Welcome guest, is this your first visit? Click the "Create Account" button now to join.

To disable ads, please log-in.

Shop at TeamEstrogen.com for women's cycling apparel.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 24
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051

    Women & Warmshowers/ couchsurfing

    To disable ads, please log-in.

    I just completed a 6-week bicycle tour with my Dad. We visited 40 Missouri State Parks. We camped in the state parks and in one private campground.
    Next summer I want to add to my collection of state parks and state historic sites by going around the perimeter of Missouri. While the first tour was designed to take advantage of the camping in state parks-- in fact, our tour was hosted by Missouri State Parks and we did not pay campground fees!-- this second tour will pick up 32 state parks & state historic sites most of which do NOT have camping. Therefore, I'll have to find other accommodations.

    Also, my dad isn't joining me for this one. He is biking to Atlanta next summer. Plus, I want to do this one more freely, less structured, and he won't be comfortable not knowing where he's going to sleep that night.

    My plan is to use warm showers and couch surfing, to ask at churches, fire stations, gas stations, and in a pinch, just ask a family if I can pitch a tent in the yard.
    My question is about how I go about this, as a lone woman.
    Now, I'm very intrepid and fearless and trusting. Yet I have my limits. On my 40 Missouri State Parks trip, I admit I was very concerned about getting hit by a car. I've taken the bike class, hell, I teach the bike class. I know all about traffic. But rural highways are just more dangerous. And, in 1400 miles of Missouri state highways, we had ZERO incidents.

    So, I suspect that my fears about using warm showers, couch surfing, and asking if I can pitch a tent in the yard, will result in ZERO incidents and I will come away from this with an unshakable faith in humanity.

    And yet-- my courage can use a little bolstering while I'm planning this trip. That's where you come in!
    I would like you to tell me YOUR EXPERIENCES as a lone female using warm showers, couch surfing, and pitching a tent wherever. If there is anyone out there who has ever done such a crazy thing?
    I would NOT like you to tell me what you THINK might happen, what you FEAR could happen, what you HEARD happened to some random stranger in a city 3 states away. (Unless those are happy warm feeling stories. Then you can tell me.) Please no fear mongering here! Go start your own thread for that

    Thank you!
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    I did two solo tours when I was younger and had no trouble at all. In my thirties I did a couple of solo motorcycle tours. I didn't just pitch a tent wherever, though. I camped in "official" campgrounds, state parks for the most part - there was just once when I wound up in a stranger's living room on a rainy night, and I honestly don't even remember how I got hooked up with them, most likely asking around the fire station as you mention, but it was totally fine. Some friends of mine in Florida are Warm Showers hosts. They've talked about some of the people they've met that way, how interesting it's been for them, and never mentioned hosting anyone who'd had a bad experience elsewhere.

    My first solo tour I count as one of the best experiences of my life. It's self-sufficiency and meditation time like no other. I really had no clue what I was doing, so you'll be way ahead of me. Bought my first helmet a week into that trip, after meeting some other cycle tourists who were wearing them.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    glens falls NY
    Posts
    7
    I cannot tell you first hand experience but I can tell you a dear friend from Germany was in the states for a full year during a sabbatical and she traveled across the country by herself (in a car though not by bike). She used couch surfing for the majority of her trip and she had nothing but great experiences. I say GO for it! She is now in the process of writing a novel about her experiences

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    So this isn't what I did, but I hope you won't mind my sharing. It's someone currently traveling by bike and whose story I have been following (can't remember where I picked up her instagram feed). She has been inspiring me lately!

    Website

    Instagram

    Her Instagram photos mostly have little stories attached to them. She has been camping in random places, staying with random people, and seems to have had a fabulous time.
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    Quote Originally Posted by Blueberry View Post
    So this isn't what I did, but I hope you won't mind my sharing. It's someone currently traveling by bike and whose story I have been following (can't remember where I picked up her instagram feed). She has been inspiring me lately!

    Website

    Instagram

    Her Instagram photos mostly have little stories attached to them. She has been camping in random places, staying with random people, and seems to have had a fabulous time.
    Wow, she's from Emporia, KS-- I was there a few days ago on my Kansas Flint Hills bicycle tour with some friends. Thanks, these are just the things I needed to hear! I'll spend some time this winter reading journals of solo women bicycle tourists.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Here is the solo women category on Crazy Guy on a Bike. Good for many hours of reading. Karen Cook's are good (though I think she planned a little more), as are Heidi Domeisen's (she did 3 major tours without a lot of reserved places). I'm sure there are many, many more! Good winter reading!
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    Melavai, you should read Denise Goldberg's journals on Crazy Guy on a Bike. She did an almost full cross country trip alone a few years ago... She was an active poster here, but then she got into photography and hiking, although she still rides. I used to ride with her a lot, but I haven't seen her in quite awhile. I occasionally check out her blog.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,556
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    Melavai, you should read Denise Goldberg's journals on Crazy Guy on a Bike. She did an almost full cross country trip alone a few years ago... She was an active poster here, but then she got into photography and hiking, although she still rides. I used to ride with her a lot, but I haven't seen her in quite awhile. I occasionally check out her blog.
    Oh yeah! Another good recommendation! I think she might have pulled her journals off CGOAB though - I seem to recall she had a licensing issue with them. Not 100% sure though....
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    She has her own blog, too.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Oslo, Norway
    Posts
    4,083
    Melalvei, you may not find this relevant since I've never traveled in the US, but here are some of my experiences of travelling alone as a woman, hiking and camping in a tent.
    Norway: in the woods and in mountain areas, I feel safer than in my own bed. Never met anyone frightening in any way.
    France and Spain: rural and mountain areas, people were almost all extremely friendly, anxious to help, surprised I was alone. One strange encounter with a lonely shepherd who suggested I join him in his hut for a romantic encounter, but when I politely declined he just sighed and shook his head. I'm not making this up. A bit more staring and catcalling in the cities than I liked, but nothing scary.
    Romania and Bulgaria: rural and mountain areas, plenty of strange looks, but no unpleasant situations. I was pretty much left alone as an obvious outsider (blonde, wearing western gear). One creepy guy in a village campground who hid in a hedge and started making kissy noises at me, but when I marched up to his plot later and yelled at him in front of his wife he completely ignored me.
    In general my experience is that people are nice. And a lot more worried about you than you are. You stick out as a lone woman, and may find it hard to just blend in. Confidence and a lowkey 'boring' manner helps.
    Winter riding is much less about badassery and much more about bundle-uppery. - malkin

    1995 Kona Cinder Cone commuterFrankenbike/Selle Italia SLR Lady Gel Flow
    2008 white Nakamura Summit Custom mtb/Terry Falcon X
    2000 Schwinn Fastback Comp road bike/Specialized Jett

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,981
    Confidence and a lowkey 'boring' manner helps.
    Great advice. I haven't yet cycled solo and overnight camped myself but in general have travelled solo and stayed in hotels, etc.

    We have hosted around the world cycling tourer from the Netherlands. (This was over 20 yrs. ago!) I had corresponded with her on an open cycling forum for several months before she asked..
    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.

  12. #12
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,677
    Interesting to hear about people's experiences. I was talking with a potential bike touring buddy yesterday and we were discussing ideas for doing some trips next year, and Warmshowers came up in the conversation. I think the concept is cool, but it's hard to make the leap of trusting total strangers...especially when thinking about hosting as a single woman. I think that would have to be limited to having someone camp in the yard rather than letting them into my house. The good thing as a guest is that you always have the option of saying "thanks but no thanks" if you feel uncomfortable for any reason. Personally, I think that if I were traveling with a buddy I would be more open to using Warmshowers than if I were solo.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Probably much more than safety from potential "bad guys," I'd worry about water and bodily functions when camping in random places. How much water will you be able to carry with you? How far between places you can refill? How much do you think you'll need for dishwashing, and how long can you go between sponge baths? (Two days is about my limit before my skin starts walking away without me, but I'm soft. ) Is the soil and privacy situation always going to be conducive to digging latrine holes? Cornfields are great for #1, but you don't want to disturb the roots of someone's crops, and I have no idea how often you'll be going through woods that are deep enough for privacy but sparse enough that roots won't prevent your digging.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    california
    Posts
    1,201
    I’d recommend SPOT— it beams your location via text, email or emergency notification to people you choose. Long rides alone on desert and mountain roads and solo hiking made me get it. It will also let friends know your okay and where you are on your adventure especially when you don't have cell service.

    National and State Parks are usually patrolled but I’d have the phone number of whoever is on call at night and program it into my phone for a quick call.

    I also usually have an Anne Mustoe, Josie Dew etc. book to keep me company.

    You also might find women on wheels interesting
    Last edited by rebeccaC; 09-21-2014 at 04:41 PM.
    ‘The negative feelings we all have can be addictive…just as the positive…it’s up to
    us to decide which ones we want to choose and feed”… Pema Chodron

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    Quote Originally Posted by OakLeaf View Post
    I'd worry about water and bodily functions when camping in random places. How much water will you be able to carry with you? How far between places you can refill? How much do you think you'll need for dishwashing, and how long can you go between sponge baths? (Two days is about my limit before my skin starts walking away without me, but I'm soft. ) Is the soil and privacy situation always going to be conducive to digging latrine holes? Cornfields are great for #1, but you don't want to disturb the roots of someone's crops, and I have no idea how often you'll be going through woods that are deep enough for privacy but sparse enough that roots won't prevent your digging.
    That's much more hard core than I'm willing to do! I've heard places to try are churches, schools, fire stations, gas stations, and people's yards. I don't plan on stealth camping. In Missouri, you can camp in Conservation Areas although there are no facilities. But those tend to be well off the beaten path and I'd be bringing all my own water. I'm not bringing a water filter and hoping to find a pond. (ew.)
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

 

 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •