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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean

    Go with flow? or detailed planner for bike trips

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    Admittedly I just let my partner plan the bike routes for our loaded trips. His style of planning has been and continues to be..book first 1-2 nights somewhere, then leave it loose in between when he is unfamiliar with the area (ie. unpredictable hills, lousy weather, etc.) and book last 1-2 nights. Middle of trip, we might try to book a place 1 night in advance if I know I can do the distance after a few days of consecutive loaded cycling.

    Looking back, it worked out ok especially when we would roll into a strange town, I would choose the local b 'n b or hotel without much prior research. He left the non-camping accommodations to me to choose. We've had some great surprisingly nice accommodations --on the fly..

    I like to have a general idea of where we are going in advance for a multi-day/multi-wk. bike trip. But I prefer not to get overly detailed in knowledge in advance, about the road grades or whatever difficulties lie ahead. I seem to do better, not knowing TOO MUCH to freak me out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    I like the "go with the flow" approach as well--that way you can spend more time in an area if you like it, or go further than you expected in a day and not feel like you have to stop at the place you booked. I've only once been stuck in a town after dark with no place to stay, and I was finally able to beg a bed at the fully-booked youth hostel. But generally I've had good luck and prefer to not be too tightly tied to one itinerary.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Uncanny Valley
    I think as long as you're prepared to camp, go-with-the-flow makes it a lot more relaxing. But these days, hotels tend to book much closer to capacity than they used to. (Now, at this exact point in time, with the economy being so depressed, maybe that's not as true as it was two or three years ago.) We've had at least three experiences that I can remember off the top of my head, when we've been touring on the motorcycles, pulled into the town where we intended to stay, and come to find out that everything within a 50 mile radius was booked. Not fun and not particularly safe when you're exhausted at twilight/after dark on a motorcycle. Not even possible on a bicycle.

    So I definitely wouldn't count on hotel facilities without a reservation. But what we often do now is just make a reservation at someplace where you can cancel the same day. Even calling ahead in the early afternoon is almost always enough. As long as we pay attention to what time it is, and cancel if we need to before the deadline when we have to pay for the room, it kind of gives us the best of both worlds, planning-wise.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Spokane, WA
    We just finished a short tour, and found it better to go with the flow. Plans change when out on the road. Pushing to a destination is not always a good thing. As when I stop for a breather, while we were looking for the turn off to the campground we wanted. I spied a campground across the highway and said "we are staying there!" It was a bit noisy, but after 70 miles pulling a loaded trailer in 90 some degree heat, it was time to stop. And they had free showers!

    The next day, when the short easy ride I had envisioned, turned into 40 some miles of rollers and 2 miles of a 5 -8% climb, a motel won over the campground we had planned, especially since a sudden change in the weather, and it was in the low 40's that night with lots of rain and thunderstorms. bikerHen

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Tigard, OR
    I think the hybrid technique you've been using is a great idea. When I plan tours (and I use the term loosely), I try to arrange it so at the end of the day I'm somewhere there are multiple camping options. This way, if I don't like or can't make it to the place I actually want to go, there is probably someplace else I wouldn't mind going.

    This has bitten me once. I ended up doing 110 miles across a mountain range. My original plan was to stay someplace just after the summit of the pass. However, I was low on food so I opted for the last campground because it was fairly close to town (and food). It ended up being closed.

    By some weird thought process, I decided it would be better to ride the hilly 50 or 60 miles home rather than stop, get food, then ride the four miles back uphill to the first one that was open.
    re-cur-sion ri'-ker-shen n: see recursion

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    WA State
    I'm a hybrid type too. When we did our 2 weeks in Spain we booked the more touristy areas where finding an open room might be hard, but left some of the in between stops open to what we found. It was nice to be able to be flexible and we never had a problem finding a place to stay (of course we were not there during tourist season...) One place did lose our business. We started into a courtyard area in front of the hotel with our loaded bikes and an old woman chased us out with a broom....
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N



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