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  1. #1
    Senior Member dukes909's Avatar
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    Touring logistics

    New to touring. When doing short 1, 2, or 3 day tours, where does one leave their car while on the road biking? If I drive 500 miles to a place I want to tour, and assuming the tour is not one big loop, where do you leave your car? And, how do you get back to it? If you end up going one way, and then have to bike back the same route, this cuts the distance you can see in half. Please, no replies that state "bike to where you are going to tour", because that is not an option. Or, do all short tours involve a loop of some kind?

    Cheers!
    Duke

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Car? What car?

    OK, I have actually used a car to get to ONE short tour I've done, and it was a loop route called the Golden Triangle in the Rocky Mountains here in Canada. I drove out to the start, rode the 3 day tour, and arrived back at the start where I had parked my car.

    On all the rest of my tours I've either started where I live, or I fly out to where I'm going. But I've never done an out-and-back tour, they've always been loops of some sort ... that way you get to see different things.

    Also, I have used alternate methods of transportation DURING my tours. I've rented cars, taken trains, busses, and boats, and have even flown between areas where I wanted to cycle.

    If you just want to head one direction on your tour, my suggestion would be to find out if there's a train or bus service, or the option of renting a car, that will bring you back.

  3. #3
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Not owning a car is part of the dogma of my faith. If you own a car why would you tour on a bike?

    I've observed that US bike magazines have a lot or car ads, and others have few or little. If this fair or just part of my bias?

    I use public transport to get me to my starting point. Planes, boats and trains are my favourite.

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    In a way you mention it, by logistic – planning. You know itīs logic if the mountain will not come to you, you have to go to the mountain. Or if the bus or train will not come to you and bring you back to your car, you have to bike to the bus or train. Even short trips must be planned in a proper manner. Furthermore scenic places always include bus and train possibilities. To me it seems easy.

    During my touring I have often made trips in the opposite situation parked my bike (stored it) and then gone round trips by bus or train.

    But your question - I then think I would leave my car where I end up by bus or train

    Regards
    Per

  5. #5
    Hooked on Touring
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    On previous long tours I have simply driven up to a gas station in a small town and asked if I could leave my truck somewhere for the summer. I usually get strange looks but most of the time they say something like, "Just pull it into the field and leave me the keys in case we have to move it." When I get back I usually ask them to change the oil and/or do a tune-up. Of course, my truck is a 1985 Ford F-150 that doesn't mind being in a field all summer.

    If you are doing a short tour, most stations will let you park in back - usually for a small storage fee per night. That way your vehicle has some supervision while you are gone. I find that loops are best, but if you don't want to do an up and back trip - try to find a place with public transportation. Barring that - you can try hitch-hiking - but it isn't what it was 25 years ago. You might not get picked up at all.

    Best - J

    PS - Try rethinking up and back trips - - you see a different world on the way back because you are going in the opposite direction - - plus the weather may be different - - you'll probably be more observant for little things you missed.

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    Some folks contacted me once from a "hospitality homes" list I was on (cyclists who will put up other cyclists). They didn't need any beds. Rather, they simply wanted a place to leave their vehicle for a week. I said "sure". I'm aware of at least a couple of such lists, and if you're looking for a place in North America, I don't think you'd have any problem at all finding someone living in a location that's convenient for you and your vehicle.

    As for one-way routes, that's something you obviously need to work out yourself depending on the destinations. I've done many one-way routes by buying an "open-jaw" plane ticket, whereby you fly to one city and return from another. I've also utilized trains & buses many times for the same purpose. It's not a big deal. The arrangements depend on the regions/countries involved, and the type of transportation possibilities that exist.

  7. #7
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    From my city I've taken a 6 hour train ride with my bike to the start point and ridden back home to my doorstep, 3 days riding, 2 nights camping.
    I've also driven to just outside of a local Nat'l Park, found a secure place to park my vehicle in town, and explored the park by bike for a couple of days, including camping.
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  8. #8
    Tug
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    Sometimes it is necessary to drive to a destination in a car...God forbid!
    I recently did the Virginia Creeper rail trail in souther Virginia. I had to get there from upstate New York(Syracuse area). Would those self-righteous people that won't drive a car prefer that I fly to a nearby city in a plane that uses thousands of gallons of aviation fuel? I guess I don't think it is appropriate to belittle people for driving to a destination to see the beauty of the earth from a bicycle.

  9. #9
    Senior Member dukes909's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies eveyone. Rail and bus service is not available anywhere near I live, and I get the impression that for those of you who use it, it's on something other than Amtrak or Greyhound. Not sure the last time you've ridden Greyhound, (and I have), it is not a pleasant experience. Amtrak is laughably expensive compared to a car and where I need to go the route takes 2 days by train or less than 8 hours by car. I think a car makes sense in this case.

    Cheers!
    Duke

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukes909
    Thanks for the replies eveyone. Rail and bus service is not available anywhere near I live, and I get the impression that for those of you who use it, it's on something other than Amtrak or Greyhound. Not sure the last time you've ridden Greyhound, (and I have), it is not a pleasant experience. Amtrak is laughably expensive compared to a car and where I need to go the route takes 2 days by train or less than 8 hours by car. I think a car makes sense in this case.

    Cheers!
    Duke
    Assuming:
    1) there is no bus, rail or air availability;
    2) you don't want to do a loop;
    and 3) you want to drive to the start point:
    I think you will have to find some kind soul at your destination to drive you back to your car.

    Under the circumstances you describe, I would ditch condition #2. find a route that will get you back to your car via bike without doubling back -- i.e., do a loop.
    p.s., where are you going, perhaps people here can provide route tips?

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tug
    Sometimes it is necessary to drive to a destination in a car...God forbid!
    I recently did the Virginia Creeper rail trail in souther Virginia. I had to get there from upstate New York(Syracuse area). Would those self-righteous people that won't drive a car prefer that I fly to a nearby city in a plane that uses thousands of gallons of aviation fuel? I guess I don't think it is appropriate to belittle people for driving to a destination to see the beauty of the earth from a bicycle.
    I don't think anyone here belittled anyone for driving to a destination ... so just take a deep breath and calm down. And before you respond again, perhaps you should actually READ the responses. OK?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I don't think anyone here belittled anyone for driving to a destination ...
    I think he was talking about Stokell's response, which was pretty "dogmatic."

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukes909
    Thanks for the replies eveyone. Rail and bus service is not available anywhere near I live, and I get the impression that for those of you who use it, it's on something other than Amtrak or Greyhound. Not sure the last time you've ridden Greyhound, (and I have), it is not a pleasant experience. Amtrak is laughably expensive compared to a car and where I need to go the route takes 2 days by train or less than 8 hours by car. I think a car makes sense in this case.

    Cheers!
    Duke
    Well, actually, I have used BOTH the US Greyhound and Amtrak this past summer. I must say, for a so-called "super power" your country has got some serious work to do on your public transportation system!! I have never in my life seen anything so horrible. It was like something I had imagined would exist in a third-world country. Of the two though, I would have to say that Amtrak was slightly better - they were merely 11 hours late, but they were quite inexpensive, relatively comfortable, and treated my bicycle well. I couldn't say that much for Greyhound.

    However, in a pinch, they are useable.

    I'll add though that the trains and busses in other countries are much better. The British joke about their train system and it can be a little bit unreliable, but you can often cycle to the next town (10 kms up the road) and catch something there, or just wait an hour or two (unlike Amtrak) and something will come along. The trains in France were great, as were the conductors. Very helpful, on time, comfortable, inexpensive. The Greyhound busses in Australia were wonderful. I could just roll right up to them and they would accept my bicycle as is ... not even in a box, and for no extra charge. They were also clean and comfortable, they showed movies, and let us off to eat and use the toilet now and then too (unlike the US Greyhound). In Canada, Greyhound wants the bicycles in a box, and will charge for them, but at least the coaches are clean and comfortable.

    If you're touring in the US, I can see why you'd want to use a car ... I had to rent one when I was there this summer, too. It's sad that more viable environmentally friendly options aren't available to people down there. But that's a whole other topic.

    If you're touring in other countries though, definitely consider alternate methods of transportation.

  14. #14
    Senior Member dukes909's Avatar
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    Agree with everything Machka said except the part about Amtrak being inexpensive. A < 500 mile roundtrip by train costs more than $700 by train here. When my wife & I visited the UK we did complete trips for less than that which included airfare over there and a train pass. But that is the UK. Here in the US we are car-centric, and it will stay that way forever probably. Only the NE US has better rail service than the rest of us in rural America. Anyway, I'll make it work one way or another... Thanks for the replies!

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukes909
    Agree with everything Machka said except the part about Amtrak being inexpensive. A < 500 mile roundtrip by train costs more than $700 by train here. When my wife & I visited the UK we did complete trips for less than that which included airfare over there and a train pass. But that is the UK. Here in the US we are car-centric, and it will stay that way forever probably. Only the NE US has better rail service than the rest of us in rural America. Anyway, I'll make it work one way or another... Thanks for the replies!

    I took Amtrak from Sacramento, CA to Eugene, OR this past July and it cost me about $50 ... same as Greyhound. But then I was in the coach section, not a sleeper or anything like that, and it was only one person and one way.

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