower cost providers.  Get one.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 01:02:46 pm »
I've toured alone.  And liked it.  3 months in Europe.  Few weeks here and there in the USA and Europe.  On some of the trips I met other bicyclists on the road and enjoyed riding with them for a few days.  Even visited them at home later in the trip.  Other people to visit I met at hostels.  Its enjoyable riding with people.  But its also as fun to ride alone.  Having to accomodate yourself to other people can be somewhat irritating on a trip.

Offline gypsysue

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2012, 01:08:35 pm »
I've done two rides alone, one was 633 miles and the other was 1105 miles.  The only time I didn't like it was a few nights when I had to stealth camp.  Being alone made that scary.  The rest of the time?  It was great.  Like someone else said, you can talk to people wherever you stop, and in fact it can be hard to avoid.  People like to talk to bicyclists!  After years of raising kids it's great to have some uninterupted time for my mind!  :D 

That said, I really enjoyed the long-distance ride my husband came along on!  I'll get him hooked on this yet!  But the rides I did with strangers I connected with online didn't go as well.  Too many differences is speed, distance, food and camping ideas, etc. 

Offline DaveB

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2012, 03:17:41 pm »
But the rides I did with strangers I connected with online didn't go as well.  Too many differences is speed, distance, food and camping ideas, etc.
I've often wondered how those ads in Adventure cycling for "Companions Wanted" work out.  It's shaky enough touring with friends and people you know.  Touring with complete strangers has to be a lot more dicey.

Offline VeloVeg

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2012, 05:12:35 pm »
Starting out alone on a long distance tour doesn't mean you're going to be lonely. Of course, some of that depends upon your temperament and personality. Even if you ride long distances alone during the day, you can interact with locals freely, if you choose, at rest and meal stops, and especially at campgrounds. (Stealth camping, not so much ;). I always enjoy meeting locals. For me, it's one of the best parts of the touring experience.

Invariably, I also run into other touring cyclists along the road or at camp, even off the beaten path. If you're heading in the same direction you might choose to ride together for a few days or even weeks--but it's your choice. That's the freedom of touring alone. Touring alone means the pace is yours, the frequency of stops is up to you, the choice of camp  vs. motel is yours, etc. It sounds pretty self-centered, but sometimes touring is the only time to enjoy a little "me" time. I'm not saying this is always the way it should be, but sometimes it's necessary to spend a little time with ones' self. And share the experience with those you meet along the way, and of course, at home. When you do return home your loved-ones will notice that you're like a new person. And probably, you and everyone around you will be better for your experience.

FWIW, I've only done six tours with friends or family and they, too, were amazing.

Enjoy your tour,

Ted
www.bikewithamission.org

Offline John Nelson

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2012, 05:44:05 pm »
I agree with VeloVeg 100%. Most people who start alone make life-long friends along the way. Most people who start with strangers part ways somewhere during the trip. I always start alone, and ride alone 75% of the time, but I meet many fascinating people every day and enjoy great conversations.

One of the great things about riding with people you meet along the way is that there is generally no commitment. If you start at the same time, great. If you don't, no worries. If you meet at lunch, great. If you don't, no problem. If you finish at the same place, great. If you don't, no explanations necessary. All the upside of companionship with none of the downside.

Offline driftlessregion

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2012, 10:11:04 pm »
Close but not quite true. Road ID does have dog tags: http://www.roadid.com/Catalog.aspx?C=RoadID (scroll down) in addition to the wrist and shoe tags.

Offline DaveB

Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 05:46:08 pm »
Close but not quite true. Road ID does have dog tags: http://www.roadid.com/Catalog.aspx?C=RoadID (scroll down) in addition to the wrist and shoe tags.
OK, you're right and I missed that version.  However, my comment about pricey still holds.  $25 for a plain dog tag is absurd as there are many suppliers of the same thing for far less money.

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Long distance trip alone?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 10:43:35 pm »
Road ID is the best known supplier but are pricy and only offer wrist bands.

They actually have a a wide range of products. But what I find most useful is their interactive service, $10 per year if I recall correctly. A lot more information can be included in the interactive service. In addition to notifying my worrywart mother (typical Asian mom), I use it to drop a "dead man switch" for my employer, passing on control of key systems, critical documentation, et al.

The new sport version has a deployment clasp and the silicone band is remarkably stink-resistant. It does fade in the sun, but so what? So does everything else.

The benefit of the metal chain is that it's not going to get cut and lost if the EMS people have to cut off your shirt or jersey after an accident. 
A close friend of mine is an EMT and he stated that they are explicitly trained to check for medical alert items, be they dog tags, wrist straps, ankle straps, or shoe tags. It seems excessively remote that an EMS/EMT would cut off my RoadID. Dog tags, even with silencers make noise and are pretty annoying when in the drops. A RoadID is pretty inert and inconspicuous.
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