Author Topic: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?  (Read 4713 times)

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Offline Dullboot

How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« on: May 30, 2016, 05:36:30 am »
HI I am relatively new to cycle touring, although I have been riding road bikes for 7 years.  I have a touring bike, camping gear and have done a couple of tours of 3-5 days, learnt a lot. 
My other half is always worried about me, I was bowled over by a car back in 2009, but no incidents since.  Although I have taken her out on a tandem regularly, she is not one to want to go camping at all.  Her idea of tough going is a hotel that doesn't have wifi.  So the possibility of going together really doesn't come up.  We have both travelled widely, and both lived in the US about 20 years ago, so it is not a worry about strange environments.
I want to do a long tour, such as the transamerica trail, and am confident that I can manage this.  Years go past and it doesn't happen.  The ACA book on the TAT has simply rekindled my determination.   But it is going to be a real challenge to sell this to my wife.  If I am 30min late coming home from work she gets very worried.  How is 3 months going go over?

Any thoughts on how I can manage this, or has anybody had the same experience?


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Offline DaveB

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2016, 07:42:42 am »
If she will ride with you on the tandem but isn't willing to camp, can you consider a "credit card tour"?   That is, you carry your clothing and accessories on the bike but stay in hotels/motels and eat mostly in restaurants.  So no tent, sleeping bags, etc. and minimal to no cooking gear.  It will obviously be more expensive but should get past her dislike of camping.

Offline jamawani

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2016, 10:02:17 am »
Tell your partner that touring is not safe. But then, nothing in life truly is.
In the long run, touring is safer than sitting on a sofa watching reruns of Mad Men.

There are ways to reduce your risk considerably -
With online resources, you can ride low-traffic roads as much as possible.
You can avoid those times of the day - rush hours -
and of the week - weekend party-time - that are riskier.

Camping is a pleasant component of touring - for most, not all, people.
Camping gives you more stopping options - especially in remote areas of the West.
In some national parks, you have to have reservations months, if not years, in advance.

Some campgrounds look like Walmart parking lots - but others are magical.
Don't know where you live - but is there a nearby park with hiker/biker or walk-in sites?
These take a little more effort, but are more often the picture-book experiences that many imagine camping to be.
Try a nearby single-night car camp so that extra stuff is close at hand.
Then perhaps a weekend by bicycle.

It could be that she is just not the camping type -
And age sometimes has something to do with it for some unknown reason.
(Not that there is any correlation between stiff joints, hard ground, and age - of course.)

Hope all goes well.  -  J
« Last Edit: May 30, 2016, 10:04:13 am by jamawani »

Offline John Nelson

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2016, 12:17:29 pm »
There is nothing inherently more unsafe about being 1000 miles from home than being 50 miles from home. People who worry often envision a crazy psycho attack. But why would you think there are any more of them somewhere far away? Worriers also think about you lying in a ditch somewhere where nobody will find you. Really, what are the chances of that? If you're not opposed to constant monitoring, consider a SPOT (http://www.findmespot.com), but don't promise a phone call every night, because it may not always be possible.

Offline Dullboot

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2016, 03:46:33 pm »
Thanks all for your replies.  Yes to worries I am lying in a ditch somewhere, have heard that more than once!  Good suggestion for an overnight, will try that, probably with a credit card.  I can't see her going on a one to three month trip, but it may dispel some of the worries by making things more familiar.  Will look into find me spot, sounds good. 

We live in New Zealand, so going overseas for bike touring involves significant travel.  But there are only so many places to see on an island in the Pacific.


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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2016, 04:28:12 pm »
You might try one of the emergency GPS locator beacons, the premise being that she (or the local emergency service) will get a notification if you're injured badly but can still push the "something's bad wrong" button.

I don't know that there's much sense arguing, to be honest.  You're trying to counter an emotional response with cold logic.  It doesn't really work.  FWIW, I've settled (for now) with my wife by taking supported tours.  She's vastly reassured that I'm out there with a group of other people.  I don't think it makes any difference to my safety, but it keeps the peace.

Offline roderick.young

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2016, 06:54:16 pm »
She sounds like a city girl.

How about she joins you for the first two weeks, driving a support car?  Then you could have some meals together, and she could see what the conditions are like.  She can still check into a motel, or maybe you can both check into a motel 90% of the time.  The couple days in a campground would be so that she can see everything is fine, there.

If you do not have international calling on your phone, it might be a good idea to buy a couple prepaid phones (TracFone, for example) as soon as you touch down in the states.  You'll find them at Walmart or just about any department store.  There is good cell coverage on the TransAmerica, so you should be able to check in with each other from almost anywhere.  I'm not entirely sure, but think that most of the prepaid phones include calling to first world countries (like NZ) with no premium charge, so you could keep and use the phone to keep in touch even after she goes back.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2016, 12:32:29 am »
All of the above are good ideas.  However, touring is not really safe.  You are very vulnerable to the errant distracted driver.
Get a mirror and learn how to use it.  Learn how to take the lane when necessary.  Watch cars coming from behind.  You'll learn to detect possible lane wanderers, etc, soon.  In 60 years of riding and over 35 of touring, I've left the road many times because of bad drivers coming from behind.  I've also left the road because of drivers passing coming at me in my lane.  I know a lot riders don't use a mirror.  That's their choice, but they are completely at the mercy of drivers from the rear taking them out with no warning.

Anyway, learn to ride safely and get lots of practice.  You can tilt the odds in your favor.  Although I've been in several bike accidents, and a few with cars (right hooking me both times), I have learned, and it's been years since I've had a problem.

I don't think you can honestly tell her that riding is safe.  I've also spent decades rock climbing and mountain climbing and my wife knows all of this is not safe, but also knows that I am experienced and examine the potential dangers and work to minimize risk.

BTW, without these "risky" sports and the adventure and joy they bring, I would not be a happy husband.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Dullboot

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2016, 05:17:45 am »
Thanks all.  Have splashed out on a 'findmespot' device.  When I told my wife about it, she offered to pay for it.  Yes she is a city girl.  I had an accident back in 2009 when a car pulled out in front of me, I went over the hood.  I think that makes her more nervous, but it has actually made me a safer rider.  I am very selective where I ride, and I do use a mirror.  No accidents since 2009, although I did fall over a couple of times when I couldn't get my foot out of the pedals fast enough!  I do like the idea of getting her to drive.  If nothing else, it will convince her that I'm doing what I want to, and she won't worry quite so much.  Not getting any younger, got to do some good tours before my knees or hips give out!


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Offline staehpj1

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2016, 06:56:27 am »
If the Spot device sets her mind at ease it is probably money well spent, but in my opinion touring is not especially more dangerous than "normal life".

One thing I will suggest, and I think this is very important.  Don't over promise how much you will stay in contact.  On my first long tour (TA) I made the mistake of promising to be in touch more than I actually wound up doing once on the road and it definitely strains a relationship.

On the TA I gave the impression I would be calling daily and then there were times when I didn't call for multiple days in a row.  Don't do that.

I have since found it way better to set expectations low for how often you will call, text, or email home and then meet or exceed those expectations.  For me it works best if I say up front that there may be times when I won't think about calling during the daytime and then won't have a signal in the evening and that it could be multiple days of that at times.  Then she is happy when I manage to call fairly frequently and at least text most days.  I do find that it is often easier to stay in contact by text messages and emails where cell signals are spotty since they go through better on a poor signal and will drain batteries less.  I definitely don't promise to be available to take calls and leave the phone off when not actually using it.  I also set expectations for any calls to be brief.

To sum up...  When expectations are set low and exceeded it is WAY better than setting high expectations and not meeting them.

indyfabz

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Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2016, 11:34:24 am »
^^This. And please convince your partner not to freak out if she doesn't hear from you for a couple of days. That happened a few years back with someone. I don't recall the exact details, but a family member of a young person who was riding across the country did just that. She started a thread on at least one forum (possibly this one) saying the kid was missing and asking if anyone had seen him. He was fine. IIRC, he accidentally left his phone on, the battery died and he couldn't get it charged for a few days. Whatever the exact details, he was never in any trouble. He simply couldn't get in touch.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2016, 02:21:40 pm »
staehpj1's comment about communicating made me smile.  Long, long, long ago, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the ice age was happening, and all the volcanoes were exploding, and the caveman hunted the wooly mammoths, I rode around Europe for a whole summer.  I called home three or four times during the summer.  Every few weeks or so.  Had to use those fancy gizmos called public pay phones.  Wild and crazy times back then.  Cowboys and Indians riding around shooting and bow and arrowing each other.  Computers had been invented.  So we were a year or two after the big bang starting the whole dang universe.  I used WordPerfect to write my resume.  Don't think email was invented yet.  Few years before AOL was big stuff.  I guess I am extra lucky I am still alive and returned from Europe upright.  I am going to start building my bomb shelter in my basement now.  Maybe I can crush up some Litespeed frames to get titanium.  And go to the grocery store to stock up on food.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2016, 08:19:14 pm »
You might point up some statistics from ACA how many people have done this over the years without having any problems.

Offline Prairieboy43

Re: How do I convince my partner touring is safe?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2016, 09:57:01 pm »
Good idea regarding the mirror. I will give it a go. My wife also refuses to ride. Oh well!! I still love her. We both just like different things. She likes gardening, cats, and drinking coffee. I like cycling, hunting, fishing and of course gardening. Need some common interests.  ;D ;D


Thanks all.  Have splashed out on a 'findmespot' device.  When I told my wife about it, she offered to pay for it.  Yes she is a city girl.  I had an accident back in 2009 when a car pulled out in front of me, I went over the hood.  I think that makes her more nervous, but it has actually made me a safer rider.  I am very selective where I ride, and I do use a mirror.  No accidents since 2009, although I did fall over a couple of times when I couldn't get my foot out of the pedals fast enough!  I do like the idea of getting her to drive.  If nothing else, it will convince her that I'm doing what I want to, and she won't worry quite so much.  Not getting any younger, got to do some good tours before my knees or hips give out!


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