Author Topic: Making the Commitment  (Read 2933 times)

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Offline bikeguy54

Making the Commitment
« on: June 01, 2011, 08:08:15 am »
A couple of years ago I put riding coast to coast on my "bucket list", and have done several warm-up tours since then. Knowing what I do at this point, I have to admit that I am not undaunted by the prospect of such a long ride.

Besides the rigors of the road, getting my wife's blessing and squaring away my business before I go (I own a bicycle shop!), makes committing to the trip that much more difficult.

So, I'm interested to know anyone's thoughts on making the commitment to do the ride.

I'd also be interested to know about adapting to the rigors/dis-comforts of the road. Do they fall by the wayside after a while? How long does it take to get your rhythm, that sort of thing. I'm 57 and will be riding a recumbent.

Thanks,

Mike


Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 09:03:42 am »
It need not be uncomfortable, except perhaps temporarily due to unexpected bad weather. And it need be only as rigorous as you want to make it. This is not a race, after all.

As you and your bike are in good shape to begin, there is little risk of surprises from the body or the bike. Crossing the country feels little different from a one-week tour. Just keep going on.

It may help the commitment factor to start at the far end and ride toward home.

I took about three days to get the rhythm, beginning 80 days of absolutely good experiences in the first summer of retirement at age 62. Like you, I thought I'd never finish my to-do list before the trip, and indeed I did not. I soon learned that this mattered not at all.

Do it! You will not regret it. Fond memories will remain for the rest of your life, especially if you stop to meet the people along the way. You might even get hooked on this way to travel.

Fred

Offline staehpj1

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 09:33:28 am »
I did the TA at age 57 as my first tour.

The hardest part is just committing to do it.  Once under way it quickly becomes the normal daily routine to ride, eat sleep, repeat.

A few suggestions based on my experiences:
1. Start out with fairly easy daily mileage.  My theory is that if you  need rest days you are pushing too hard.  So take it easy and build daily mileage as you go.
2. Rest days...  I find half days here and there to work better for me.  My theory is that days off should be saved and used for doing cool stuff.  I think I took only one on the TA, but took half days fairly often.
3. Set expectations for contact with home much lower than you think you will be able to accomplish.  I found that we called home way less than planned due to lack of cell signal, being tired, being distracted, etc.  This caused tension on the home front because I set that expectation too high.
4. Take much less stuff than you think you need.
5. Be open to meeting new folks and to accepting hospitality.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 10:02:52 am »
Two years out, I picked a date and started telling everybody that I was leaving on that date. I said it so many times over the next two years that it simply became a fact that it was going to happen. So start by picking a date.

There are no discomforts. Every single day was simply wonderful!

Offline vertiganr

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 10:20:37 am »
+1 to what John said.  Once you put it on the calendar and start talking it up, it develops a life of its own and becomes real.

Offline Eastman

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 01:46:33 pm »
+2 to what John said.  I've used this successfully with many major backpacking trips and am using it for my first major cycling trip next year.  August 5 , 2012 to be exact.

Also, remember what a "bucket list" is: things you want to accomplish before you die.  "Though the physicality of death destroys man the reality of death saves him".  Some famous philosopher said this.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2011, 06:22:11 pm »
Two years out, I picked a date and started telling everybody that I was leaving on that date. I said it so many times over the next two years that it simply became a fact that it was going to happen. So start by picking a date.
For me it works better to pick a day soon and then just go on short notice.  When I plan way out the plans always change multiple times before the time comes and I wind up doing something else.

Offline Stevenp

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2011, 06:53:58 pm »
Great topic. I am a little over a week out from starting my trip. It was planned in December of last year and that is where the commitment took place. Then I began telling people slowly, which was another big part of the commitment. The fear that began to take place in me about the trip was also evidence of the reality of the trip, and a week out, I wonder exactly how quickly it will take to accustom to sleeping and riding in the heat. I think the heat is my biggest concern. But i also know that fear is a part of not having done anything like this before.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011, 10:02:07 am »
Sounds like cycling isn't something new to you, so I think you will find your rhythm quickly.  That was true for me on my first tour:  Seattle to Bar Harbor, ME then home to Philadelphia and on to Ocean City, NJ.  While I had been cycling for many years and had done a few week-long supported tours, my loaded riding experience consisted of not much more than a moderately hilly 62 mile ride one Sunday morning a few weeks before I headed to Seattle to start the trip.  And I had never camped before in my life.
Starting out with relatively easy mileages is a good idea.  Our first few days from Seattle up to the intersection with the NT near Anacortes were pretty easy.  The next two days, before we crossed the Cascades, were also fairly easy mileage and terrain-wise, although one of them was spent riding in a cold, steady rain.  All that was good preparation for crossing the Cascades, which we did the snow.

The camping part of the equation took some getting used to.  The first night I slept very little.  Sounds (including those coming from the very loud snorers in our group of 12) kept waking me up.  After a week or so I got used to it.

I also agree that rest days are best left for places where there are fun/interesting things to do.  Our rest days in Glacier National Park and at Lake Itasca were nice as there were non-biking activities to pursue.  In contrast, our rest day in Glasgow, MT was downright dull.  Not much to do in a place like that.  I remember being so bored on our day off in Minot, ND that I went to the zoo and then to see a movie at the mall.  I could have done that at home.  But I was with a group so compromises had to be made.

Can’t offer any insight into the commitment aspect as my situation was somewhat unique.  For almost two years I knew I was going to lose my job due to a merger.  As that time approached,  I begged to be let go in early May so I could take the trip.  I got a decent severance package and had no house, spouse or kids to consider.  Since I wanted to take the trip, committing was easy.

Offline Shane

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 04:22:05 pm »
+1 What John said,

Last year I got an expensive course through my work which meant a 2 year binding contract, most people hate these things, I thought great I have 2 years to plan an awesome trip.

A couple of months later I asked my girlfriend what she thought if I wanted to go for a 2 year trip, she said, "I wont wait for you, but live your dream"...after many discussions the bottom line was "if you love someone, set them free".

After many plans, nightmares, waking up in cold sweats, the rest is history as they say...

Shane Cycles Africa, D-155

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2011, 06:36:38 pm »
I am having a problem getting motivated to do another bike tour now, too. If you get the solution to the problem, let me know.

Offline pptouring

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2011, 03:41:49 pm »
Two years out, I picked a date and started telling everybody that I was leaving on that date.

I've done the same thing at work. I even sent my co-workers and boss an Outlook calendar request letting them know when my last day at work would be. Naturally they deleted it and laughed at me. They won't be laughing when my wife and I roll out from our house and tour the world.

Offline litespeed

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2011, 05:50:06 pm »
I retired at the end of April 2003 at age 62 with only short stay-with-friends-and-relatives tours and short supported tours under my belt. My last day's work and retirement party was on a Friday. The next day, Saturday, I got up at 6:00AM, got on my bike and went alone up the east coast to my brother's condo in New Hampshire then on to my sister's place in Washington state. I've been touring ever since.

Unlike most people I am hauling a little more stuff than I did at first but I have much altered my load and equipment. I have also lowered my gearing. Copying a Dutch cyclist I met in Utah I keep my tent, pad and sleeping bag in a duffel crossways on my rear rack. Losing my tent in Saratoga NY was a real learning experience. I went to Ortleibs after fighting rain covers for a couple of years. I carry less tools all the time as I started out with a first rate bicycle and equipment and have had almost no breakdowns. The only complete breakdown I've had was losing my rear hub in Michigan - an unusual occurrence. In eight years of touring I have broken one spoke and only once cut a tire beyond repair. Plenty of flats though. I always set out from home with new tires, a spare tire and four spare tubes.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2011, 11:43:06 am »
On almost every long tour I took I started with enthusiasm and motivation and a need to satisfy my need for adventures in new places. On the one tour I began with some reservations, I left the trail in El Paso instead of going on to San Diego from Florida. If you have that passion to complete it from the beginning, you know all along the way you will cycle on through to the end of your route. The day of setting out is one of your memorial days.

For many, it is not the destination that matters. It is the journey that is most important of all. I was talking to a woman who knew nothing about bicycle touring. I was telling her I could work in China or bicycle to California from Florida. She summed up what I said by saying, "So, it's China or California." I told her I knew nobody in CA and intended to leave soon after getting there. I said California was just the end of the road. It was the trip across the continent by bicycle that was the goal, not the state on the west coast.

When you begin a tour with any preset destination in mind, I think you would know from the beginning whether you will complete it or not just by the way you feel about it when you leave. Of course, exigencies and emergencies happen in life and alter the best laid plans of mice and men, but I refer only to human free will and the drive to complete a long and arduous journey. Have a great time on your trip.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Making the Commitment
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2011, 11:50:09 am »
A couple of years ago I put riding coast to coast on my "bucket list", and have done several warm-up tours since then. Knowing what I do at this point, I have to admit that I am not undaunted by the prospect of such a long ride.

Besides the rigors of the road, getting my wife's blessing and squaring away my business before I go (I own a bicycle shop!), makes committing to the trip that much more difficult.

So, I'm interested to know anyone's thoughts on making the commitment to do the ride.

I'd also be interested to know about adapting to the rigors/dis-comforts of the road. Do they fall by the wayside after a while? How long does it take to get your rhythm, that sort of thing. I'm 57 and will be riding a recumbent.

Thanks,

Mike



The rigors of long distance bicycle touring are someting like entering basic training in the military. The more used you are to what you will have to do the easier will be the transition to the new, more active  way of life.