Author Topic: Bon Ton Roulet  (Read 2794 times)

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Offline Spokey

Bon Ton Roulet
« on: May 26, 2012, 12:51:48 am »
Anyone here done this ride?

I have signed up for this year and have a couple questions.  I've always done self supported bicycling and this will be my first 'luxury' tour.  The questions I have are specific to the Bon Ton Roulet procedures, not general questions.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2012, 05:50:19 am »
What can we add to their most comprehensive web site? http://bontonroulet.com/ What are your specific questions? I have ridden in the area, but not with them.

Fred

Offline Spokey

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 12:04:50 pm »
For example, they have a limit of 2 small bags.  Now maybe I don't know what a small bag is, but I don't think I can get my sleeping bag or thermarest in a small bag.  They also say you can't bungee stuff to the outside of the bag. 

I have emailed them and am waiting for a response.

So I figured if anyone here had done the Bon Ton Roulet, they'd know stuff like that.  This is my first supported tour.  In the past, I've taken whatever I want and can hang on the bike without such regards.

I don't have questions about the roads or ride itself.  Just Bon Ton logistics.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 02:54:44 pm »
Yeah, that is familiar from other commercial tours, who do not define "small bag" either.

This is great cycling country. Be ready for seriously hilly E-W roads and easy N-S roads <grin>.

Fred

Offline DaveB

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 03:13:36 pm »
I can't vouch for the Bon Ton but I've ridden 20 GOBA's (a week long supported tour in Ohio) and they say the same thing about luggage.  Everybody ignores it and brings huge duffles, suitcases and roller bags.  Apparently the rider's definition of "small" means smaller than a refrigerator.  No one from the ride management has  ever complained.   You do have to take your stuff to and load it onto the baggage trucks every morning you change towns so keep it portable for yourself.

Offline Spokey

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 05:02:31 pm »
And here I thought Arkel GT-54s would be large. 

I guess I could bring a large roller suitcase so as to pack the sleeping bag and a pad although it seems silly just for that.

Offline Spokey

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2012, 05:08:01 pm »

This is great cycling country. Be ready for seriously hilly E-W roads and easy N-S roads <grin>.

Fred

We'll take it slow.   We've done the cascades and rockies although that was 10 years ago when we were both in our fifties.  But we also both have comotions with a 24 granny and a 34 cog.  And we won't be lugging 50-60 lbs of junk.   If we walk, we walk.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2012, 11:40:08 am »

This is great cycling country. Be ready for seriously hilly E-W roads and easy N-S roads <grin>.

Fred

We'll take it slow.   We've done the cascades and rockies although that was 10 years ago when we were both in our fifties.  But we also both have comotions with a 24 granny and a 34 cog.  And we won't be lugging 50-60 lbs of junk.   If we walk, we walk.

The grades in the Finger Lakes region aren't nearly as long as those in the Rockies or Cascades but they can be a lot steeper.  Plan on using that granny.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 10:05:12 am »
It may take a week or so for people who have been on this particualr ride to stop by and offere comments. Like most big tours, the BTR should have a user forum avaialble form the registration site.

Enjoy the services and amenities that you are paying for. Try not to abuse the paid staff and let the volunteers know you appreciate their contributions to your comfort and enjoyment. Supported touring is the only way to travel for me. I have two huge heavy duty duffles but they're not full and I make a real effort to stay under the weight limits. 

The luggage truck functions on a large supported tour, over 300 riders, are about the same wherever you go. A bunch of burley men and women, or local high school athletes, schlep your bags into a container van or tractor trailer rig. They throw your bags around like they are, umm, luggage. They climb on them to stack them efficiently. Unloading is equally unceremonious and your bags will be hurled to the ground from the back of the truck. Anything strapped to the outside will be ripped off and ends up in the lost and found. Anything fragile on the inside will be destroyed. If your bag is ridiculously heavy you are abusing the baggage team and they may take it out on your bags.

Outfits like Cycle Oregon have seen their demographic and base of repeat riders move through time. Twenty-five years ago, people took only what was necessary. Now they take whatever they want. I sat in front of one of the baggage trailers a few years ago and watched the exchanges between the loaders and the clients. People often showed up with two huge bags, two folding chairs and one or two shoulder bags that held their computers. Don't be one of them. The baggage team tried to polite but the reality was simple: failing to follow the rules or use common sense is not their problem; your stuff is not their problem.

Some tours have started using a scale at the luggage loading site. You either pay a premium for overweight or you reduce your mass. 
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 03:50:31 pm »
I did in '06. You can take a duffel bag that is large enough to hold everything you need unless you are bringing a tent the size of Grand Central Terminal and a different off-bike outfit for each day. I brought a medium sized 2P tent, ThermaRest, sleeping bag, maybe five sets of riding clothes, a couple of sets of off bike clothes, towel, etc. I probably had a flat pillow, too.

Definitely don't abuse the staff. It's minimal commpared to something like Cycle Oregon, which I have done three times. There were no "sherpas," so you had to carry you own bag to the truck where there were one or two helpers who would assist with loading. You also had to carry your own bag to wherever you wanted to pitch your tent. Definitely use a dry bag or put your stuff in a garbage bag inside your duffel. The penultimate day it rained cats and dogs. The luggage was placed under a giant tarp, but people moved the tarp while searching for their bags and didn't bother to make sure they hadn't left bags on the fringes uncovered. Also, the people who unloaded the luggage managed to find the lowest spot of ground at the bottom of a ski lift. I saw some bags with pools of water on top and others sitting in inches of water.

If the last few years signify a trend, I would be prepared for rain, either on the road or in camp. I have spoken with several people who have done it recently. They experienced a good deal of rain.

Lunch is on your own. I generally didn't stop for lunch but rather just had snacks at the rest stops and my own Gu and Cliff Bars. It was warm the year I did it so I wanted to get off the road early. I usually bought lunch in the finishing towns. I liked the wine carrying feature. You could stop at selected vinyards and buy wine. A van would cruise by and pick up and transport purchases until the end of the tour. Or if you happen to see a SAG van hanging out in a town where there is a wine store, you can buy a couple of bottles and leave it with the driver.

The last night they threw a big kegger with catered BBQ.

Depending on the route, there definitely can be some extremely steep grades going W-E. There was one hill that many people walked at least part of. A 24x34 should do the trick.

Offline DaveB

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2012, 05:03:41 pm »
I guess I can only go by GOBA but their luggage is loaded into the baggage trucks by each individual rider and unloaded at the next overnight stop by the first riders who get there.  The trucks usually arrive about 10:30 in the morning and if you are fast or ride with few stops, they put you to work.  Guess how I found that out. :)  There are no staff luggage handlers so no one complains about what you bring since they probably brought that much too.   The rider/unloaders are not particularly gentle with the luggage but they aren't brutal either.   All-in-all it works out pretty well. 

Getting the luggage from the pile behind each truck to your tent site is also your responsibility but in some places the local Boy Scouts or High School athletic teams will carry, wheelbarrow or ATV it for you for tips. 

When I first rode it, I brought minimal changes of clothing and had to wash during the week.  After a couple of years I realized spending most on an afternoon at a Laundromat wasn't much fun and started to bring enough to last the week.   Heavier but far better use of vacation time. 

Offline bktourer1

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2012, 08:32:37 pm »
I've done this 2x.  2, 30 liter bags should be fine.  Make sure you line them with plastic bags as they get put on the wet ground if it rains.  Food at the colleges was great and there is usually a adult beverage truck on hand (donations) except for the high school stops.  At watkins glen make sure you see the gorge.  There is an adult beverage store within walking distance of  the high school, and some nice bars / restaurants you can walk to.  Watkins Glen State Park has  free swimming pool.  Walmart in town too.  You can sleep in most gyms if the weather turns, no extra charge

Offline Spokey

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2012, 09:16:06 pm »
thanks for the replies.

We have a 4p eureka.  But we split it in 2 and put it on our rear racks.  I think it's about 8lb total including ground cloth.

I expect to bring roughly the same things as I do on self supported touring.  Except of course no food or stove.  I might bring some extra biking stuff as I could make it through the week without a wash.  Usually bring 4 sets on a self supported as I'll be washing anyway.  Anyway I don't expect to bring anymore than would fit in my rear arkel bags plus the tent & sleeping bag.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 09:06:36 am »
We had a rest day in Watkins Glen like they are doing this year. The Gorge was a nice walk. It was very humid on our off day. The swimming pool, which is huge, was a welcome amenity. There was also a dinner boat cruise you could take. I didn't do it, but others said it was nice.

One warning if you are planning to treat yourself to a motel in Watkins Glen like several members of my club did. The place they reserved was a real dump. I think it was called the Glen Way, but I am not certain. Bugs and cobwebs in the room and at least one non-functioning toilet.

Also, watch out for the cops. Lots of riders were blowing through stop signs on the way to the camping location at the school. The cops were not happy and told the organizers that they were going to ticket riders.

Offline Spokey

Re: Bon Ton Roulet
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2012, 09:38:16 am »
Also, watch out for the cops. Lots of riders were blowing through stop signs on the way to the camping location at the school. The cops were not happy and told the organizers that they were going to ticket riders.

As they should.  I'm one of those who think we need to obey the traffic regulations as a matter of self preservation.  It does become difficult sometimes if you're in a pack.  You have to worry about the scofflaws behind you running in to your rear.

I won't say that I've never done a rolling stop, but no more that I've done in my car and I'm pretty conscientious about it.  What gets me is stopping for a red light and having someone blow past me running the light.

Of course having said that, Mr. Karma will probably now have me get a ticket and I'll have to hang my head in shame.