Author Topic: Tips on keeping a touring group together  (Read 2837 times)

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Offline habanero

Tips on keeping a touring group together
« on: September 01, 2009, 04:24:34 pm »
Has anyone organized or ridden with a group for a long period of time.  If so, can you share the problems you had keeping everyone happy and together for the entire trip?
 
I'm joining a group doing a self supported tour next summer of the TransAm east to west and am a little worried about the group getting along for 3 months.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2009, 05:33:50 pm »
My group tours with myself and one woman worked out pretty well. I toured with a male friend once and he was a problem every step of the way. I abandoned him 250 miles into the trip. The guy just would not listen to the voice of experience. I went on a supposedly planned tour once. When I got to the starting point I discovered the so-called organizer was a mentally disabled Vietnam vet on government disability and pyschotropic drugs. He had put together a grossly dissimilar group that completely fell apart the second day on the road. I stayed with it a while, went home, and cycled alone from Florida to California. You talk about unreasonable people? I could not wait to get shed of that bunch. I don't know about anyone else, but I would much rather do a long tour alone than have to contend with an inexperienced, problematic person or persons. Whenever I toured with a girlfriend it was pretty darn good.

If you organize a group, be careful.

I am considering the southern tier east to west commencing October or November. In my opinion, the ideal cycling companion is a woman.

That's about the best I can tell you about a group tour.

Offline DaveB

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2009, 05:46:26 pm »
About the only advice you can rely on is to pick your companions VERY carefully.  Even otherwise lifelong friends can be very incompatible after days or weeks of close confinement with each other.

When I read the AC magazine's "Companions Wanted"  list every month I always wonder how those requests work out.  They are asking complete strangers to join them for an extended tour.  Talk about a crap shoot!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2009, 06:33:03 pm »
About the only advice you can rely on is to pick your companions VERY carefully.  Even otherwise lifelong friends can be very incompatible after days or weeks of close confinement with each other.
I agree that it can be tough.  We met lots of folks on the TA who had split off after not getting along.

The three of us did OK with only minor tension from time to time.  I think it is only likely to work well if the group really likes each other or is very committed to making it work.

Offline JimF

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2009, 10:46:02 am »
As others have written, the group dynamic can be a challenge. Luck does play a role. However, our TA group started with four, picked up four along the way, with a few diverting to other routes or time schedules. The keys for us were independence and flexibility. We would pick our destination for the day and travel to at our own pace. In some cases, an individual would go farther or shorter. He would try to let us know (cell phone or message left at likely stopping points.) Rejoin was the usual outcome. Meals were at individual discretion. We did have a number of group meals, however, with each contributing. One very important factor was aid, if necessary. I was injured about 2/3 of the way. My group traveled off-route to help me, taking care of getting my gear shipped, securing meds, arranging accommodations, and my flight home. They were terrific. They turned an emotional crush into a wonderful memory of their friendship. I still correspond with a number of them years later.

Offline mikedirectory2

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2009, 11:07:50 am »
About the only advice you can rely on is to pick your companions VERY carefully.  Even otherwise lifelong friends can be very incompatible after days or weeks of close confinement with each other.

When I read the AC magazine's "Companions Wanted"  list every month I always wonder how those requests work out.  They are asking complete strangers to join them for an extended tour.  Talk about a crap shoot!

I agree, not only do you not want a bad experience, but you also dont want to lose those lifeliong companions.
May the skies be blue and the road be flat... Happy Riding.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2009, 12:09:59 pm »
Cell phones are a big help.  I've always agreed on how far we expect to get each day.  Also, almost every town has a post office.  We would agree to go our own speed and meet at the PO in the next town.  This works in rural areas and where. towns are small.  As others have said, the makeup of the group is most important.  I felt like leaving a partner once because he would not use common sense and stick with the simple agreements about how we would meet.  And this was only a 3 day trip; if it had been a long one, I would have gone on alone.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2009, 07:43:59 pm »
We would agree to go our own speed and meet at the PO in the next town.
I am not sure why you would tour with someone unless you were going to ride with them.  Care to elaborate on the advantages?  Do you just camp the same place with them?  Share cooking?  Something else?

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2009, 01:45:44 am »
We would agree to go our own speed and meet at the PO in the next town.
I am not sure why you would tour with someone unless you were going to ride with them.  Care to elaborate on the advantages?  Do you just camp the same place with them?  Share cooking?  Something else?
I've toured several times with people of differing abilities.  Sometimes we would ride together, and other times someone would get ahead for awhile.  On a long tour, I was with a partner almost half my age, who also happened to be a racer.  He was often ahead, but sometimes we'd ride together, and always had main meals together and camped together.  We greatly enjoyed each other's company and had a blast. I liked being alone and also riding with him.  He felt the same.  We both felt free to go our own pace.  It was probably my best ride.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline tonythomson

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 01:17:58 pm »
Having toured with a group from the ACA Companions Wanted list - I would always prefer to be on my own.  Not because there was anything wrong with  any of the guys.  It was just that we all had different ideas about speed and distance and duration, despite being very clear at the outset what kind of ride it would be.  Virtually at the start the group split into two, two guys got into a scuffle! Some dropped out along the way and the best time I had was when the last person dropped out half way and I finished off on my own.  Prior to this I had done several long distance ride around the world on my own, so I guess that is what suits me.

Again don't get me wrong as I am still in touch with most of the group as we remain friends.
Ps check out anyone who snores as you need a good nights sleep as against saving money on motel rooms :)
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Tips on keeping a touring group together
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2009, 04:44:17 pm »
As I said, I am considering doing the ST starting in a few weeks. I have talked with two guys who expressed interest in going. The one guy is out of the question, a wild, crazy guy bent on internet conspiracies and ensconsed in the world of welfare mentality and free dinners at the local churches. We would start from the east coast, and by the time we reached Pensacola, FL he would be he would be boxing his velocipede and waiting for the next bus home. Poor guy. He seems like he might have the eternal spirit to give it a try, but it is almost impossible for him to envision doing anything outside his long established negatively oriented lifestyly, much less cycling 3000 miles across the continent. I just chalk up his interest as a token of our years-long familiarity. This other guy seems to think a cross country cycling tour should be defined as a floating beer party. Like yeah dawg, I always got to have my beer, and wanna meet womens along the way. I don't go nowhere without brew.

As usual, I will most likely end up doing this tour by myself. Cycling like that is about personal freedom. As much as I think a companion would be an improvement, I am ever mindful that not just anyone will do. Most anyone is far better off crossing the country alone by bicycle than crossing it with
a pain in the neck every step of the way.