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Thread: Solo Touring

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    34

    Solo Touring

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    Hi, I've fallen in love with cycle touring. I've done only a couple of supported tours, but never an independent one. In November '09, I'm planning to take my first solo independent tour(South Florida), well trial tour(4days total), in preparation for the big one. I'm a female, and can not find anyone that wants to do this sort of thing. So, I took a hint from another forum that I read stating, "if you can't find a partner, go by yourself,"and this I am plannig to do. I'm really trying not to be held back by fear of going solo. I need to hear some opinions on this plan, be it pro or con. Also,any advice or tips to be offered up. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    1,193
    Go for it!

    Really, that's all the advice you really need. What do you need other people for? When you are by yourself, you have the luxury of traveling at your speed, stopping where you want to stop and choosing the route that you find interesting.

    The thing I found on my tour, as opposed to a group ride, is that I am forced to interact with the locals wherever I am. There is no hiding behind a group leader - and people tend to want to talk to you because you are obviously an interesting person - riding your bike on a tour, and all. A solo tourist is approchable.

    If you need inspiration, look on http://www.crazyguyonabike.com. Several TE members have journals up there. Denise Goldberg has gone on several nice cross-country jaunts, to name but one. I have a journal posted there (Spring Fever 2005), also.

    Don't forget to take pictures.
    Give big space to the festive dog that make sport in the roadway. Avoid entanglement with your wheel spoke.
    (Sign in Japan)

    1978 Raleigh Gran Prix
    2003 EZ Sport AX

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    682
    Have fun! I've never done a supported or a group tour, although sometimes while traveling solo I'd meet up with people and travel with them for a day or two. But I'd always extract myself quickly--I liked the freedom of going at my own pace and setting my own agenda for the day. I'm generally not a loner--I love my family and group of friends and enjoy traveling with them at other times. But on my bike, I'm happier alone!

    You'll probably want to decide in advance if you want to just play things by ear each day or set up a schedule and determine where you're going to stay each night. I always liked to set my schedule a few days at a time and then call ahead for a bed (I was staying in hostels). If I didn't have a bed for the night I'd try to arrive at my destination by 3 p.m. in case I ran into problems finding someplace to stay. And of course you'll want to be pretty adept at fixing the most common mechanical problems with your bike if you aren't already.

    Good luck!

    Sarah

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    34
    Wow! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!! Now I'm beginning to loosen up.
    I just ordered my Burley Nomad Trailer, and making a list of items to take. My plan is to camp at different campgrounds(pre-scheduled). I want to camp for two nights going and two nights coming back. Since this is my trial tour to get a taste for how this independent stuff will work, I'll only travel about 100 miles going, and reverse the same coming back.
    I'm so hyped now.........thank you again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    Good luck on your trip!!! When will you be leaving? Sounds like you've got it all worked out and that you will have a GREAT time. Please report back when you finish and share all about it.

    My only worries when touring is my hubby. I haven't done any solo tours because he worries too much about me. I'm not so worried, and am a very free-spirited nomad, but he's the one that worries about my safety.
    It's sweet, and I love that he worries about me, but...
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    34
    I'll be leaving on November 12th, and my birthday is November 14th. So, I'll be out there on my b-day which is the kick start of my decesion to do"EVERYTHING" in life that I've always wanted to do, putting all fears aside. And I don't even know where I'm going yet, but I am going.......

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    That sounds awesome! What a great birthday gift to yourself!!!!
    Certainly can't live life in fear. Gotta do what you want (which means some solo tours next summer for me- even if it makes DH a little or lot worried).

    You go, girl!!!!
    Check out my running blog: www.turtlepacing.blogspot.com

    Cervelo P2C (tri bike)
    Bianchi Eros (commuter/touring road bike)

    1983 Motobecane mixte (commuter/errand bike)
    Cannondale F5 mountain bike

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    633
    I have traveled a lot solo (not on a bike, just in general). I used to sing with a large chorus, and after a concert tour, I'd always take off by myself for a week or so; I got a LOT of questions from other women in the chorus about this. "You're going by yourself??" "You're traveling alone??" I never understood this! It's not as though I was going off on a trek across Antarctica without so much as a windbreaker -- we were in Europe! What, I was going to get eaten by a bear while trying to find a hotel in Basel?! Sheeeesh!!

    Anyway, I've never been on a cycle tour, supported or otherwise, but will be cycling the C&O Towpath (184 miles) by myself this fall. I'm really looking forward to it!! For me, the challenge is the ride itself (couch potato here), not in the lack of company. Heck, I ride by myself all the time; the only difference for this longer ride is the overnights, and heck, I've stayed in plenty of hotels by myself!

    You ride by yourself, yes? And you've camped, yes? Well, then, you're just combining the two, and will have a blast! And what a great, great way to spend your birthday!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    34
    So, so, so, inspiring! I feel so sane.It's those that present the apprehensive questions are the ones that are insane. I just finished reading MomOnBIKE Spring Fever journal of 2005, the name for her bike is William. I found that to be so nice, because the name for my bike is Douglass, named after a dear, dear friend that is no longer with me, but now he is.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Conifer, CO
    Posts
    72
    I have done quite a bit of solo motorcycle camping. So far, I have never had a problem and have met plenty of great people. I made a decision about 10 years ago that I would not let fear stop me from traveling and camping alone.

    Now, of course you should always be aware of your surroundings and who is in the vicinity. Take the normal precautions as any women in the USA needs to do, but don't let it stop you.

    I really enjoy doing these things alone. I also enjoy my trips with friends, but I think my solo trips have been some of my best.

    Here is a picture of my "bike" on my last trip.

    Burning fat, building fitness . . . one mile at a time . . . one hill at a time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Spokane, WA
    Posts
    818
    Go for it! You'll have a blast. My sister and I recently completed a week long tour. We were with a group but spent much of the daily ride time in our own little cycling world. It was great to stop and talk to the locals. They were all very friendly to a couple of women on bikes. As much as we enjoyed being with the group, we both decided that group touring is not for us. Our next trip we'll be on our own.

    Just one piece of advice. You said you have ordered a trailer? I tour with my trusty BOB trailer and just love it. It's taken a few trips to really set this in my mind. Just because you have room in the trailer, doesn't mean you have to fill it up! I really thinned down the extra stuff on this trip and still ended up walking some of a 2 mile hill that was a 9 -10% grade. The walking was almost harder than riding. Hills happen! Well maybe not in Florida. Just remember to pack light. I actually challenged myself on this trip to bring less. Other than my wind vest, that I forgot, I didn't miss a thing. Look foward to hearing your ride report. bikerHen

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    S. Dak.
    Posts
    490

    solo touring

    I finished a 6 day solo unsupported ride a few weeks ago. My 4 panniers, tent, and touring bike was much heavier than my carbon bike. Keep this in mind and think about alternative camping spots, in case your body or weather says enough for one day.
    I wrote up a ride report, but my computer froze up and I lost it when trying to add pictures.
    I found people were much more friendly to a touring cyclist than when on a regular ride. My tour started from home, so the same people that pass without a smile, were now waving at me.
    I had all good experiences and felt safe, except for the one too many trucks.
    I hope you have a great trip.
    Last edited by cosc; 08-21-2009 at 06:18 AM. Reason: spelling

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    34
    I just picked up my Burley Nomad Trailer a couple of days ago. Took less than one hour to put it together. I took it out for a trial, packed it with about 20lbs, which is probably not alot, but I was so, so pleased with how easily it pulled. This trailer tracked really nice. There was a couple of times when I forgot I was pulling the trailer and ran up hit the curb(no damage). I will have heed the given advice and remember to pack light, because the space will tempt you to fill it up. Outside of what I've already have packed, I will be adding at least 10 more pounds including my U-locks.

    I have been ridding in the same area for about one year, and see the same faces often. The ridders are pretty friendly and will usually smile and wave. When they saw the trailer tacking, I was surprised by those who wanted to stop and have a conversation about the trailer and my plans. The trailer is surely an attention getter and conversation piece.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,318
    I'm just curious, and please feel free to disregard these personal questions, and please don't read anything into it -- I'm trying to figure out if I fit into the group of women who could do a solo tour.

    How old are you and how fit are you? Do you have a family? Husband, kids?

    What's your motivation for taking a solo tour? Do you have a personal goal you hope to achieve?

    I think it's a very exciting idea. Every time I'm out on my own, in my last few miles of a 20+-mile ride, I think how great it would be to take off on a solo tour.

    I just finished a cross-country drive with my daughter, and it was excellent. I love traveling like that. I think I could do a short tour, but I'm not sure about a long one.

    You're really inspiring me here. Thank you! And good luck with your packing.

    A while back, when I was contemplating doing a tri, I asked what to pack in the transition bag and got some great responses. What would you ladies pack if you were going on a solo tour?

    Roxy
    Getting in touch with my inner try-athlete.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    34
    Hi Chann,
    No, I have no problem with answering your questions. I am 48 and will be 49 in November. I think I'm quite fit. I cycle 4 to five days a week, doing 50 t0 70 miles each ride(no hills in South Florida). I do light weights(power 90) 5 to six days a week before or after cycling. Two teenage sons, and I'm a graduate student- working part-time, which gives me a bit of time to take tours, at least for the next two years. And also being the big "D"(divorced) helps. Only the passion for cycle touring has inspired me. What I'm hoping to achieve, as stated earlier is to simply do everything that I've wanted to do and not be put off by fear.

    As for packing, I really was sure what to pack outside of the given, such as, tent, sleeping bag, ect. I read some of the tour journals listed on Crazy Guy on a Bike website, and tailored my list from others.

    If this is what you like, as one lady stated here, "Go for it!"

 

 

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