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

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    I have a good long time friend who is an experienced cyclist for fitness and touring. She's been a cyclist for the last 25 years. She is also career-wise a transportation policy analyst. Has handled cycling and transit matters.

    So someone who is very aware of her own personal experiences as well as some broader trends in active transportation, etc.

    She's been on 6 different group cycling tours -ranging from 1 to 2 wks. long per trip --in Quebec, U.S. and Europe. She has always found the co-ed cycling group tours very rarely attract single women. She herself is single..etc. She has not yet gone on RAGBRAI, RVSP, etc. type of rides. She's done some day long massive group rides in Ontario..and doesn't find it entirely her taste.

    She has done 2 solo bike rides on her..each over 1-2 wks. long.

    She also believes women who solo tour by bike with their gear on multiple day trips with overnights camping or hotel, are still rare. She has done 2 group tours with an all-women's bike touring company and is not surprised the U.S. market, can only support this niche type of bike touring.

    I'm probably a great example of being risk adverse ...I have not yet done 1 solo overnight bike trip yet. Even though I've cycle-toured with my partner on a wide range of bike trips on our own for the past 2 decades. Could I do one? Yes, for several nights, not camping, but hotel or b 'n b. But it would have to be a route where I felt comfortable dealing with road traffic between towns/cities. I also need to know the route well and not complicated by highway interchanges that I didn't know in advance. I have cycled solo for 100 km. in 1 day several times in the cities where I've lived and enjoyed the challenge.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 09-02-2014 at 04:52 PM.
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    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    13,394
    I wouldn't do it, either, but neither would my DH! We all have our limits. DH just wouldn't want to be responsible for everything, and he wouldn't camp at all. We did one supported (sort of) tour with camping and we found that while we like camping, we don't like it when it's combined with riding.
    I don't especially enjoy long hours in the saddle by myself. My navigation skills are just OK, and frankly, I like to know where I am going, conditions, etc. I am always anxious in the beginning of any ride that I haven't done before, whether it's in my area or not. I've trained myself to calm down, but being on a group tour makes me feel safe. I don't necessarily ride with the group, but I am always with one person. I just don't like the feeling of being out there, alone.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    1,973
    I think I would be willing to go for a short distance, but would be more comfortable with at least one riding partner in case of a mechanical problem. I don't mind camping but it would depend on the area.

    I've just done one 2 night weekend camping trip with my husband so far.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
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    5,897
    I know some single women who do touring. Sometimes with an organized group, sometimes unsupported on a route they planned themselves. I'm pretty sure they're always with at least one other person, though I think that's as much for companionship as anything else.

    I absolutely would not go on an overnight bike trip by myself, for safety reasons and also because it is just not the type of trip I would want to do without having someone else to talk to. I would not do any camping trip alone, related to cycling or not. If I was interested in a multi-day ride, I would do it as part of a group as long as I either knew the group beforehand or it was with an established company.

    But honestly, I'm not interested in doing multi-day rides, at least not at this point in my life. Maybe down the road sometime.

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    959
    I'm headed on a solo tour tomorrow, and certainly understand what all of you are saying. I will admit that I would certainly think about where I am going a bit more when going solo, but it just didn't work out for my normal group of friends... and the last one bailed on me yesterday. So with vacation planned and the shop closed, well I certainly couldn't NOT ride.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
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    1,231
    have a great tour ridebikeme!!!!

    I do day rides by myself a lot. Some of my routes have other women riding alone too. I’ve enjoyed the adventure of camping multi-day rides by myself for a number of years, especially in Europe. On a few of those rides I’ve also come across another single woman rider to ride with within the first few days. I found a lot of women riding alone on Ragbrai when I did that with some friends. When camping I usually carry my hammock, which can be used as a tent when needed and has a rainfly, bug net and is less than 2 lbs.

    I’ve done self-defense martial arts for a number of years as a confidence builder with the physical ability to quickly cause injury if I need to. Although I don’t think about it much I’m sure that it helps mentally and emotionally when I’m riding alone.
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 09-03-2014 at 11:46 PM.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    Good range of responses so far. During the first 8 yrs of returning to cycling, my partner and I did cycle tour with our own gear and camped 50% of the time on several multi-wk.long bike trips..trips he made up. I trust him alot because he is a well-informed cycling advocate and has strong knowledge of bike routes for several major Canadian cities and understands which roads to avoid, etc.

    I could not imagine myself attempting to camp on my own because dorkus me, simply didn't even know how to put up a tent before I knew my partner. Camping in various wilderness parks where I live..means truly dealing with the reality of bears, etc. I think I could attempt an 1-2 day overnight bike trip that would blend in cycling, sea ferry ride and onto bike routes in Vancouver Island and some of the islands. But it would have to be hotel, b 'n b. More urban cycling instead of just wilderness cycling for days and days. There are some freakin' isolated areas ...and really, I wish that Canada wasn't so friggin' big at times!! Meaning lack of services for 100-200 km.

    Do consider the reality of how to deal with going to the washroom on a big expanse of prairie ...with no trees. Just going 50 km. ouside of the city where I live, that's what it is.

    I don't have great wayfinding skills...which amuses dearie to no end.

    In all the cities where I've lived, I've cycled long distances by myself quite often. I don't mind it..I feel quite safe at any time during the day, because they are routes I've learned to stitch together after cycling them with dearie. I also know where I'm riding, that I'm not far from services, people to ask for detailed directions, etc. I don't ride at night solo often for just fitness/recreation...Night riding only happens for work commuting.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 09-04-2014 at 04:15 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,162
    I actually know several women who have done multi day tours by themselves. We had the pleasure of interviewing Leana Niemand this summer, she has been traveling for 7 years, primarily by herself.
    Personally, I have yet to do an overnight or multiple overnights by myself - the opportunity just hasn't presented. I am also someone who enjoys riding with a few others, simply because I enjoy sharing so
    the attraction of going off alone for extended periods of time isn't there for me.

    Regardless, I think it is good to always be aware and be prepared. With today's ability to "keep in touch" via internet, phones, spots, etc. I think riding alone isn't "as risky" as a decade or so ago.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    S. Dak.
    Posts
    488
    I do solo overnight biking trips with organized rides most summers and enjoy exploring new countryside and meeting people with like interest. On some rides I'm blessed to have my dh or ds ride with me. I like having a route planned and marked (with sag support) each day. I always feel safe -even tenting - which I enjoy after I get the tent up. There are not many bicyclist in this area and not many roads to bike on so new territory is an adventure. My hubby is a farmer so during our cycling season he is mostly too busy to cycle.
    A few years ago I did a week self-supported camping tour by myself. I did a lot of planning with option B's for backup. My dh picked me up and we went on together to ride the beautiful Minnesota bike trails. Yes I would go solo touring and enjoy the trip but enjoy and worry less with a companion along.
    My dh and I have biked the transamerica across US self-supported, so I learned a lot about camping from my hubby. Bear country camping is a hassle and would not want to do that alone.
    If you are thinking about overnight bike rides definitely do it with friends first to see how you enjoy it. Credit card touring is very easy if you plan and have the funds for the expense.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
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    We haven't camped for our self-made loaded bike touring trips for the last 15 years...just found it tiring to spend time tenting and decamping after cycling 100 km. each day for several consecutive days with our own loads. It left us very little time to explore the area where we stayed since we usually wanted to shower, have dinner, etc.

    I hear all the details, triumphs and little troughs for long distance bike touring when dearie goes on solo bike touring trips for several weeks for the past few years. There is a reality why I seem to cycle solo lots: he is not always in town while on such trips, I have a full time job while he has been retired for awhile. Initially I used to feel sad about this but when cycling became my main form of transportation for myself, my attitude about riding solo changed: I had to do this for myself. For my own long-term mobile independence and health. Alot of my friends except for the friend in the start of this thread, just cycle occasionally on very short trips around town (which is ok) but seeing one another means talking at length when we don't see each other often. Hence, it's impossible for us to talk deeply and for several hrs. while cycling.

    Wishing ridebikeme, cosc great solo cycling adventure. Please share soon. i knew in person a well-known VAncouver cycling advocate...65 yr. grandmother who cycled-camped across Canada, as a retirement gift to herself. She is a gracious woman and was instrumental in leading some of the VAncouver-based efforts on cycling instructure improvements.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 09-05-2014 at 01:55 PM.
    My Personal blog on cycling & other favourite passions.
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know what’s in a person’s heart.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,394
    I felt the exactly the same way about camping and riding, ShootingStar. If I were to stay at one campground and do rides out of the campground and stay there for a week or so, that would be fine. It was the setting up, breaking down, etc. that both DH and I disliked. I'm at the stage of life, though, where I can afford and look forward to staying in a B and B. We've met so many interesting people traveling this way. We rarely stay in hotels, unless we are in a huge city and there's a lot of choices.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    959
    Well, it was certainly a short trip, but one that was a lot of fun! I think like many of you, I ride solo most of the time, my schedule doesn't always fit with some of my friends. But, I will admit that I do enjoy riding with others.

    Trip.. some great miles, always a challenge to get over Dixfield Notch with a full loaded bike, but I enjoy the challenge. New England is such a great place to ride, and something that I never get tired of. More details will be on the shops FB page(chasecyclery). And "no" I never get tired of taking down the tent; it's just part of the adventure.

    Have a great fall everyone!

 

 

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