Touring - Need advice for first tour
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05-25-09, 06:41 AM
Well, I'm just about done accumulating all the gear you need for a self-sufficient tour and now I need a little help with the next step -- trying to figure out where to go and how to plan a route. Ideally, I'd like to ride out my driveway and come back 7 days later. Or another option is, I could take a bus to Boston and then have quite a few options for taking a bus to another starting point from there. Should I plan a route based on where the campgrounds (or Warmshowers hosts) are? Since I'm in very hilly terrain, I wouldn't plan on more than 30-35 mi per day fully loaded for a first tour and no stealth camping for me so what is the protocol for mapping out a tour of one's own? I suppose I could try the Adventure Cycling Green mountains loop or something like that, but sounds like a lot of work (i.e. gigantic hills) to me and I'd rather opt for something flatter for a first time out. And I definitely need to know a route in advance -- I'm in it for the joy of riding most of the day and relaxing by cooking dinner at a campground in the evening. As a woman most likely going solo, I'm not up for too many surprises otherwise. Thanks for any route planning tips!!
When I plan a bike tour, the first thing I do is decide where to ride. Next, I pick my starting point. Then, I begin trying to piece together a route.
I have never toured on the East Coast and have no knowledge of southern New Hampshire, so have no destinations to suggest. But, if you know that you want to do 30-35 miles/day and want to do 7 days of touring, I'd just pick a place that is around 100-130 miles away and aim for that. You could ride to a park/campground situated near some nice hiking, ride there, take a rest day for some hiking, and then ride back.
As for choosing the route, after I pick my starting and stopping points, I check the ACA for route maps, ask here for suggestions, look on mapping sites like bikely.com, and check any biking maps I can find. Since you are in Southern New Hampshire, check out these bike map sites:
New Hampshire bike maps: http://www.nh.gov/dot/nhbikeped/maps.htm and http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/bikemore/map_results.cfm?state=NH&submitstate=true
Massachusetts bike trails and parks: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/recreate/biking.htm
This page has some vague maps of proposed bike routes in Massachusetts: http://www.massbikeplan.org/mapsANDgraphics.htm
Have a great time!
Why go to Boston? Northern NH and Vermont have excellent cycling, you're more likely to find campgrounds and hostels, and you don't have to spend a big chunk of your vacation riding buses and hanging out in bus stations. As a woman traveling solo, how much time do you really want to spend in the Boston Greyhound station?
For a 7 day tour and your first tour, I would definitely keep it simple by going driveway to driveway. Another option would be to hop a bus to North Conway and start riding from there. Definitely not flat, but there's a lot of pretty country around there. If you insist on flat for your first tour, hop a bus to Burlington, VT and ride around Lake Champlain. If you're feeling adventurous, hop a bus to Burlington and ride back home.
Along with the Warm Showers list, here's a couple more sources for cheap lodging:
05-25-09, 04:28 PM
WOW, if I was lived that close I would go to the Mount Washington/North Conway area. If you are really up to a challenge do the Kancamangus Highway from Lincoln to Conway.
The Berkshire Hills offers a mixture of mountain, flat and trails to tour on.
You have so many wonerful places near you to tour.
Just go anywhere and enjoy yourself. My first choice is to leave and return home by bike, second is to get dropped off and return home and my least is to have to pack up the bike for airplane travel. Anytime that you can leave your bike together that is a bonus.
7 * 30
I would do a city pair which is that distance round trip. That way you can either come back in an emergency or catch the city pair you are trying to reach for services.
Example I ride in a loop Phoenix to Globe Arizona 200 miles in three days. Globe is not really halfway, but close enough as in the only populated town, and how the route is laid out a welcome sight.
I suggest finding a loop route. Could be a ranger station I might add or anything for that matter.
05-26-09, 06:30 PM
I like the idea of starting and ending a tour from my front door. Zero gas, zero pollution, totally green. However, when I plan a big tour I usually look at exciting, far-flung locales, so I end up driving or taking the train to the starting point. I've rented a car at the end to get back home, or had a friend come pick me up, or even taken Greyhound.
You have a lot of options. Of course, there's also the choices of where to stay - campgrounds, motels, bed and breakfasts, road angels, stealth camping, etc.
You've got a lot to think about. Have a great tour!
05-26-09, 09:49 PM
05-26-09, 10:34 PM
road angels?Nice people you meet that offer you hospitality. Some of them are quite famous, such as the Cookie Lady.
05-27-09, 06:51 AM
I really like staying at a campground or doing the warmshowers thing. I'd only do a motel/B&B if weather conditions were horrendous. I may end up doing the ACA green mtns loop just b/c I can probably ride to that one from my front door, I'll have to check on the availability of campgrounds and such though. I've seen some pretty scary campgrounds, so that part makes me a little nervous. A nice campground or state park is a good thing, though.
05-27-09, 05:54 PM
I just got done with my first self supported tour. It was 35 days, 2100 miles. Only plan I had was what google maps spitted out and I did some slight modifications when I looked at the street views of the shoulder. I did not have any arrangements of stops. Out of the 35 days I only pitched tent half the time. I used CouchSurfing (http://www.couchsuring.org) a lot and warmshowers (http://www.warmshowers.org) a couple of times. I also had 3 nights of people inviting me into their house to stay the night. They all over heard me asking around at a gas station for a location to pitch my tent.
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