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  1. #1
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    Moody blues on tour

    Haven't been able to find much discussion on the mental aspects of making the first trip. Is it a mistake to do a 7-10 day solo, self-contained camping trip for starters ?

  2. #2
    Hooked on Touring
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    Good Lord, no!
    It sure is better than starting out cross-country.
    Keep the distances reasonable - better to be on the easy side than the grueling side. Accidents happen when you are exhausted. Keep the weight down. Maybe stick to picnic food and have hot meals in cafes. Allow yourself to do less and enjoy more and if you have to - catch a ride back.
    Best - J

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    My first ever tour was cycling across the US by myself.

  4. #4
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamy
    My first ever tour was cycling across the US by myself.
    - brave lad (or bird?)

    - i've wondered about solo touring... there's something there about cycling by oneself on those miles?

    - how intimidating are the first 20, 30, or 100 miles?

    (i'd probably do some credit-card touring first)

  5. #5
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamy
    My first ever tour was cycling across the US by myself.
    But Dreamy - - you are truly one of a kind.

  6. #6
    Tour de World SteveFox's Avatar
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    ive done a bunch of little weekend/5 day tours, but my first really big one will be around the world.

    steve
    5 Days Till my Bike Trip
    Steve's World Bike Trip

  7. #7
    Senior Member jnoble123's Avatar
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    There are a few thoughts on BT101 about planning your first tour:

    http://www.bicycletouring101.com/Pla...tAdventure.htm

    I think that the advice that others have given about taking small steps, planning short distance days at first and allowing yourself plenty of time for fun and enjoyment will put you in a good frame of mind about touring by the time it ends.

    Good luck and remember to have fun no matter what!

    ~Jamie N
    Interested in Bicycle Touring? -- Bicycle Touring 101

  8. #8
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you are a people person and you are concerned about feeling lonely out there on your own for 7-10 days, why not choose a route that goes through several smallish towns. From my experience, people in smaller towns are usually very friendly, and seem quite pleased to see new people ... especially new people who are doing something somewhat out of the ordinary, such as cycling through their town.

    If you're in a farming community, you can really touch the people's hearts if you start sympathetically asking about how the crops are doing ... that's usually a good opening line, if people seem just a bit cool or suspicious of a stranger cycling into town. But usually simply riding up to the local grocery store on a bicycle will open all sorts of doors to conversation. Everyone will gather around and ask you where you came from and where you are going!! Total strangers will tell you about all their cycling experiences!! If you play your cards right, you might even be invited to supper or allowed to camp in someone's back yard!


    linux_author asked: - how intimidating are the first 20, 30, or 100 miles?

    Well, I've never actually cycle-toured solo, but I have done A LOT of solo cycling. My longest solo distance in one day was 383 kms (238 miles), and that was fine. I didn't feel intimidated at all ... but then, I did what I suggested above and chatted with the locals all along the way. Everyone was very nice and it was a great ride.

    I have also done some solo travelling ... sometimes with my bicycle, although not on my bicycle ... like when I'm travelling between places, or for about a week when I was injured in Australia. There were a few times when it was a bit difficult hauling my bicycle and everything around with me by myself, but other than that, I didn't have any trouble and I wasn't lonely. I talked to the people I met along the way and had a good time.

  9. #9
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux_author
    - brave lad (or bird?)

    - i've wondered about solo touring... there's something there about cycling by oneself on those miles?

    - how intimidating are the first 20, 30, or 100 miles?

    (i'd probably do some credit-card touring first)
    First, read my journal that is linked below. It called Solo Without Pie and comes from letters written home to my wife while I was doing a 3 week solo tour of the Midwest.

    There are somethings to be aware of when solo touring. I am a shy person in real life. I can write and discuss things on-line or on the page, but in person, I have troubles. So riding alone for a long period of time was not that hard, to begin with. Plus, when you ride along the Missouri River in Iowa, you'll find that there are fewer people there than you might think. Conversation was lacking for most of the trip.

    I break solo touring into 3 pieces. The first is the first week. You are excited and pumped up about the ride. It doesn't really matter that you are out there alone. It helps if you aren't afraid of anything and can think on your feet. Sure there are fears of breakdowns and where you can get food, especially in Iowa (I had less problems finding food in central Idaho and nobody lives there!
    Thank you Walmart ) and what happens if you get hurt or if you get lost. Those fear melt after just a few miles. I am usually so jazzed that I end up riding too much which I did on this trip and I hurt my Achilles tendon which hurt for the rest of the trip. But eventually I get into a rhythm of getting to camp in the afternood, eating early, going to bed when the sun sets, waking up to go the bathroom around 4 a.m., going back to bed and not wanting to get up until 8 or 9 a.m., breaking camp and getting on the road. That extends into the second week.

    During the second week, I have my routine fixed. I'm riding and writing and just having a good time but my weight is starting to drop and it's hard to keep enough calories and water on board. I start to get fatigued. By the end of 14 days, I'm starting to doubt my choice of 3 weeks and 1000 miles. I do call my wife every night but it's hard to share something she hasn't seen or experienced over the phone. It's the start of the 3rd week

    The third week was the hardest. I hadn't talked with anyone other than "here's your change" for 2 weeks. I hadn't seen a paper. I hadn't been eating right. The sleeping bag and pad are starting to get more than uncomfortable. I got down right morose! Nobody "wanted" to talk to me. Nobody was interested in my trip. I was just a stupid bicyclist! And I was feeling like a stupid bicyclist. But then the end starts to draw near. The feeling of excitement starts to grow. Home. Home. I'm going home! All I need to do is get through 3 more days, 2 more days, 1 more!

    The final day. It's over. I was relieved. I was proud of my accomplishment. I was sad that it had ended. I had started 3 weeks and a 1000 years ago. It was going to end. I would have to reintegrate, go back to my life but how? There is freedom out there and restrictions at home. People wouldn't understand, they don't understand, they can't understand. To them the world is clocks and work and schedules and kissing up to the boss. On the saddle of a bike, the world is sun and moon and stars. It's rain and roads. It's road kill and Twinkies. It's bad food and bad roads and great vistas and wonderful people (I did talk to a few) and some good food and good roads.

    I went to a lecture on Merriweather Lewis and the lecturer detailed the last days of Lewis. Lewis was the Governor of Louisiana (All of the purchase). He was an important man. On his last night, he stayed at a guest house on the Natchez Trace. The owner of the house offered him a bed to sleep in but he refused. He said, "Madam, in the three years since I late returned from the Pacific, I have not slept in a bed. The floor will do." He couldn't return to civilization but he had to. He could not reintegrate with the society. He had tasted the wild and couldn't return. No other person in that lecture room could understand. They didn't have a clue. I knew. I know. It calls. I will answer.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind
    Haven't been able to find much discussion on the mental aspects of making the first trip. Is it a mistake to do a 7-10 day solo, self-contained camping trip for starters ?
    I think much depends on your temperment. I am a fairly sociable person, yet I enjoy solo touring. I keep good company with myself while riding, but I do look forward to regular chit-chats while asking for directions, shopping for supplies, and so on.

    But once I have stopped for the day, I NEED to talk; in fact, I go a bit rangy after a few days if I cannot find a person or persons to have intelligent conversations with.

    Being lonely is a normal part of solo travel. Hell, it is a normal part of life!

  11. #11
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    Is it a mistake...? It depends of you, not me! Have you done any other long solo trips (backpacking, canoeing, etc)? Have you any real cycling experience?

    For a first tour, either stay close to civilization or plan your tour so you have an easy way to cut the tour short if you don't enjoy it as much as you thought.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  12. #12
    370H-SSV-0773H linux_author's Avatar
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    - tks, Machka & cyccommute, for your observations... and tks to the OP, as this thread has piqued my interest for touring...

    - now off to look for good bike route/maps for heading south along the Florida Gulf coast!

    :-)

  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by dreamy
    My first ever tour was cycling across the US by myself.
    My first tour was the pacific coast (Vancouver to San Diego) by myself.

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