Touring - Bon Ton Roulet
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01-16-10, 07:48 AM
Thinking of doing the Bon Ton Roulet this year. Anyone do this and opinions of the trip?
If you enjoy camping style tours, you'll probably have a great time. The advantages are it's well organized, the routes are well marked, it's a beautiful area to cycle in and the traffic is light to non-existent on many of the roads. The downside is the food is mediocre, you're competing for bathroom space with 499 other people and you're sleeping on the ground. You eat mainly in school cafeterias and fire houses. A good effort is made to serve the riders, but as you can imagine, serving 500 people is not easy. The variety and nutritional value of the food was decent, but by the end of the week I was craving some restaurant meals and was tired of eating off of plastic plates with plastic knives and forks. Several of the days you could only pass through the serving line once and I was still a little hungry afterward. There were some lines and sometimes you had to wait a while, but you have to expect some of that with that many people. I talked to several people who had done trips with 3 or 4 times as many people and they were impressed with the Bon Ton, saying the services like the number of shower stalls was better on the Bon Ton than it was on the larger trips. The area is challenging to ride in. Except for two days I rode the longer route and ended up with 413 miles and 18,420 vertical feet. I do think it's an excellent value for the money.
01-17-10, 09:21 AM
Thanks for the info
01-28-10, 08:56 AM
Did it in 2006. My thoughts:
Riding in general was nice and mostly on low-traffic roads. I don't believe there were any short and long options back then. Some climbing, including a few killer grades, but no one day left me spent. Route markings were o.k., but not super. There was a huge route marking mistake one day that sent people riding in circles in one town. And instead of saying "Sorry" they said "Oh well".
Didn't have any noticeable waits in line except for maybe the first dinner. However, I was an early starter and early finisher. Camping areas were generally fine as were shower/bathroom facilities
Meals in camp were mostly mediocre to poor, although the first and last dinners were decent. The food en route each day was lacking. In fact, I don't remember eating much except my own Cliff Bars and Gu. There was no lunch stop included in the price. I would end up buying lunch at the end of each day's ride. I have done Cycle Oregon three times. Many consider it to be the Grand Daddy of supported camping events. If CO is a 10 when it comes to food (and it is), Bon Ton is maybe a 6.
One nice feature is that if you stopped at the featured wineries along the route you could buy wine and SAG would pick it up and hold it until the end of the tour.
There was also a major brain fart by the staff. The penultimate day it rained buckets. I mean buckets. Camp was at a ski resort. Whoever unloaded the baggage gave no consideration to topography. They placed the baggage in a depression at the bottom of one of the lift areas. While the luggage was covered with a tarp, many peoples' bags were sitting in 6" of water.
As mentioned above, I have done CO three times. As such, maybe I have been spoiled when it comes to supported events.
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