Author Topic: Women who've gone x-country alone?  (Read 9514 times)

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Offline shoemidity

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« on: June 21, 2006, 04:11:31 pm »
Hi! I'm planning to ride cross-country by myself in late summer. I'll be camping most of the way. I'm really excited, but my plan is causing my family members considerable anxiety. If you are a woman who has done a long tour by yourself, I'd love to hear from you how you handled security... and any other issues that came up. Thanks so much!


  • Guest
Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2006, 09:39:11 am »
Hi, Shoe.

Be sure to read the thread "Safety--women travellers" about seven lines down on the contents page of this group. It already contains most of the answers you can expect here; interestingly not one by a solo woman traveller. However, Molly should soon be done with her trip and perhaps will tell us how it went.

The friend I mention there is riding somewhere in Spain just now, so I cannot put you in touch with her, sorry. She has said that she does nothing special beyond the normal cautions about avoiding situations that don't feel right. My wife says the same.

Not much help, I know, but the best a man can do.


Offline crm

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2006, 03:31:30 pm »
Hi, I am going to Spain in late August and spending three months with my bike. I am going to concentrate on Spain, might go into southern France, but will probably make my route after I get to Madrid where I will stay with friends.  I would love to hook up with your friend who rode in Spain, if she were willing to be in touch.

Thanks, crm

Offline Mira!

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2006, 06:44:21 pm »
You might check out Denise Goldberg's journals at  She's done a lot of solo touring.  

There was a woman in her 50's that did the Southern Tier solo last summer, but I can't remember where to find her blogs, or even what her name was.

I'm excited for you!  I play with that idea but haven't "gotten there" yet with the cross-country.  I'm going to start with smaller steps.


  • Guest
Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2006, 09:28:19 am »
crm wrote:
I would love to hook up with your friend who rode in Spain, if she were willing to be in touch.

Sure. Please send me an email (address in my profile) and I will forward it to her so she gets your address. I'm not sure when she will be back in the States, but she is a good communicator.


Offline valygrl

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2006, 08:46:12 pm »
DO IT!!!

I rode across the states in 2004, solo about 75% of the way.  I rode the Lewis & Clark from Astoria to Bozeman, then made my own route the rest of the way to New Jersey.  By the way, I'm 5'2", small build, and fairly girly looking.

I mostly camped in developed campsites and RV parks, spent a few nights in city/county parks, a few in people's yards/houses/RVs, and a few in motels.  

The biggest safety concerns were 0) traffic 1) dogs 2) cities 3) very poor rural areas.   I carried mace for "bad dogs and bad men"  but never had to use it.  Mostly people were super friendly and helpful to me as a solo woman.  The few times I had a "bad vibe" about a situation, I just moved on as soon as possible.   For example, once I was planning to camp in a city park, but after getting panhandled a couple of times outside the grocery store, I just decided to get a cheap motel room instead.  I think if you just keep the radar on, and project an attitude that you are strong and can take care of yourself, not a victim, you will be fine.  

I did a few things to protect myself.  When people asked me where I was staying that night, I was vague or said I didn't know yet.  I didn't ride at night.  I didn't free camp much, and when I did, I checked in with the cops.  I checked in with camp hosts whenever possible, and asked them to keep an eye on me.  When I did free camp, I tried to set up at night, rather than hang around advertising my solo presence for hours before dark.  At the same time, I tried to find a place to sleep long before dark, so that if things didn't work out as planned I had time to find something else.  If people asked if I was scared, I told them No, I'm carrying Mace.  I asked locals about where it was safe to ride and stay.

One of the big lessons of my cross country tour was that people are basically good, especially in small towns.  In cities, people are sick of each other, but in small towns, they are friendly and helpful.  This does not apply to extremely poor rural areas -- those were some of the scariest places.  In those areas, people may percieve a cycle tourist as a rich freak, and want your money.

It's a little different for women, I agree, but I wouldn't let it stop you.  The cars and dogs posed a stronger "objective danger" by far than the human threat.

Anyway... feel free to email if you have more questions.....


Offline 5thdown

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2006, 03:41:35 am »
This discussion is played over and over again on this forum...and for good reason.  It is most precarious for solo women.  Besides all the common sense, here are a few extras: 1) When talking to a stranger, look back as if you are riding with and waiting for someone and make a vague mention of "a companion". 2) Wear earthtone "dowdy" clothing to make yourself look less attractive.  3) Mace is not good enough.  Carry Bear-Spray by U-Dap.

Safe riding,

Offline shoemidity

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2006, 01:23:03 pm »
Hey, thanks everybody for your words of advice and encouragement. I'll exercise a little caution and hopefully have a great time.


Offline BicycleCharley

Women who've gone x-country alone?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2006, 12:39:43 am »
In 2003 I met a solo female rider in Yellowstone that was/is from England. She was going the other direction than I was, but stopped to yak fer awhile. She started in Seattle, was going through to Florida, she was having a Blast!

Strangers are Friends
I haven't met yet,
Friends are Strangers
I haven't left yet!