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  1. #1
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    First question of many

    I'm looking at retiring in the spring of '08 and thought it was time to start planning what has been a dream of mine for the last twenty years but I'm wondering if I'm not about to bite something off that is to big to chew.Basically I'm planning on selling the house and storing the junk for a couple of years and hitting the road. The plan is to leave home and head to Anchoage then to Halifax,Miami,San Diego then to L.A. and catch the big silver bird and head off to Sydney,ride out the top,go around Australia and back in the bottom of Sydney and return to complete the loop. Never having toured before and not a rider am I planning to much.Looking foreward to your comments.

  2. #2
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overthehillmedi
    I'm looking at retiring in the spring of '08 and thought it was time to start planning what has been a dream of mine for the last twenty years but I'm wondering if I'm not about to bite something off that is to big to chew.Basically I'm planning on selling the house and storing the junk for a couple of years and hitting the road. The plan is to leave home and head to Anchoage then to Halifax,Miami,San Diego then to L.A. and catch the big silver bird and head off to Sydney,ride out the top,go around Australia and back in the bottom of Sydney and return to complete the loop. Never having toured before and not a rider am I planning to much.Looking foreward to your comments.

    Sounds like a blast. Why not pose tis question in the "touring forum" and see what those folks also say. There are a lot of experts there?

    Also, on USENET in rec.bicycles.rides are some great touring folks. Chuck Anderson of Boulder immediately comes to mind, as he has done similar things and is our age.

    You can find that forum on the "Google Groups". YTou might try this link, but I don't know if it will work if you aren't registered:

    http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.bicycles.rides
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  3. #3
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great thing to look forward to. Personally I'd probably enjoy the planning and preparation as much as the actual touring. I seem to get a kick out of that for some reason. I was surfing a site over the weekend and came across a fellow in California that started in Southern Cal and had worked his way up to Alaska and parts beyond. Lots of pictures with captions to go along with it-like a documentary of sorts. I'll see if I can find the link.

    Based on his experiences it probably helps to be a decent mechanic-especially fixing wheels....Also if you plan to camp I hope you can enjoy a pretty basic meal plan!! I'd be right there with you but I've got to get my kids out of college first...

  4. #4
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overthehillmedi
    I'm looking at retiring in the spring of '08 and thought it was time to start planning what has been a dream of mine for the last twenty years but I'm wondering if I'm not about to bite something off that is to big to chew.Basically I'm planning on selling the house and storing the junk for a couple of years and hitting the road. The plan is to leave home and head to Anchoage then to Halifax,Miami,San Diego then to L.A. and catch the big silver bird and head off to Sydney,ride out the top,go around Australia and back in the bottom of Sydney and return to complete the loop. Never having toured before and not a rider am I planning to much.Looking foreward to your comments.
    Do you plan to all of your land touring on a bicycle? I would suggest that you start some riding now. I love your idea.

    You know Australia is awfully big. You might consider combining your biking with a little car or bus travel. At least ou could chew a little at a time that way. Even by car, a decade ago, I found narrow roads and slow going from Sidney toward the top.
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  5. #5
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    A friend of mine did the same thing when he retired at 58. He was a very good runner, but hadn't cycled more than 10 miles at a time in 20 years, and didn't really do any training--he bailed out of the Silicon Valley before the crash, five years or so ago, and had enough money to do just about anything he wanted. He bought a Trek tourer and everything the local bike shop said he'd need (panniers, color-coordinated clothes, Gore-Tex etc), took a basic bike repair class and hit the road. Went all the way from San Jose to Fremont, Calif., the first day, probably 20 miles. It took him four days to get to Sacramento, and he stayed there with his son for three or four days. He came through Reno, where I live, at the end of the second week--that's about 260 miles total, and he flew home for a few weeks from someplace in Kansas, then flew back and resumed the trip. Eventually, though, he wound up in Massachusetts, and he did several 100-mile days toward the end.
    I've lost touch with him, so I can't tell you how to contact him, but I think there were three keys to his success. One, he was in excellent shape generally, though not a cyclist, and from running marathons, he was able to tolerate the discomfort that always comes on trips like that. Two, he was in no hurry at all--there was nothing to rush for and no one waiting for him at home, so if he wanted to ride five miles one day, or lay up somewhere to recover, he could. Three, money was NO object. If I made that trip, I'd be counting the pennies and staying at Motel 6. He pretty much rode between five-star hotels.

  6. #6
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    While you've dreamed of this for 20 yrs. a lot can change to
    both you and your abilites. How is your health? How is your
    stamnia? Are your REALLY sure that you want to chuck it
    all now or is this a fantasy that kept you going all the years
    on a job you may have hated?

    What are your real reasons for even thinking about this radical
    lifestyle change?

    Answer these questions to yourself by being brutally honest with
    yourself,mate. if it's still a go then have a great time.

  7. #7
    Volvo (Latin: I roll)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tightwad
    While you've dreamed of this for 20 yrs. a lot can change to
    both you and your abilites. How is your health? How is your
    stamnia? Are your REALLY sure that you want to chuck it
    all now or is this a fantasy that kept you going all the years
    on a job you may have hated?

    What are your real reasons for even thinking about this radical
    lifestyle change?

    Answer these questions to yourself by being brutally honest with
    yourself,mate. if it's still a go then have a great time.
    You are certainly the square shooter, Tightwad. But, you have a point.

    For many years I had a dream of buying a sailboat and sailing off to the Caribbean. A few years ago, I gave up on that. I bought a bike and a kayak instead.

    I worked with a guy for a couple of years that sold everything he owned that wouldn't fit on the back of his bike. He left Florida, heading west to Calfornia. He made it to Missouri and decided he liked here well enough to go no farther. He rode his bike back to Florida once to visit family and then back to Missouri. He was also a photographer. He helped pay for his last xcountry trip by taking pictures and making kitchen magnets from them, selling them at flea markets and such. Quite a character.

  8. #8
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    Australia could be an issue given the temperatures and the need to haul water! There is a good book about the perimeter loop....crocodiles and cold beer or something. The crocs weren't as much of an issue as some of the wide open hotter'n hades spaces. That being said..my wife and I worked like dogs our whole life planning for a golden retirement. We never took more than 3 consecutive days off from work, cashed our unused vacation when we changed jobs. Monday will be the firs anniversary of Carol's death from breast cancer at 52. I wish we had just gone and done it. GO DO IT!!!

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsor
    Australia could be an issue given the temperatures and the need to haul water! There is a good book about the perimeter loop....crocodiles and cold beer or something. The crocs weren't as much of an issue as some of the wide open hotter'n hades spaces. That being said..my wife and I worked like dogs our whole life planning for a golden retirement. We never took more than 3 consecutive days off from work, cashed our unused vacation when we changed jobs. Monday will be the firs anniversary of Carol's death from breast cancer at 52. I wish we had just gone and done it. GO DO IT!!!
    Amen to that! Sorry about your wife's cancer. But, you gotta do things when you can do them. There will come a time . . . .

    My sis has pretty bad cancer, in some remission right now. She is doing a lot of things she always wanted to do. Nice she has the opportunity.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #10
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    The book that I tried to reference was "Cold Beer and Crocodiles" by Roff Smith....this guy pretty much went from a desk job to long haul cycle tourist on the learn as you go plan. If he had been too well informed, he might not have made the trip! One thing is for sure, when he finished, he was in much better fitness than when he started. At the time of his trip there had been some famous outback serial killings. One old gent sidled up to him and said "don't worry, after your murdered, I'll remember that I saw you and tell the police about you" oh boy!

  11. #11
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    That story is one of the reasons I'm in this pickle,I read the original story in a National Geographic serialization of the trip.Read the middle of a three part series and then had to track down the rest.Then a couple of months ago found out about the book and decided to order it from my local bookstore,got home with it at about one on a rainy nothing much to do day and spent the next few hours lost to the world reading it.That started the dreaming full force and I decided if he could do something like that why couldn't I and the dream has mushroomed from there.So go ahead and read the book,it's great but I'll not be held responsible for the conseqences.

  12. #12
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by overthehillmedi
    That story is one of the reasons I'm in this pickle,I read the original story in a National Geographic serialization of the trip.Read the middle of a three part series and then had to track down the rest.Then a couple of months ago found out about the book and decided to order it from my local bookstore,got home with it at about one on a rainy nothing much to do day and spent the next few hours lost to the world reading it.That started the dreaming full force and I decided if he could do something like that why couldn't I and the dream has mushroomed from there.So go ahead and read the book,it's great but I'll not be held responsible for the conseqences.
    You would probably very much enjoy the classic AROUND THE WORLD ON A BICYCLE by Thomas Stevens.

    In 1884, Thomas Stevens left San Francisco on a Columbia high-wheeler with the outrageous goal of becoming the first man to ride a bicycle across the United States. When he reached Boston, he decided to continue around the world, and soon sailed to London for the ride across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. The high-wheeler was heavy and cumbersome, his supplies were limited to socks, a spare shirt, and a slicker that doubled as tent and bedroll, and much of the country he traversed was wild. Yet he persevered, recording his colorful and often harrowing adventures during the three-year odyssey in a classic of 19th century adventure and travel writing.



    You can easily get a copy from Amazon.com or you can download the digital version for free from the Gutenberg Project.

    At any rate, I think you will greatly enjoy. You might even agree, it should be consider required reading before such an ambitious undertaking as you propose.
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  13. #13
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    There are several organised rides here in Oz which might just be a stepoff for you. Try one and see how you do and in the meanwhile you'll get to see some of our beautiful country which incidentally has plenty of water in all popular tourist destinations, some very remote. Any good cycling magazine will help you find a suitable ride.

    Here are a couple of links which will help;

    http://www.australiancyclist.com.au/index.php ,

    http://www.bigride.com.au/
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

  14. #14
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    Go for it. I retired in 2003 at agew 63 to ride across America. I enjoyed it so much and felt so good I was tempted to ride back from the East Coast.
    Before you embark on your odessey you might try some local touring. Cross Canada Cycle Tour Society which is B.C. based. It is for cyclist 55 and older. They do quite a number of B.C. tours including one up the Island highway right past your door plus much longer tours. Most trips are supported. Web site is www.vcn.bc.ca
    All the best

  15. #15
    Senior Member denisegoldberg's Avatar
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    Hey - that sounds like my dream too! Unfortunately I'm not quite at the point where I can actually see the year when I will retire...

    Seriously though, you might want to take a look at the journals on www.crazyguyonabike.com to get some ideas from the experience of others who are wandering on their bikes. Heidi Domeisen recently finished her almost year-long trek from North Carolina to Alaska and back again; you can find her journal at http://heidi.crazyguyonabike.com. There are many other interesting journals there too.

    Have fun planning and dreaming.

    --- Denise

  16. #16
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Great idea, but do some shorter tours first. I had never done a tour longer than 3 days when I finally took my bike to Europe 2 1/2 years ago. Liked it so much I went back the next year. Both trips were 18 days, including flights. I found out that there are low points during solo touring, usually when it rains, but there are also days when the scenery is boring, you get lonely, or you get a little sick of packing every morning and looking for acceptable accommodation athe the end of the day.

    Would I still condider a much longer tour? Yes. The highs are much greater than the lows. But I would be better prepared mentally than had I never done any touring. Would hate to see you sell your house, then decide you had enough after a month.

  17. #17
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    This reads more like a troll than a serious post.

  18. #18
    www.getafolder.com wpflem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berny
    There are several organised rides here in Oz which might just be a stepoff for you. Try one and see how you do and in the meanwhile you'll get to see some of our beautiful country which incidentally has plenty of water in all popular tourist destinations, some very remote. Any good cycling magazine will help you find a suitable ride.

    Here are a couple of links which will help;

    http://www.australiancyclist.com.au/index.php ,

    http://www.bigride.com.au/

    Lonely Planet has a cycling guide book for Australia and also one for New Zealand.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Machka toured Australia for about 3 months this last year. Maybe you can contact her about it. After doing a 1200km randonee, she and another toured around for quite a bit. I think she posts mostly in Road Cycling on this forum.
    I'd say, between now and then, try to do some touring vacations, even if not long, to get used to doing it, and perfect your camping/riding/logistics.

  20. #20
    horizontally adapted bentrox!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    A friend of mine did the same thing when he retired at 58...money was NO object.... He pretty much rode between five-star hotels.
    In my next life I want to be your retired friend.
    I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
    Good night and joy be with you all.

  21. #21
    Senior Member (Retired) gmason's Avatar
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    Go for it!

    Try these for inspiration:

    http://www.vittorio.nl/overal/index.html (in Dutch, but you will get the idea)

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/

    Cheers...Gary

  22. #22
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    Troll my @$$ (no offence). I'd say do it, the sooner the better. Just sort out your finances and possibly insurances well so in that in any unforeseen events you can always get back to (some) of your older life. You know, build in some safeguards and then just do it. I'd also advice you to consider a folder bicycle (see the subforum). They can be as suited to touring as any big size rig, the wheels are bulletproof and they make it way easier to catch a ride, bus or train. OZ has a "Yute" culture, that is to say Utility vehicles/pick ups abound. A folder can be tossed in no problem.

    Also pay attention to your materials, my tops picks for durability and reliability as well as lightness on the road (use search function on these boards): Titanium Spork , Home made "Bucket" panniers or small trailer, Hennessey Hammock/Tent, Steel framed folder (swift?, Bike Friday) camping towel etc. And make sure to share your progress on these boards!
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  23. #23
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Sowatchagonna do, wait until you're too old?
    Do it!

  24. #24
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - dang! can i come along?

    - i retired in '97, but three months later met my future wife... we get along great, and she'd let me go with no problems! i'm up to at least 30 miles a day on a bike and can pay my own way...

    :-)

    p.s. when i retired i was single, had a house, a boat, several british sports cars, and a steady retirement income... even had the extra cash for a beautiful 70-foot coastal trawler (talked w/a marine broker too!)... but then i got married... one word of [tongue-in-cheek] advice: Never liquidate pre-marital assets!

  25. #25
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    Yeh, get a partner/friend to come maybe! Twice the fun!

    As for the marriage thing Linux, i got two concepts for you ha ha :

    Sterilization! (I am)
    Pre Nup! (I well never ever marry anyone without one)
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