Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: BikePacker on November 07, 2020, 09:58:27 am

 
Title: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: BikePacker on November 07, 2020, 09:58:27 am
I threatened to post this Question Topic inspired by an observation by Westinghouse under the "Min/Max Speed...." string that has been recently active.
He commented (I am paraphrasing here & hoping I got it right ! : )
on the 'importance of the many dimensions of weather awareness when on tour compared to the impact of weather when not on tour.' 
I appreciated his comment cause it reminded me of how much I love the alertness that weather demands of me when I am on tour....
So much so that it is one of my biggie reasons for lovin' tourin'.
Then it lead me to wondering what actually are those main 'things' I really, really like about touring? 
Over the years I may have gotten so close to touring that it has maybe become just one big wonderful undefined / amorphous attraction.....
thus, I would benefit from the specific insights of others.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: John Nettles on November 07, 2020, 10:28:42 am
My overall reason I love touring is the sense of discovery.  I became hooked at age 15 when doing a tour.

My best example is that when I was 17, I was doing my first cross-country touring on the TransAm.  On July 4th, I was in Yellowstone and it started to snow.  Now being from Oklahoma, I could not fathom how ANY place in the continental USA could possibly snow in July.  Just seemed that since I was used to 90*-100*F temps in the summer that it was just not possible. I also was surprised how you could cross Oregon and go from the cool rainy ocean side (again, June cool temps were a surprise to me) and in a couple of weeks be sweating up a storm on what seemed a really long climb out of Richland in 104*F temps. 

There are just so many examples of my perceptions of places, people, attitudes, etc. being corrected over the years.  One thing that I now firmly believe is that people for some reason are always afraid of their semi-distant neighbors. 

For instance, most Americans are wary of traveling in Mexico except to an all-inclusive resort where you never have to leave until you return to the airport.  A lot of Mexicans are wary of Guatemalans. Northerners are wary of Southerners, blacks are wary of whites, etc.  And the reverse is true too.  Obviously, this is not universal or absolute but more like a general bias.  When you actually travel to those places and interact with those people, you realize they are mostly the same as you.  They just want a healthy life, not to be hassled, and to enjoy their family, friends, and neighbors.  Usually, with less government intervention.

Remember that Mark Twain said something like "Travel is the cure for prejudice".  So true.

Tailwinds, John

Edit:  Changed my weary to wary which made me weary.  Sort of like affect and effect.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: jwrushman on November 07, 2020, 11:37:17 am
Gets me out of my "bubble".  Reaffirms my faith in the goodness of my fellow countryman.  A year ago, on a cross-country ride, I had a health issue in Palmyra, New York.  Having a cup of coffee at a canal-side cafe while waiting for nearby urgent care center to open, I was talking about my ride with the cafe owner.  She loaned me her car to drive myself to the center 4 miles away.  I don't think I would have loaned my car to a total stranger!
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: TCS on November 07, 2020, 11:37:41 am
For instance, most Americans are weary of traveling in Mexico except to an all-inclusive resort where you never have to leave until you return to the airport.  A lot of Mexicans are weary of Guatemalans.

Northerners are weary of Southerners, blacks are weary of whites, etc.  And the reverse is true too.

I've found bike touring makes me more weary - but less wary.   ;D
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: John Nelson on November 07, 2020, 06:17:36 pm
Oh, I thought he really meant weary.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: Westinghouse on November 08, 2020, 01:14:01 pm
1. Interacting with and adjusting to the forces of nature.   2. It raises my awareness and improves my health.  3. It satisfies a sense of adventure.   4.It is physically, emotionally and mentally exhilerating.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: hikerjer on November 10, 2020, 12:34:29 am
I can't argue with any of the above comments. They are all relevant. I guess the thing I like best is waking up in the morning with a sense of anticipation and not knowing what to expect and looking forward to new discoveries - both places and people
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: BikePacker on November 10, 2020, 06:29:33 am
(1) Being out there up front and in person with The Creation and all it's elements,
      e.g., weather, geology, critters, flora, water (or lack there of : ).
(2) Good feelings from various accomplishments,
      e.g., gaining a certain climb/elevation, getting from pt. a to b, dealing with various terrain conditions.
(3) What ever that sense of freedom is that I have always gotten from being on 2 wheels and self-propelled.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: PNWRider92 on November 10, 2020, 01:35:45 pm
In no particular order...

1. The people you meet along the way. There's just something about a loaded touring bike that makes people want to chat! I have friends/acquaintances all over the USA that I've met on one of my tours.

2. Everything you see along the way. You see so much when you're only going 10mph that you miss in a car.

3. The sense of accomplishment at the end of every day. Some days are really hard and reaching your destination is extremely satisfying. Nothing beats sitting at camp at the end of a long day having a beer :)
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: Westinghouse on November 11, 2020, 11:52:43 am
All of the above.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: Twitch on November 18, 2020, 10:02:07 am
I like the deliberately slow pace. In career, in life in generally, everything seems to be a race to an end. When I’m riding I’m never in a hurry, never trying to get somewhere, just enjoying the scenery.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: SwampYankee on November 19, 2020, 12:11:29 pm
Simplicity
Rhythm to my days
People I meet
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: hikerjer on November 19, 2020, 08:33:22 pm
"I’m never in a hurry, never trying to get somewhere"


This is interesting and I'm envious of you for it. My biggest problem is that even on tour I always feel like I have to get to the next place and I often don't even know where it's at. I don't know why I feel I have to continually push on even when I have all the time in the world with no deadlines but it just seems to be part of my psyche.  Left over habits from my days of employment and the stress of deadlines and getting things done, I suppose. I'm working on slowing down and smelling the roses, so to speak, but still struggle with the idea that I have to be in constant motion.  Any suggestions?
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: cyclist alan on November 19, 2020, 10:03:16 pm
Agreed with all the comments above.

Touring is about escaping from difficult situations and sometimes the truly horrific side of being human

3 simple reasons for touring
"what I am doing today?"

Riding my 6ku urban track bike - https://bikesreviewed.com/fixed-gear/6ku-urban-track-fixed-gear-bike-review/ (https://bikesreviewed.com/fixed-gear/6ku-urban-track-fixed-gear-bike-review/)

"Where am I going to sleep, tonight?"

Wherever I want

"Why are you doing this?"

For FUN
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: froze on November 30, 2020, 09:34:24 pm
I didn't know what to expect when I first tried it, I bought all this gear and thought whawhot happens if I hate the whole thing?  So I took the plunge and went on a real short jaunt, I mean short, how short you scream? it was only 8 miles to a local campground in the city where I live!  LOL!!  So it worked out pretty good, although the campground was busy I still enjoyed sleeping outside.

So the next couple of ones were weekenders to a state park, and again found myself really liking sleeping outside, listening to critters, the wind, rain, whatever sound nature drummed up, do a little fishing, now that I have a lifetime fishing license for Indiana.  It was quieter at the state park to so there was peacefulness there.

Then I just kept going on more and more, so far no touring just to campgrounds, but it's a much slower pace to life, I'm not in a hurry, no one around me is in a hurry, everyone is actually quite nice and are inquisitive about someone camping off a bicycle, I've talked to all kinds of people, find a lot of them surprised that a guy in his 60's is camping off a bike when all the other guys in their 60's are in RV's...what I don't tell them is that I do have a camping trailer at home!  But that's for my wife more than it is for me.  I own a business plus work a job, so the bike camping thing de-stresses me, wish I could do it more often.

I'm am looking forward to next summer when I plan on doing a week and a half long trip, yeah I know, it's not as far as you guys all go but the Rolling Stones got it wrong, time is not on my side...but when I retire I will have more time, even then time is never on anyone's side, so I want to make the best of the time I have left and make it peaceful and enjoyable, which means I'll probably have to turn my business over to a management company so I don't have to be close to where I live whenever I want to go someplace.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: BikePacker on December 01, 2020, 09:35:45 am
yeah I know, it's not as far as you guys all go
For whatever it is worth Froze, I have done most all of my touring in 1 to 3 week segments and simply linked the segments over time together to complete the total/aggregated objective.  'Segment linking' (simply my terminology, not intended as any kind of official phraseology : ) has its pros and its cons just as full-on end to end (all at one time) has its pros and its cons.
3 greatest pros / benefits to me of doing a single segment at a time are:
(1) Get to learn from all my mistakes and endeavor to thus improve on the next segment;
(2) Get to keep dreaming of (& thereby having good reason for staying in decent physical shape) being out there again in the quest of completing the current ultimate 'end to end by segments' objective;
(3) Was able to keep a business running & intact (per your above stated management matter), as I was not on tour beyond a business b-r-e-a-k-i-n-g point.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: Twitch on December 01, 2020, 09:43:04 am
"I’m never in a hurry, never trying to get somewhere"


This is interesting and I'm enviousof you for it. My biggest problem is that even on tour I always feel like I have to get to the next place and I often don't even know where it's at. I don't know why I feel I have to contnulally push on even when I have all the time in the world with no deadlines but it just seems to be part of my psyche.  Left over habits from my days of employment and the stress of deadlines and getting things done, I suppose. I'm working on slowing down and smelling the roses, so to speak, but still struggle with the idea that I have to be in constant motion.  Any suggestions?

Not sure what specifically to suggest. And I should be clear, I am not a super experienced bike tourer. But I do have a very high stress, high speed, high impact career that bike touring is supposed to help counteract for me. One thing that has helped us touring with the kids (6 to 14 years old across our experience).  My natural tendency is to do a Bataan style forced march to get as many miles as possible. But with the kids that don’t enjoy that. So we go slower, stop more often and just don’t worry about the distances or speed or things like that. I don’t have a bike computer, I don’t track speed or whatever.  Maybe it helps to try to focus on the journey and the experience and the relaxation and embrace it rather than thinking of it as a goal to be accomplished. It may help (maybe not) to not journal the trip, don’t post daily updates to Facebook or wherever. Internalize the trip and time and experiences. Just some thoughts, no idea of this will help or not.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: froze on December 01, 2020, 01:12:41 pm
yeah I know, it's not as far as you guys all go
For whatever it is worth Froze, I have done most all of my touring in 1 to 3 week segments and simply linked the segments over time together to complete the total/aggregated objective.  'Segment linking' (simply my terminology, not intended as any kind of official phraseology : ) has its pros and its cons just as full-on end to end (all at one time) has its pros and its cons.
3 greatest pros / benefits to me of doing a single segment at a time are:
(1) Get to learn from all my mistakes and endeavor to thus improve on the next segment;
(2) Get to keep dreaming of (& thereby having good reason for staying in decent physical shape) being out there again in the quest of completing the current ultimate 'end to end by segments' objective;
(3) Was able to keep a business running & intact (per your above stated management matter), as I was not on tour beyond a business b-r-e-a-k-i-n-g point.

Till I retire that's what I'm thinking of doing is what I think you're saying.  So I'll use my home as the home base, then go outward 2 or 3 days, spend a couple of nights there and come back, the next trip find another place to go to and do the same thing, I would sort of be creating a bicycle wheel with my home being the hub. 

Another idea my wife and I had was we take our travel trailer and go someplace then I leave from there and go out a day or two then come back to the trailer.

I have a property rental business I own and if someone has an issue then I have to be near home to it fixed myself, or send my guy out, which I can send my guy out with a phone call, but if he needs to get parts then I have to be here to go to a home improvement place and buy the stuff so he can do the job; or if a unit comes up vacant then I have to be home to get it put back into shape and get it rented fast.  I know when I retire my wife wants to take a trip to Europe, so I'm going to have to get a management company when that happens, I have a friend who also owns rental property but he also runs a property management company, so I think he would be willing to do it, for the usual 10% fee from the rents.  Problem is, he's my age, I would think someday he too will want to retire, they'll probably sell everything, between him and his brother they own over 100 buildings.

Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 06, 2020, 09:08:04 am
We live in the "information age" and I work in high tech. We are simply overwhelmed by data - so much input that our sensory systems start to overload and shutdown.

I have trained myself to observe and listen when I am outside, and I try to spend as much time outside as I can. When I drive it typically do it in silence just to give my brain time to catch up.

I am amazed at the things I hear and see outside that other people do not notice, unless I point them out - deer standing in the forest that no one noticed, birds overhead, a scent on the breeze, they way the birds stop singing or start making a racket.

#1 -Unplugging for long hours outdoors is the best part; #2 followed by the human interaction when people put aside their biases and react at the human level to share stories or to offer help; #3 being bone tired versus brain tired at the end of the day.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: froze on December 06, 2020, 04:34:04 pm
We live in the "information age" and I work in high tech. We are simply overwhelmed by data - so much input that our sensory systems start to overload and shutdown.

I have trained myself to observe and listen when I am outside, and I try to spend as much time outside as I can. When I drive it typically do it in silence just to give my brain time to catch up.

I am amazed at the things I hear and see outside that other people do not notice, unless I point them out - deer standing in the forest that no one noticed, birds overhead, a scent on the breeze, they way the birds stop signing or start making a racket.

#1 -Unplugging for long hours outdoors is the best part; #2 followed by the human interaction when people put aside their biases and react at the human level to share stories or to offer help; #3 being bone tired versus brain tired at the end of the day.

Just curious, how old are you?  I'm in my mid 60's so being old school I don't like music or yak going on while I'm riding, I want to hear what nature is saying, it really is musical if you listen closely, but it's also very relaxing, which I also found to be true when I bike camp and sleep outside, the noises from various animals and insects are amazing, even when it rains and all the animals and insects are quiet, the sound of the rain and even thunder is extremely relaxing and it just lulls me to sleep.  It's weird but when I camp outdoors I will sleep for about 8 hours, but when I go home I can only sleep between 5 to 6 hours tops.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 07, 2020, 08:25:21 am
Froze, I am turning 68 in a few days. I just sold my company and plan to work through next year - maybe? Cannot go anywhere with COVID and I have few work goals to complete. I really wanted to do this with my wife, who is a bit younger and not ready to retire. My plan was to go 2022 while she worked her last year, since she hates mountains and doesn't care for road riding as much as rail trails. The rail trail across America is non-existent in places like Wyoming and crosses a lot of barren country, so I ruled that out.

The good new is that we have been watching You-tube videos of people's journals who did the TA and she is warming to the idea enough to get a Peloton bike and start training to see if she feels "strong enough" to do the Rockies. We both bought Surly Disc Truckers last year and have all the gear, mostly, for the trip. So now it is only a matter of physical and mental training. I know from my AT thru hike that the mental stamina is often more important then the physical. Sore muscles feel better after a hot shower but the feeling of defeat can be hard to overcome.

What I need to find is a YouTube video of a couple in their early 70's doing the TA. :D I am also starting to map out rail trail alternatives along the way, like linking to the GAP, which we know and love, and finishing in DC. Our last trip was in Damascus on those roads and climbs scare her the most.

If I buy maps now do they sell update kits that I can buy in 2 years?
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: froze on December 07, 2020, 10:09:54 am
I appreciate your response.  I have no plans at this time to sell my rental properties, in fact, I plan on keeping the business till the last one of us is dead than my kids take it over, that's how the trust is written, of course, whatever they decide to do with it once we're gone I don't care! but it was set up so that they too can retire and not worry about much.

I've read about people in their 70's doing cross country tours, but my wife has ZERO ambition to do that, plus physically she's incapable of doing such a thing.  That is why I'm trying to figure out alternatives to the Adventure Cycling trips they have just in case my wife gets anxious about me being away for 3 or so months.

One of the alternatives is that we have a travel trailer, we could take the trailer someplace, camp out for a week or so, then I go out from there on an overnighter or two someplace and return to the trailer than we just keep doing that across the nation.  Just something we're tossing around.

I don't know people who do what I want to do, everyone I know thinks I'm crazy!  LOL!!  I can't go with another woman that just seems weird being married and all, so it would have to be another guy, but I'm kind of leery about doing that sort of trip with someone I don't know from all the stories I've read about things going wrong between two guys who don't know each other spending that much time together, then things go bad and one up's and quits in the middle of the trip.

So either I do it with Adventure Cycling or I do it using the trailer idea.  I have to wait till I'm 68 due to my pension eligibility and my SS security benefits will be where I want it.  So I'll be 68 or 69 by the time I do the cross country trip.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 07, 2020, 10:36:04 am
I am exactly in the same boat as you. We have looked at travel trailers, we both own 2020 Ford Escapes and can tow a 15 ft trailer max. Talked about taking 2 cars and doing all rail trails together in sections, moving base camp as we go. I could then ride the open road sections, and maybe mountains, solo with her running SAG. Seems like a lot of work.

Over the past 3 days her interest level has risen dramatically. this morning we are looking at the Great American Rail trail - East to West and then linking onto the TA by riding from Casper WY, to link to the TA in Muddy Flats, WY. We have already ridden the first 340 miles of that a few times so we would start on a known "ridden route" for her. Not so much pressure starting from the East, we can drive a one-way rental to the starting point. The urge to bail early might be more, but once your are a 10 days into the trip you are starting to hit your rhythm.

Partners are tricky and if you build your plans around them you usually wind up disappointed -- I saw this all the time hiking the AT. I hiked with partners over several sections, but none lasted from start to finish, due mostly to physical condition at the time, motivation and frustration, or injury. I saw sisters, where one quit and the other wound up with all the equipment and 12 extra pounds to pack. Partners where one quit with the stove and cooking gear. That is one reason I was looking for a busy route if I ride solo. Partner for a section or a day, if it works great, if not then no hard feelings or ruined trip.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: froze on December 07, 2020, 12:22:32 pm
That's the exact same sort of stuff I heard concerning partners too, so I guess it's not a fluke thing.

If I ride alone I would follow the Adventure Cycling map system just so I know I'm close to things a person on a bike will need, as well as where campgrounds are, etc. And I am considering following those maps anyway if we use the trailer idea.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: BikePacker on December 08, 2020, 07:54:02 am
If I ride alone I would follow the Adventure Cycling map system just so I know I'm close to things a person on a bike will need, as well as where campgrounds are, etc. And I am considering following those maps
My 2 cents Froze ....
just light out on a 3 week tour every spring and fall .....
till you complete your overall / combined Pt.A to Pt.B objective,
by going solo and following the ACA Maps....
then, : ) do it again and again.
You will cross paths with lots of fun folks along the way.
You will have a blast going as per above. 
The freedom of it all is beyond measure.
The ACA bookstore has been selling for years a wonderfully informative book that'll layout all the pros and the cons
of all the different fun manners and approaches to Touring.....
Based on your posted comments you will love reading / studying it cover to cover ... "The Essential Touring Cyclist" ...  https://www.adventurecycling.org/cyclosource-store/search-results/sp/essential-touring-cyclist/ 
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: staehpj1 on December 08, 2020, 07:58:09 am
Simplicity
Rhythm to my days
People I meet
That comes pretty close for me.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: LouMelini on December 08, 2020, 09:39:38 am
It has been interesting to read the posts.
1. My first tour in 1975 changed my life with each subsequent tour refining who I am.
2. The simplicity of bike travel, the interactions with who you travel with and the kindness of strangers that you meet. 
3. The relaxation of camping. Having a cup of camp coffee on a chilly morning


To hikerjer: I will soon be 70. Slowing down for me, as you wish to do, has come with age, but only enough to keep it fun.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: froze on December 08, 2020, 12:35:03 pm
If I ride alone I would follow the Adventure Cycling map system just so I know I'm close to things a person on a bike will need, as well as where campgrounds are, etc. And I am considering following those maps
My 2 cents Froze ....
just light out on a 3 week tour every spring and fall .....
till you complete your overall / combined Pt.A to Pt.B objective,
by going solo and following the ACA Maps....
then, : ) do it again and again.
You will cross paths with lots of fun folks along the way.
You will have a blast going as per above. 
The freedom of it all is beyond measure.
The ACA bookstore has been selling for years a wonderfully informative book that'll layout all the pros and the cons
of all the different fun manners and approaches to Touring.....
Based on your posted comments you will love reading / studying it cover to cover ... "The Essential Touring Cyclist" ...  https://www.adventurecycling.org/cyclosource-store/search-results/sp/essential-touring-cyclist/

Thanks a lot BikePacker for all your thoughts, it's highly appreciated.  I actually have that book you recommended, I bought mine maybe 7 years ago, some stuff in it was outdated like camping equipment related things and including the bikes and now electronics is important, but the information mostly was very good even though with good searching you can find a lot this on the internet these days, in fact, I found stuff on the internet that I wasn't able to find in any book, like how to buy a lot of camping gear cheap and how to buy food cheap.  Wish the author would update the book, he's still alive at 67.
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: Smudgy on December 17, 2020, 01:31:43 pm
The top 3 things I like about bike touring? Easy....
Freedom.....Freedom.....Freedom!!!!!!
Title: Re: What are the top 3 things we like about touring?
Post by: BikePacker on December 18, 2020, 07:58:01 am
Freedom.....Freedom.....Freedom!!!!!!
Yeah Smudgy ...
just followin' the Sun and
making camp where ever the Sun sets (traveling west in Northern Hemisphere, of course : ) or
stopping sooner if I so wish ! ! ! ...
or, mebbe, even not ! ! !.