Author Topic: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.  (Read 3008 times)

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Offline bee

Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« on: April 03, 2011, 08:08:07 pm »
I think these forums are mostly a great resource in helping people touring for the first time build up a solid supplies list, and also to understand the basics of touring. But I feel like easing every single question one could possibly have about the open road kind of defeats the whole purpose. Don't get me wrong, there are essentials that every rider should know in order to keep themselves alive when they're out there. But I think it can be dangerous to one's spirit of adventure to be so thoroughly prepared. Calculating every issue, talking with every person you know about how to have everything go off without a hitch leaves you with other peoples solutions and never your own. I understand that there are cyclists on here who simply want to ride their bike, get the exercise and do it all again the next day. But to the others, maybe the smoothest road isn't always the greatest. The goal should be to get the most out of your ride that you can. If it goes how you like, great. If it doesn't, great. Why is the goal to get there in the least amount of time, with the least amount of trouble? We all set out to do these 'bicycle tours' which at first sounds like one of the most adventurous things a person can do these days, but then we get every mystery answered, and ride the road with every obstacle foreseen. Of course, I understand that even the most prepared always experience issues, and I simply want to make the point that dealing with those issues is always the most vivid memory and when you were most conscious; because you had to be. I just wish people to understand that the best kind of tour is one that you make your own, and don't forget to relax. You can still ride 100 miles and be relaxed. We're a small percentage of the population thats crazy enough to ride our bikes great distances, we want to feel free, so do it without fear, and in your own way.

-Bee

Offline Wolfe

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 08:28:42 pm »
Let it Bee!

Out today for a day ride adventure, came across a rural road along Pohantcong Creek, connecting with Delaware's River road.

Never knew it was there - best part of the day!

I can't wait to see how much I've bitten off more than I can chew - will start with a a multi-day trial trip.

Looking at doing my firt tour on the Adirondack loop in late May - I have trouble with 40 miles of rolling hills in Hunterdon Co. NJ (max 600 - 800 feet climbs).

Anyone out ehre been in this place before?

Offline Tandem4Rider

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2011, 07:31:05 am »
Bee,

I share your sense of adventure in a sense.  I also have considerable experience in the outdoors.  I fear your lament for others, though, doesn't take into account other perspectives.

First, some people see the preparation as part of the adventure.  Did I cover everything?  What did I leave unforseen?  Was the balancing of others' experiences applied to my situation done well?  Etc...  While you and I may see the unknown around the next bend as an opportunity to expand the experience; others may simply get dejected, defeated, and so on.

Second, some people just don't like troubles (in my opinion a euphemism for pain).  When I first started backpacking many summers ago I went on the trail without an inkling of an idea of what to do.  My mistake at every turn was a great professor.  Some of the fellows with me took home a different lesson: the outdoors are not for enjoyment.  That to me is sad.  I wish forums like this could have been a part of my experiences back then - perhaps it would have saved the skin (literally) on my back on my first trip (hiking).  And perhaps the others would see eco-friendly travel as an option, not something to be avoided.

Lastly, there are many considerations people have in respect to their touring.  Many people may desire the shortest amount of time because they are self-employed, and every day on a tour is money lost for another one down the road.  Others may be heading out with someone else who has more experience and may not want to be a drain on that other person.  For example, I'm a teacher and by virtue of my occupation I am asked questions no less than 300 times per day.  Honestly, when I'm not at work - don't ask me anything!  ;)

You raise some good questions, but in the end just enjoy the ride.

Offline Tourista829

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2011, 08:16:01 am »
Bee,  I agree with you but I think there has to be some balance. Some prep should be involved and knowing what you are getting into. Although some of my most enjoyable tours have been going where I wanted and renting a car to return home. When I was young, we flew into Luxembourg and after a nice stay there, decided to take the first train out. It happened to go through Belgium and end up in Amsterdam. From there, we hit several countries and ended up in North Africa. To this day, it was one of the best trips, I ever went on. I was not restricted by time constraints, money, or others desires. I enjoyed the view, explored, went where I wanted to go, and had no schedule. I found it free and liberating.

Offline Awf Hand

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2011, 08:34:36 am »
I get limited time off and don't want to spend my trip trying to recover from screw-ups that could've been avoided by a bit of research.  I'm not in a hurry to get to my destination.  If I was, I'd ride the MC instead.  BUT, I don't want to buy tires that are easily punctured, or carry a cookstove that has known reliability issues.  I do research to maximize my good times, the same as I would for investments.

Offline DaveB

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2011, 09:04:18 am »
I agree it's possible to over-plan and over-organize a bike tour so there is no room for spontaneity or whims.  If you have firm campground or motel reservations every night you are locked in to a rigid schedule. 

However, your "just let it flow" attitude implies unlimited time and resources and no one at home to consider.  Few of us have these benefits and adequate planning lets you do a rewarding tour within the time and money constraints most of us have.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2011, 09:31:17 am »
Bee, I think you are correct.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2011, 01:32:39 pm »
I have trouble with 40 miles of rolling hills in Hunterdon Co. NJ (max 600 - 800 feet climbs).

Anyone out ehre been in this place before?

I ride in Hunterdon County several times a year. ;D  Try training on Sweet Hollow Rd.  Or to test how well that granny gear works on Fox Farm Rd. that parallels SR 183.

If you want some cue sheets for rides from Bull's Island, L'Ville and Frenchtown, send me a PM with your email address.

Offline dombrosk

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 05:55:04 am »
Reading the discussion on this thread so far puts me in mind of the old saying, 'there's two kinds of people in the world: people who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and people who don't."

This thread taps into a basic philosophical question that pops up frequently on these forums, and frequent visitors tend to learn which sides regular contributors come in on. 

When I started to get into long distance touring I did reading, on-line research, and signed up for the Adventure Cycling Introduction to Road Touring class.  (Thanks Wally!!!)  For me, all that preparation was fun, not work, and helped me enjoy the experience more.  A friend of mine who'd toured cross country with a knapsack was baffled at my preparation, because her style was much more get on the bike and go. 

For some people an Adventure Cycling class will help maximize fun, for others, even following the Adventure Cycling route maps is losing the spirit of adventure.  Fortunately, there's plenty of roads and trails for all of us.

As for attitude while on the road, one thing that I've noticed is that 'problems' while touring are often lead-ins to the highlight of the day, so much so that I sometimes sing to myself the song from The Producers: "Where did we go right"  about how the most bungled situation can turn into a golden opportunity.

Planners and non-planners all have one big thing in common: our love for travelling by bicycle.

Offline Mattie

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 01:58:58 pm »

.....and now there aint nothin left but the doing of it all.

(John Wayne ?)

Offline tanslacks

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 05:06:01 pm »
I Feel like I was lucky enough to experience bot sides of this discussion.

I did my first tour last summer and for the 10 months prior I did a bunch of research on the internet, books and forums. That advice really helped me select the equipment that I would use. I came up with a training plan and bought a bunch of maps for the route I planned. Just then my daughter had a medical emergency and I completely forgot about my tour that was 4 months away.

The bike, camping gear and maps sat in my sun room for months. It was a very difficult time and in the end it all went well. My daughter is now healthy and happy. We knew she was better about a week before I was to start my tour of the west coast route. I was exhausted, not trained and not ready to tour, but my daughter and wife insisted I go. Without any more thinking I put the untested bike, gear and maps in a box and flew to Portland. As I stood at the airport assembling my bike alone and 51 years old, I got frightened of what I had just done. And then it hit me... load the gear and start pedaling.

I knew nothing and at times it really showed, but I just kept pedaling. I learned to read the maps, I learned to set up camp in minutes and I learned that the road was filled with great people. I pedaled for 28 days and made it all the way home.

Since then I have gone on several shorter tours and I know I can do anything I want. I load my gear and start pedaling. Sometimes I don't even know exactly where I am going. The thrill is awesome.

So I think I have done it both ways and without all the research I had done I am not sure I would have gotten on that plane, but now that I figured out that all I have to do is pedal and stay away from traffic it will all be great.

Good luck to anyone who tours. It is the best thing I ever waited 51 years to try

Offline Shane

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 05:32:44 pm »
With all the preparation in the world, Gps, maps and more than 10,000miles in the sadle,

Shit still happens <--Click

Offline John Nelson

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 05:54:21 pm »
As long as you have a good time, there's no one right way for everybody. But your comments are indeed thought-provoking and might encourage me to be a bit more spontaneous.

Offline knolltop

  • World Traveler
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Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 08:16:53 pm »
With all the preparation in the world, Gps, maps and more than 10,000miles in the sadle,

Shit still happens <--Click
Cool vid and like the tune.
Your last comment SHOULD be my mantra too ... but likely never will be!   ;D
+-+ Michael +-+

Offline csykes

Re: Mistakes and Attitude while on the road.
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 10:33:10 pm »
Some good thought-provoking comments.  I like the best of both worlds: to use forums, books, and other resources to learn from others and find out what you don't know; but then don't obsess if you don't have the best of everything and have not considered every possible twist and turn.  These days it's very easy to be paralyzed by having too much information.