Author Topic: "inexpensive" supported tour  (Read 2260 times)

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Offline rjones35

"inexpensive" supported tour
« on: March 29, 2012, 09:26:46 pm »
Okay, so I was thinking of doing the Key west tour in October, but after talking to a friend who did it earlier in the year, and the cost, I've decided against it.  What I would like is a 2 week long (or so) supported tour, doesn't have to be 100% supported, I don't mind carrying my stuff.  I don't think I'm ready to go it totally self contained, as far as finding a place to stay, getting food every day, every night.  At this point for me, that would take a lot of the fun out of it.  That's just me.  I did the Santa Fe Trail Trek last year and had an awesome time.  It was supported, they carried gear, had food arrangements, everything.  AND it was fairly cheap!! What I'm finding, and I'm not meaning to sound cheap, or complain, is that the majority of the tours I'm seeing are at least twice what the Santa Fe ride cost, and/or way less time, or distance.  Having done that ride before doing any other tour type rides, I think, has ruined me.  Or at least made it difficult to find another with as much to offer.  I might just do that one again, but i would really like to ride somewhere else......Utah, Arizona, Florida keys, nevada, there are others maybe.  What are your thoughts? Any suggestions? Am I being to picky?

Offline RussSeaton

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 01:10:43 am »
RAGBRAI is always fun.  Its supported.  Either the Des Moines Register will carry your gear, or you can easily find another group to go with that will carry your gear.  Its different than all other rides if you haven't done it before.

Offline DaveB

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2012, 08:55:33 am »
There are a lot of supported tours but most I'm aware of are only one week. 

RAGBRAI, as Russ mentioned, is one of the most famous ones but is so popular that you have to be a member of an Iowa bike club or be lucky enough to get chosen in the lottery to ride it.  Also, it is a point-to-point so you have a logistics problem at one end or the other.  "Different" is indeed the case. :)

GOBA, which covers different areas  in Ohio each year, is a one-week supported tour that makes a big loop so you are back at the starting point at the end of the week.  Bon Ton Roulet in up-state New York is similar.  Both carry all of your baggage and provide an overnight location each day and mapped and marked routes.  GOBA has food stops along the way provided by churches, PTAs and similar organizations but food is pay-as-you-go.  Bon Ton has a prepaid meal option if you want it.  Bike Virginia is along the same lines.  There are lots of these.

Offline rjones35

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2012, 09:29:39 am »
Thanks for the suggestions!!  I've thought about RAGBRAI, but that's just too many people for me, if I could get in to do it!!  Bon Ton Roulet sounds pretty interesting, any idea how many people do it?  Is it like a RAGBRAI # of people or more like 3-400 range? 

Offline John Nelson

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012, 11:17:26 am »
There are many supported state tours which range in the $50-$70 a day range that are a lot smaller than RAGBRAI. But if you want to get down to the 15-people range, it's going to be more expensive. You typically have to have at least a few hundred participants to keep the costs down.

Offline pmac

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012, 04:12:00 pm »
RAGBRAI is truly one of a kind.  One of those rides that I think everybody should do at least once for the experience if at all possible.  Pretty cheap in the big scheme of things.  Lots of food, lots of fun.  Registration bands are always for sale on the Ragbrai forum in the weeks leading up to the ride.  Thousands ride bandit, but I personally think that is a bit unethical.  Got to be ok with riding shoulder to shoulder for a few sections though, sometimes with folks who really aren't paying attention.   It is a completely different kind of experience from other tours.

Offline hem

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2012, 05:59:22 pm »
Am I missing something. ACA has quite a few supported tours. I have signed up for two this year and standing by for a third.

Offline DaveB

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2012, 06:55:07 pm »
Thanks for the suggestions!!  I've thought about RAGBRAI, but that's just too many people for me, if I could get in to do it!!  Bon Ton Roulet sounds pretty interesting, any idea how many people do it?  Is it like a RAGBRAI # of people or more like 3-400 range?
I'm not certain where Bon Ton caps their rider numbers but it certainly is WAY smaller than RAGBRAI.   

Offline John Nelson

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2012, 09:47:11 pm »
The OP is looking for a supported tour that is less than $50 a day (as is the Santa Fe Trek). Most of the ACA supported tours, except for the multi-month tours, are in the $100+ per day range. Most of the shorter ACA self-contained tours are also in the $100+ per day. Only when you get up to the coast-to-coast self-contained tours can you get below $50 a day.

On the other hand, week-long state tours, which are available in many of our states, are closer to the $50-a-day range. These tours typically spread the cost of the staff and van over a larger number of people, and many have corporate sponsors.

Offline rjones35

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2012, 11:25:30 pm »
Thanks! Yeah, I need to be looking at more of the state tours.  I did BAK a couple years ago and that was a pretty good time. 

Offline indyfabz

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2012, 11:33:10 am »
Haven't checked them out lately, but there is:

BRAN in Nebraska
CANDISC in North Dakota
LAGBRAU in Utah (might be out of your price range)

The first two are cheaper as the food is a la carte. You buy what you want from locals, who prepare meals and sell other goodies at rest stops and in the overnight towns, or eat at cafes, etc., in towns.  I did CANDISC and Bon Ton a week apart back in '06. I actually liked the CANDISC format better. We got to taste local specialties and have rest stops in unique places due to its small nature (about 300 people). For example, the very first stop on the first day of riding was in the basement of a church. The "church ladies" were selling fresh lemondade, fruit and a large selection of home baked goods. And riders were invited to stick their heads in and observe the service being conducted upstairs. While you are spending money out of your own pocket each time you want to buy something, I am certain that the trip (not including travel) ended up costing less than Bon Ton, especially since the latter did not lunches in the price.

Bon Ton is o.k.  Some pretty riding with some hilly sections. One nice thing is that you can buy wine at selected vinyards and the ride organizers will pick it up in a van and carry it for you during the tour. On most days, they have two different mileage options.  I don't know where you live, but I don't know that it's nice enough to spend a lot on travel to do it. For me, it was something like a 5 hr. drive, so not much was involved.  Note that the last few years the event has seen a lot of rain.

Offline reed523

Re: "inexpensive" supported tour
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 08:33:03 am »
Give Oklahoma Freewheel a look.  One week supported.  Inexpensive.  800 rider limit.  Don't judge it until you ride it! 

Have you considered putting your own "supported tour" together?  Find some like minded people and split the driving obligations or find a friend to drive.