Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: mikefm58 on January 25, 2012, 10:54:54 pm

 
Title: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: mikefm58 on January 25, 2012, 10:54:54 pm
I'm considering a long distance trip this summer, biking from Orlando to upstate NY.  I don't have any riding partners so I'd be taking this alone.  Am I crazy and stupid?  LOL, but seriously I'd like to here from anyone else who has done a cycling trip alone and hear their experiences and words of wisdom.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: misterflask on January 25, 2012, 11:56:56 pm
If you're considering it, you probably have the temperament for it.  I've ridden 350, 700, 800, and 1400 mile rides by myself and am planning a TA trip for this year.  Never seemed overly lonely; you just stop and talk to people when it suits.  If you feel like cranking out a long day, or loafing, there's no need to submit it to a committee. 
My wife (she doesn't ride) insists she is not going to be one of those wives whose husband disappears from the face of the earth, so I carry a SPOT satellite locator (see link below).  She'll at least know where to look if something drastic happens.  I haven't followed through on it yet, but I've meant to carry some sort of ID and contact info on my person in case there was an incapacitating accident of some sort.  I've worked in an ER, and I'd say it is unlikely that ID in your bags would find its way to the ER with you.
But that's all a downer:  Have fun with it.  Riding up from Orlando through GA you'll be picking up some conditioning by the time you need it.

bcs

link to SPOT locator site: http://www.findmespot.com/en/
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: staehpj1 on January 26, 2012, 06:51:28 am
Nothing wrong with touring alone.  I have done a few tours alone and it is not a problem.

I will say that I personally prefer to do routes where I meet other touring cyclists.  On a couple tours I met either one or no other touring cyclists and missed meeting, comparing notes with, and hanging out in camp with other tourists.  That makes me more partial to routes like the TA or the Pacific Coast.  Just something to consider if your route choice is flexible.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: indyfabz on January 26, 2012, 07:48:32 am
Crossed the country with a small group. The following year I did seven weeks solo in southern Spain and seven weeks solo in the U.S.  I'm not crazy or stupid. I much prefer it to traveling with people who I didn't know when the trip started. I also like the flexibility. You don't have to consider anyone else's want or need but your own.

I think you need to comfortable being by yourself.  Some people feel the need for constant/more frequent social interaction.  If you do, you might not like it.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Joe B on January 26, 2012, 09:40:32 am
... I've meant to carry some sort of ID and contact info on my person in case there was an incapacitating accident of some sort.  I've worked in an ER, and I'd say it is unlikely that ID in your bags would find its way to the ER with you...

I decided that the easiest thing to do was get a RoadID bracelet, I don't really like wearing it but I know it could be important should something happen.
(http://www.attleboro.org/ebay/roadID.jpg)

That being said, I have done long tours ( up to 6 months) and never had a serious injury or incident, and I don't expect to. However I don't bounce the way I did when I was 25 and sand, wet paint, metal covers and grates have gotten sneakier over the years i think.

Bottom line: Take some simple pre trip precautions , then forget about it and have fun.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: John Nelson on January 26, 2012, 10:46:21 am
If you have a life-long friend, then touring together is probably good. But I would not want tour with someone I didn't know well. Such a partnership is unlikely to last very long.

Touring for me is about freedom. Freedom to decide where to go, how far to go, how fast to go, when to linger, when to call it a day, what to eat, where to sleep and when to get up. Touring alone preserves that freedom. There's a lot to say for it. If you don't want to make these decisions, then having a touring partner would probably be fine.

Also keep in mind that we are never alone. There are people everywhere. And 99% of those people are kind, friendly, eager to engage and helpful.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: DaveB on January 26, 2012, 11:08:04 am
I haven't followed through on it yet, but I've meant to carry some sort of ID and contact info on my person in case there was an incapacitating accident of some sort.  I've worked in an ER, and I'd say it is unlikely that ID in your bags would find its way to the ER with you.
Absolutely have some ID on your person as anything on the bike is likely to be separated from you.  I've got a "dog tag" like the Road ID version shown above but it's on a metal bead chain around my neck and I never ride anywhere without it.   The benefit of the metal chain is that it's not going to get cut and lost if the EMS people have to cut off your shirt or jersey after an accident. 

Road ID is the best known supplier but are pricy and only offer wrist bands.  Do a Google search for "dog tags" and you will find numerous lower cost providers.  Get one.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: RussSeaton on January 26, 2012, 01:02:46 pm
I've toured alone.  And liked it.  3 months in Europe.  Few weeks here and there in the USA and Europe.  On some of the trips I met other bicyclists on the road and enjoyed riding with them for a few days.  Even visited them at home later in the trip.  Other people to visit I met at hostels.  Its enjoyable riding with people.  But its also as fun to ride alone.  Having to accomodate yourself to other people can be somewhat irritating on a trip.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: gypsysue on January 27, 2012, 01:08:35 pm
I've done two rides alone, one was 633 miles and the other was 1105 miles.  The only time I didn't like it was a few nights when I had to stealth camp.  Being alone made that scary.  The rest of the time?  It was great.  Like someone else said, you can talk to people wherever you stop, and in fact it can be hard to avoid.  People like to talk to bicyclists!  After years of raising kids it's great to have some uninterupted time for my mind!  :D 

That said, I really enjoyed the long-distance ride my husband came along on!  I'll get him hooked on this yet!  But the rides I did with strangers I connected with online didn't go as well.  Too many differences is speed, distance, food and camping ideas, etc. 
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: DaveB on January 27, 2012, 03:17:41 pm
But the rides I did with strangers I connected with online didn't go as well.  Too many differences is speed, distance, food and camping ideas, etc.
I've often wondered how those ads in Adventure cycling for "Companions Wanted" work out.  It's shaky enough touring with friends and people you know.  Touring with complete strangers has to be a lot more dicey.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: VeloVeg on January 27, 2012, 05:12:35 pm
Starting out alone on a long distance tour doesn't mean you're going to be lonely. Of course, some of that depends upon your temperament and personality. Even if you ride long distances alone during the day, you can interact with locals freely, if you choose, at rest and meal stops, and especially at campgrounds. (Stealth camping, not so much ;). I always enjoy meeting locals. For me, it's one of the best parts of the touring experience.

Invariably, I also run into other touring cyclists along the road or at camp, even off the beaten path. If you're heading in the same direction you might choose to ride together for a few days or even weeks--but it's your choice. That's the freedom of touring alone. Touring alone means the pace is yours, the frequency of stops is up to you, the choice of camp  vs. motel is yours, etc. It sounds pretty self-centered, but sometimes touring is the only time to enjoy a little "me" time. I'm not saying this is always the way it should be, but sometimes it's necessary to spend a little time with ones' self. And share the experience with those you meet along the way, and of course, at home. When you do return home your loved-ones will notice that you're like a new person. And probably, you and everyone around you will be better for your experience.

FWIW, I've only done six tours with friends or family and they, too, were amazing.

Enjoy your tour,

Ted
www.bikewithamission.org
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: John Nelson on January 27, 2012, 05:44:05 pm
I agree with VeloVeg 100%. Most people who start alone make life-long friends along the way. Most people who start with strangers part ways somewhere during the trip. I always start alone, and ride alone 75% of the time, but I meet many fascinating people every day and enjoy great conversations.

One of the great things about riding with people you meet along the way is that there is generally no commitment. If you start at the same time, great. If you don't, no worries. If you meet at lunch, great. If you don't, no problem. If you finish at the same place, great. If you don't, no explanations necessary. All the upside of companionship with none of the downside.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: driftlessregion on January 27, 2012, 10:11:04 pm
Close but not quite true. Road ID does have dog tags: http://www.roadid.com/Catalog.aspx?C=RoadID (scroll down) in addition to the wrist and shoe tags.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: DaveB on January 28, 2012, 05:46:08 pm
Close but not quite true. Road ID does have dog tags: http://www.roadid.com/Catalog.aspx?C=RoadID (scroll down) in addition to the wrist and shoe tags.
OK, you're right and I missed that version.  However, my comment about pricey still holds.  $25 for a plain dog tag is absurd as there are many suppliers of the same thing for far less money.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: waynemyer on January 28, 2012, 10:43:35 pm
Road ID is the best known supplier but are pricy and only offer wrist bands.

They actually have a a wide range of products. But what I find most useful is their interactive service, $10 per year if I recall correctly. A lot more information can be included in the interactive service. In addition to notifying my worrywart mother (typical Asian mom), I use it to drop a "dead man switch" for my employer, passing on control of key systems, critical documentation, et al.

The new sport version has a deployment clasp and the silicone band is remarkably stink-resistant. It does fade in the sun, but so what? So does everything else.

The benefit of the metal chain is that it's not going to get cut and lost if the EMS people have to cut off your shirt or jersey after an accident. 
A close friend of mine is an EMT and he stated that they are explicitly trained to check for medical alert items, be they dog tags, wrist straps, ankle straps, or shoe tags. It seems excessively remote that an EMS/EMT would cut off my RoadID. Dog tags, even with silencers make noise and are pretty annoying when in the drops. A RoadID is pretty inert and inconspicuous.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: RussSeaton on January 29, 2012, 01:47:10 am
A close friend of mine is an EMT and he stated that they are explicitly trained to check for medical alert items, be they dog tags, wrist straps, ankle straps, or shoe tags.

But the huge problem with the Road ID is no one knows its an ID.  To an EMT it looks like one of those Armstrong bands.  And an EMT is not gooing to waste time checking an Armstrong band as ID.  Its a piece of jewelry, sort of.  And that is what the Road ID is.  Its a colorful wrist band.  If you want an ID that the paramedics and police are familiar with and know one when they see it, get a Medic Alert necklace or bracelet.  An emergency ID only works if people look at it and know its an ID.  People don't look at Road ID.  They do look at Medic Alert.  Get the basic stainless steel Medic Alert.  Not the gold or even silver ones.  Those look too much like jewelry and a paramedic would easily ignore them.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: golferdevo3 on January 29, 2012, 02:01:36 am
I'm in the middle of the Southern Tier alone. If you want to follow my blog it's: becksbiketrip.blogspot.com. I'm doing it for a nonprofit in Haiti and its been great so far. 1200 miles in!
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: DaveB on January 29, 2012, 09:15:24 am
But the huge problem with the Road ID is no one knows its an ID.  To an EMT it looks like one of those Armstrong bands.  And an EMT is not gooing to waste time checking an Armstrong band as ID.  Its a piece of jewelry, sort of.  And that is what the Road ID is.  Its a colorful wrist band.  If you want an ID that the paramedics and police are familiar with and know one when they see it, get a Medic Alert necklace or bracelet.  An emergency ID only works if people look at it and know its an ID.  People don't look at Road ID.  They do look at Medic Alert.  Get the basic stainless steel Medic Alert.  Not the gold or even silver ones.  Those look too much like jewelry and a paramedic would easily ignore them.
Good point about an ID looking too much like jewelery being ineffective.  That's what I like about plain stainless steel dog tags on a bead chain around your neck.  They can't be mistaken for anything else.  And I've never found my noisy in any riding position.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: tonythomson on January 29, 2012, 09:39:08 am
Hi Dave - go it alone, only way as far as I'm concerned.  You will meet plenty of people along the way. 
Bit hot in Orlando in the summer!!!! Are you living in this area as although I live in UK I also hav a house here so I can ride in the winter.  If you are around now send me an IM and happy to talk about touring  ;D
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: mikefm58 on January 31, 2012, 09:43:42 am
My thanks to all who have responded and given me their words of wisdom.  I'm really leaning towards doing this, probably start in the April time frame due to weather.  My reasons for being unsure about riding alone is really a safety issue, not from the stand point of getting hit by a car but more from meeting up with a "not so nice" person.  I expect to use motels almost exclusively as well as have a smart phone with me.

And a special thanks to golferdevo3 for the blog on their trip, very informative reading.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: staehpj1 on January 31, 2012, 11:26:49 am
My reasons for being unsure about riding alone is really a safety issue, not from the stand point of getting hit by a car but more from meeting up with a "not so nice" person.
I think that is just as or more likely to happen at home in your normal life.

I hope you go and have a nice trip.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: John Nelson on January 31, 2012, 12:07:02 pm
"Not so nice" people are much more common on TV than in real life. Your chances of a significant problem due to one are miniscule, and I'm not sure those chances are increased by going alone, or in fact by going at all.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Blackbear on January 31, 2012, 04:29:34 pm
I road St. Louis to Greeensboro, NC last May.  Wore a metal dogtag for ID. Used a SPOT device so family and friends could locate me  ( Also good for immediate help if first responders are necessary) and enjoyed the challenge and solitude I found. You will be amazed at the Friendly people you will meet------DO IT!  Blackbear
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: haakon on February 08, 2012, 01:52:16 am
I agree about the not-so-nice-people. It's a good thing to have on your radar, but unlikely to factor into your ride much. I just biked 2000 miles of the Northern Tier alone and met countless people who stopped to talk, wanted to know about the ride, offered a ride or a place to stay etc. I even have a stack of papers of people who gave me their phone numbers on the back of a receipt or something, saying if I needed anything or if I ran into trouble that I should just call them. No creepy people come to mind at all. Not that they don't exist, but the positive interactions by far outweighed any negative ones. Between all the friendly strangers and an iphone, traveling alone was awesome, even for an extrovert.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: gypsysue on February 10, 2012, 02:48:29 pm
I'm in the middle of the Southern Tier alone. If you want to follow my blog it's: becksbiketrip.blogspot.com. I'm doing it for a nonprofit in Haiti and its been great so far. 1200 miles in!

Your blog is very awesome, and inspiring. I've saved it to my 'favorites'. 

I've already posted on this thread that I enjoy riding alone, and after some failed attempts to hook up with riding partners, I pretty much ride alone.  My husband is my favorite riding partner but he's not as into it as I am.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: golferdevo3 on February 18, 2012, 11:33:58 pm
Thank you so much Gypsysue!  It really makes me feel good when I hear people enjoying my blog and following it. I appreciate the comment!
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Wuwei on February 20, 2012, 06:57:33 am
I rode across Canada alone last summer and there was hardly a day that I didn't meet another cyclist at camp or along the road. You are more likely to meet and chat with people when alone.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: PJinNJ on March 02, 2012, 08:07:00 pm
ROADID, get one or two. I have talked to litteraly hndreds of EMT's and first responders and they think it's awesome. If only anyone thought it was Jewelery you don't want them touching you. If you don't get one get anything that goes on your neck or wrist. It's universal and will be checked. As for the ride, go, live and enjoy it. It's about the journey and the fantastic people you'll meet.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: BikeFreak on March 03, 2012, 01:38:56 am
I'm considering a long distance trip this summer, biking from Orlando to upstate NY.  I don't have any riding partners so I'd be taking this alone.  Am I crazy and stupid?  LOL, but seriously I'd like to here from anyone else who has done a cycling trip alone and hear their experiences and words of wisdom.

Let me put it this way:

When I tell non-cyclists about one of my long distance tours, the absolutely first question is always:

"Who did you travel with"?

Then I answer "I travel by myself, always". Then their next comment is:

"Didn't you feel lonely ... I could never do that". Generally, people are not interested in the travel/tour itself, but only this particular social aspect. I typically calm those non-cyclists down by ensuring them that I do meet and talk to strangers on the road. That puts me in their "normal-person" category gain ... just a little bit.

I would say that most people need a lot of attention from other people, but there is a certain "breed" who can live without. As stated in one of the initial answers: If you even considered doing it alone, you should be fine :-).

Lucas
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Westinghouse on March 08, 2012, 02:53:10 am
I usually get lonely on a long solo tour, and I often with I had a female partner. Meeting women is one matter. Getting someone to take off across the continent on a bicycle is a whole other matter, and she must have money, time off to do it then, the same window of opportunity, the ability, the inclination to do it, and compatibility. That narrows it down to fewer and fewer possibilities, and then I go alone.

Feeling lonely isn't all that bad.



http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.398045477937.196939.586797937&type=3







Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: DaveB on March 08, 2012, 10:37:23 am
The benefit of the metal chain is that it's not going to get cut and lost if the EMS people have to cut off your shirt or jersey after an accident. 
A close friend of mine is an EMT and he stated that they are explicitly trained to check for medical alert items, be they dog tags, wrist straps, ankle straps, or shoe tags. It seems excessively remote that an EMS/EMT would cut off my RoadID. Dog tags, even with silencers make noise and are pretty annoying when in the drops. A RoadID is pretty inert and inconspicuous.
My point about the metal bead chain was that it is cut resistant where a dog tag on a piece of string would not be.  I do know of a rider hurt in a bike crash whose dog tag was on a ribbon around her neck and was lost when the EMTs cut off her jersey to treat a shoulder injury so they never saw it. 

Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Shane on March 09, 2012, 03:20:52 pm
Dont travel alone for too long, strange things happen  8)

http://vimeo.com/34943524
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: tonythomson on March 10, 2012, 04:56:29 am
Dont travel alone for too long, strange things happen  8)

http://vimeo.com/34943524

Wonderful. Know where your coming from, I have the most out of tune singing voice ever, so I can do my X factor bit as loud as I like o those wonderful empty stretches.  :-X
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Shane on March 10, 2012, 09:15:43 am
Dont travel alone for too long, strange things happen  8)

http://vimeo.com/34943524

Wonderful. Know where your coming from, I have the most out of tune singing voice ever, so I can do my X factor bit as loud as I like o those wonderful empty stretches.  :-X

Something like this? 

http://vimeo.com/38267462a

 8)
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: WesternFlyer on March 10, 2012, 10:53:01 pm
My point about the metal bead chain was that it is cut resistant where a dog tag on a piece of string would not be.  I do know of a rider hurt in a bike crash whose dog tag was on a ribbon around her neck and was lost when the EMTs cut off her jersey to treat a shoulder injury so they never saw it.


I have a little true story to relate that relates to long distance solo riding and most any other of life’s activities.  Last year I made a trip to the ER related to a chronic heart problem (not bike related). After four hours of tests and being stripped down to a flimsy hospital gown I was wheeled into MRI room.  Of course I was asked if I was wearing any metal.  I pulled out my medic alert tag on its stainless steel chain.  The charge nurse turned a ghostly shade of pale.  I had been wearing this tag around my neck day and night for over ten years just for this day and it failed.

When I was discharged and got home, I decided at this point in my life it was appropriate to wear my heart on my sleeve.  I ordered a bright red Road ID wristband and have worn it every day since both on and off the road.

And I pretty much ride exclusively solo, often in remote places, up to six weeks at a time and love it.

Western Flyer


Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: RussSeaton on March 11, 2012, 03:45:44 pm
I pulled out my medic alert tag on its stainless steel chain.  The charge nurse turned a ghostly shade of pale.  I had been wearing this tag around my neck day and night for over ten years just for this day and it failed.

When I was discharged and got home, I decided at this point in my life it was appropriate to wear my heart on my sleeve.  I ordered a bright red Road ID wristband and have worn it every day since both on and off the road.

Not saying it did not happen as you describe it.  But based on my numerous experiences, I have a hard time believing it did happen as you describe it.  I've had Medic Alert necklaces and bracelets on for about 30+ years now.  Dozens upon dozens of times they have been used.  I don't recall them ever not being found by the treating paramedic or policeman or even citizens/passersby.  When you are lieing unconscious, people automatically look for the Medic Alert necklace and bracelet.  The necklace is found more often than the bracelet and the necklace is the first thing they look for.  Medic Alert stainless steel necklaces and bracelets are known/recognized by everyone, everyone, everyone.  Whereas the Road ID thing is unknown by everyone.  Its just a piece of costume jewelry.  Looks like one of those decorative Armstrong wrist bands.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: WesternFlyer on March 12, 2012, 01:30:27 pm
Russ

It did happen as I wrote, but not exactly as you have assumed.  I was not picked up unconscious on the street by EMTs.  I was driven conscious to the hospital by my daughter.  The ER had access to all my medical records without accessing my medic tag.  I suppose this bit of information proves your point to you, but just a certainly it proves my point to me.  Just doing a quick search I noticed American Medical ID now offers bright colorful wristbands quite similar in style and function to the Road ID.

http://www.americanmedical-id.com/marketplace/category_viewall.php?bbmetalgroup=&filter_price=&scrollcat=brac_siliconeflex&mastercategory=bracelets

May we all be safe on the road.

Western Flyer
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: RussSeaton on March 12, 2012, 01:55:35 pm
The extra information changes it quite a bit.  I can't imagine why any emergency room personnel would search a conscious person for a Medic Alert or Road ID or anything else if they were conscious and you could just talk to them and ask them what was wrong and why they were there.  As you orignally described it the emergency room personnel did not seem to know why they were treating you.  That is a case of bad diagnosis or not looking at the medical records they had on you.  100% unrelated to you wearing an emergency ID.  Why look for an emergency ID on your body if they can just talk to you and ask you to pull out your drivers license and insurance card?  The medical ID is for identification and making people aware of a medical condition when the person is unable to provide that information.  The colorful pretty Road ID is not going to be used/found/looked for if the police/ambulance can talk to you.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: John Nelson on March 12, 2012, 03:51:30 pm
I use MEDS. Various bicycle events give them away for free.

http://www.meds.org/bikehelmet.php

I understand that medical personnel are trained to look for them.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: mucknort on March 12, 2012, 05:16:21 pm
I know this isn't advancing the discussion, but I read the thread title and shuddered. I love long distance touring, but have absolutely 0 interest in EVER doing it alone. To me, sharing the experience with one or more humans is an absolute essential and pleasure and makes the journey all the better. To me, bike touring solo would be the perfect mix of heaven and hell: bike touring (heaven) and doing it solo (hell). I wish those of you that are hard-wired to do it solo all the best!
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: jrswenberger on March 12, 2012, 08:26:54 pm
I use MEDS. Various bicycle events give them away for free.

http://www.meds.org/bikehelmet.php

I understand that medical personnel are trained to look for them.

Not to get too far off the topic, but...as a registered nurse and a first responder, I've never even heard of this.

Jay
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: WesternFlyer on March 14, 2012, 07:08:53 pm
The extra information changes it quite a bit.

Your conclusions are rational, logical and well stated.  Please allow that for a few of us life does not appear entirely rational and logical, especially in emergencies.  So perhaps you can wear your stainless steel amulet draped around your neck and I my polyurethane talisman clasped to my wrist and we can both ride with some degree of providential protection. 

Western Flyer
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Ike on March 15, 2012, 11:43:38 am
It is very interesting to read about why some people would never tour alone, because this contrasts completely with my own preference--I always tour alone.

Solo bicycle tours and backpacking trips, for me, are an important means to recharge my mental batteries. My chosen career often brings me in contact with many, many people and I need time away from humans. However, on a bike tour, unless I was riding in an extremely remote area, I have never really been completely alone. There are always people around and many are interested in the journey. Finding people to talk to isn't difficult if you are a normally social person.

I tend to be fairly introverted anyway, so my conversations with strangers normally don't go very far. Feelings of loneliness will happen if you are traveling solo, so it can be important to make sure your mind is occupied. Keeping a detailed journal, reading, and nature observation are all vital activities that help keep my solo tours enjoyable. Without those activities, my evenings could easily become boring and lonely.

Touring alone is safe and fun. I wouldn't do it if my experiences told me otherwise.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: sonssu on March 16, 2012, 01:59:27 am
It's never a stupid idea. I would send you the props and shout out a good luck for you. Just make sure your muscle won't get injured during a long distance ride because if you get injured that's where real saga starts.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: tjse25 on March 21, 2012, 08:55:11 pm
I been planning a 800+ trip this July, from South Dakota to Michigan. It never crossed my mind about finding a partner, the plan was to start alone if I find a riding buddie it will be bonus.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: RussSeaton on March 22, 2012, 12:42:59 pm
Can't recall if I've already responded to this topic.  But here is another answer.  I've toured alone and with others.  Usually 1-2-3 other people.  The solo trips were always longer more extensive tours.  Europe for a summer, two weeks in Colorado, two weeks in Portugal-Spain.  Solo trips were generally 2-3 day trips to the start of a week long ride like RAGBRAI.  On the summer tour of Europe I occasionally met other cyclists I rode with for a few days until our paths split.  I enjoyed touring alone and riding with others.  For logistics, its easier to tour alone.  No coordination necessary.  Decisions are easy.  Long trips are easier to arrange when its just you.  The trips with others were always enjoyable because of the constant companionship.  The irritation was always minor.  On the summer trip it was very pleasant to ride with others for a few days when I met them while riding.  A pleasant difference.  Can't recall ever being bored riding alone.  The constant activity of touring, riding, camping, eating, sightseeing, etc. seems to keep me occupied from awaking to sleeping.  I might fall into both camps.  I'll happily tour alone and I'll happily tour with others.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Sectrix on March 26, 2012, 11:02:17 am
From my own personal experience, it was harder to ride alone. I went on my first tour in 2009 on the TA (E to W), and a longtime friend of mine came with me. After the Knott County Historical Society (strange guy, he is), we both went back home to Chicago because of money. I was loaned some by my mom, so I went back to Hazard to start again - alone.

For me, it was much harder this way. There was nobody to push through the miles with you. Maybe it's because it was my first tour, but it seemed much less fun when there wasn't someone there suffering with you. It became more of a struggle everyday to get to the next campground. I stayed on for two more weeks then called it off. But that's just me, YMMV.

Also, early in the trip just outside Charlottesville, I ran my bike off the road going down a hill. Hit a rock at something like 20 miles an hour - trashed my shiny new Mavic and forks. While doing a backflip over my handlebars, I was very happy to see my buddy riding behind me. In fact, I distinctly remember thinking that. That being said, a passerby stopped within literally 60 seconds to see if everything was OK, and we were offered a ride within an hour.
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: John Nelson on March 26, 2012, 12:06:46 pm
it seemed much less fun when there wasn't someone there suffering with you
Suffering? There's not supposed to be any suffering on a tour!
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 26, 2012, 02:31:25 pm
it seemed much less fun when there wasn't someone there suffering with you
Suffering? There's not supposed to be any suffering on a tour!

I think he meant, "Enjoying the adventure!"

:)
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: staehpj1 on March 26, 2012, 02:39:27 pm
Suffering? There's not supposed to be any suffering on a tour!
Hmmm, I must be doing it wrong :)
Title: Re: Long distance trip alone?
Post by: Sectrix on March 27, 2012, 04:38:42 pm
It isn't really suffering suffering - not like how some people in the world suffer anyway. It's more of a constant, pervasive discomfort.

After going back alone, each day became more hills, more dogs, more miles in the saddle. I was also riding late in the season in the less popular direction, so I didn't see many other riders in the part I accomplished. Without someone there, it just become a mental challenge to keep going alone.

In any case I wouldn't hesitate to try going solo again.
My advice:
1)Safety somewhat less when riding alone
2)May be more challenging alone, especially if it's the first tour
3)Plan and prepare for what you can, and do it anyway