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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

View Poll Results: Let him go, or not?
he definitely should do this and it will be a great experience 72 88.89%
I wouldn't recommend it 3 3.70%
ehhh, maybe 6 7.41%
Voters: 81. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-12-06, 12:39 AM   #1
Hiker16
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Alright...I need EVERYBODY'S opinion about this

Ok...here is the deal. I am 18 years old, a high school senior. I really badly want to tour(solo) down to college this summer. Oh, btw I live in western WA and will be going to school at BYU in Utah(yes I'm Mormon ) It's about a 950 mile trip. My parents, on the other hand, are not so enthused about the whole dealeo. They are concerned, worried, etc., etc.... I commute to school everyday, have a suitable bike and gear, and am not the type of person that does things like this unprepared. However, this would be my first long tour. So my mom reccomended that I ask on BF what you guys thought. Here goes...yes or no?
Thanks,
Hiker

P.S. If anyone has any insight/comments/blahblah they want to spew out, go ahead. I will be anxiously awaiting the replies(as will my parents)
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Old 02-12-06, 01:30 AM   #2
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You should do it. Just be prepared. You might become a cult figure at college once the story gets out.
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Old 02-12-06, 02:04 AM   #3
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Would this be a one-way trip to get to school in the fall?
Do you have any touring experience or just commuting?
Who's going to pay for this? (Terrible old-person question!!)

If you did this in August - let's say three weeks - just before school started - you would be travelling at the hottest time of the year through some pretty dry country. You would also need to plan your route carefully using traffic volume data from the various state transportation departments. The information is out there. I could help you find it.

As in any activity, there is risk. For such a trip I could foresee three major concerns. (I'm trying to think like your mother.) 1. Weather - Heat and storms are the biggest risks. By starting early each day, you can chill out in the shade during the hottest part of the day, then maybe do some more miles in the evening. If you see a big thunderstorm forming, consider shelter BEFORE it is right on top of you. 2. Wild Critters - Mountain lions and wolves and bears shouldn't be a problem on your route. Never eat in your tent. Prepare food away from where you sleep. Hang your food at night. 3. People - Yep. Number 3 is the most dangerous. Sadly, in our country it is much more dangerous for a young woman. Alcohol also can reduce your judgement, but I doubt you drink. To assure your Mom, tell her that you will never accept rides and stick by it - also, that you will never accept lodging no matter how friendly the folks seem.

Personally, I think it is a great goal to have for the summer. If you prepare, do a couple of weekend one-nighters with your gear, then you should be fine. Have a great time.

Best - J

PS - Didn't Mormon guys invent the bicycle?
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Old 02-12-06, 02:57 AM   #4
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I don't see a problem with going on a trip. On the other hand I had to take a lot more than a bike's worth of stuff to university, so I wonder how practical this is. Won't someone have to sag wagon your stuff down there anyway? Which raises the possibility of using that as a way of providing some suopport, or alternatively deciding on the best alternative route that has nothing to do with going to University.

One key to a bike trip is to have a strong desire to follow the route you are setting off on. You have that because it's a destination for you anyway, but it sounds a little artificial. Unless this is a trip you are dying to make regardless of college, why bother, pick out the best route for a bike trip and make the college trip a separate thing.

Finally nothing makes a trip more miserable than a big deadline so you are rushing the whole way. And speaking of deadlines, won't this time of the year be really busy for you at any rate.
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Old 02-12-06, 03:06 AM   #5
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Dude, you're an adult. You don't need mommy's permission to ride your bicycle.


But if they are paying for it... Give yourself plenty of time and have your parents ship your school stuff to your dorm. Are you going to camp or sleep in motels? What about meals? Present your parents an itinerary plan, including where you plan to stay (i.e. motels or campgrounds), and that should put them at ease. If you want to take a somewhat out-of-the-way ride, take a look at the Adventure Cycling Association Route Network. They have detailed route from WA to ID to MT to WY to CO to UT. They are well-ridden and have documented rest-stops, camping grounds, etc. along the way.
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Old 02-12-06, 05:47 AM   #6
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I hiked the AT a few years ago, so I can relate. My situation was very different as I was 24, but I can relate. If the rents are paying for college then they still have the upper hand. You need to prove to your parents that you have the abilities. Try to go on weekend trips to prove you have the abilities. Tell them enough to make them trust in your abilities but don't tell them everything. Unless your parents tour, they wouldn't understand everything. Your parents will worry regardless of what you do. Your parents will be worring about to going to college alone. Give them a little bit of credit and acknowledge that they will worry (it will make you look real good to say something like "I realize you guys are worried, so I will call when ever I see a phone or will take a cell phone and call everynight"). Another idea is to let them be a part of the tour. Let them feel this is an adventure that they can share. Maybe plan a night midway through to meet them along the route. Maybe a rest day with the rents? Let them do a mail drop or two for resuply. It lets them feel like they are still providing for you and still being a parent. AND... if they simply say no, then give in a little. You have at least four years of college and four summers to do this tour. Hopefully your parents will soften up a little bit over the years and you can tour some other time in college.
Some ideas,
scott
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Old 02-12-06, 06:05 AM   #7
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Wow- To be 18 again... When I was 17, just graduated from high schiool, I worked for 2 months in the summer and then took a bike ride from Gettysburg, PA to Windsor, Ontario in Canada. About 1500 miles. The first day I was out of shape and only rode about 35 miles. My longest was about 115, near the end of the trip. I carried saddle bags and a tent (no sleeping bag as it was summer). I stayed at youth hostels and campgrounds along the way. Of course, this was 1972... and times have changed. The toughest part was actually the solitude. I saw almost no other cyclists as I was riding. On the rare occasion when I saw someone, we would stop and chat--especially if they were coming from the other direction. The only night I spent in a hotel was in a rainstorm somewhere in the hills of Pennsylvania (very hilly).

Of course, my 'biking shoes' were 'sneakers', my biking shorts were cutoff jeans... I can't imagine riding like that now. Oh, and my bike was a 'true' 10 speed-- a PASCOE, made in England, with a "wright's' saddle ( a brooks lookalike).

Go for it-- It will give you a whole new perspective on life. I am a firm believer that some of the best education you can get is related to travel...especially when alone.

Enjoy, and post a report when you're done

meanwhile--

train safe
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Old 02-12-06, 07:21 AM   #8
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I say go for it, you have the whole summer to prepare and get experience. It would be and awesome way to start the year, also it will give some cool stories to talk about when you start school. Plus you will be in great shape when you get there for all the college girls.
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Old 02-12-06, 07:24 AM   #9
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Looks like he's on your side.
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Old 02-12-06, 09:03 AM   #10
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so it will be a solo tour?

Details. Present your plan in great detail to your parents. It can only help.

Go on a test tour. To prove to your parents you can do it. Plan a short 4 or 5 day tour before the big one to test things out (maybe plan a couple of them). Then discuss with your parents what you learned and where you need to change your planning. This will also get them used to the idea of a bigger tour.

This will also get you used to what it takes to tour.
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Old 02-12-06, 09:36 AM   #11
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What bike will you be riding? How do you have it set up?
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Old 02-12-06, 10:33 AM   #12
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You're only young once, do it. Do a little research on your route and stick to main roads and the more populated areas, and you should be fine on a solo trip. Keep a can of pepper spray handy attached to your handlebars or outside of your handlebar bag, and that should thwart any unforseen incidents

Pepper spray in the eyes + stomping on said persons' nuts with stiff soled cycling shoes = person not getting up for awhile, and plenty of time to call police
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Old 02-12-06, 02:09 PM   #13
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really though...asking this on a bike forum is kinda biased, dont ya think?...try asking on a yachting forum...or a sky diving forum and see what they say...id say go for it though. my mom wasnt so enthused when i told her i was goin around the world, but shell get over it. have fun

steve
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Old 02-12-06, 03:49 PM   #14
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Great idea, coming here for support

But I haven't read much to reassure your parents. If all that was involved is "You're an adult, go for it!", you wouldn't be posting this. And rightfully so. Your parents want to know that you're ready for "release" into the world before they cut the strings. I have two who are just finishing college, so I know where they're coming from. You are a lucky young man.

The best thing you can do, as you hinted at, is be prepared. Suggestions above about the weather, routes, health, should be taken to heart. Read a bunch of tour reports on crazyguyonabike.com . Research routes, maps, temperatures, winds, camping/motel spots. Then when you're prepared, prove it to your parents.

Your parents know that in the next couple of years, you'll transition to on-your-own. This, in the great scheme of things, is a very short window for them to go from protection to sidelines. It's a tough balance for them to do it right. In essence, the outcome has already been decided, in the way they raised you and taught you. What you do now to gain their trust during this period will be their great reward -- or leave them wringing their hands. From their perspective, I think they want to know you take your preparation as seriously as they do. That may be all they need.

Many an 18-year-old has jumped head first into adventure and come out better for it. (Ask your Dad....) I got some stories myself.

(In case you didn't notice, this post is for your parents, not for you.)

-- Mark
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Old 02-12-06, 04:47 PM   #15
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"Would this be a one-way trip to get to school in the fall?"
Yes

"Do you have any touring experience or just commuting?"
Mostly just commuting...I have done some longer day rides and also am definitely planning on s a few small tours beforehand.

"Who's going to pay for this? (Terrible old-person question!!)"
As far as money, I don't think it would cost more than either a)me flying down, or b) parents driving me down. Here is a rundown of the costs I can think of...food, gas for stove, upgrading bike a tad(barends, front rack, and maybe derailleur upgrades), and the cost of shipping my stuff down.

"You would also need to plan your route carefully using traffic volume data from the various state transportation departments."
I have contacted the states' DOTs that I will be traveling through, requesting bike maps. I have WA, OR state map, Idaho is on the way, and don't know about Utah yet.
"PS - Didn't Mormon guys invent the bicycle?" Just gettin back to my roots.
Thanks J for the tips.

"You have that because it's a destination for you anyway, but it sounds a little artificial. Unless this is a trip you are dying to make regardless of college, why bother, pick out the best route for a bike trip and make the college trip a separate thing."
Here's the thing...I will be working ALOT all summer to get some money(I mean, I figure I might need to have a little on hand at college ). But I also want to do a tour. So it just kind of fell together that hey, I'm going to college and want to go on a bike tour...let's combine them! Much more efficient imo.

As far as itineraries go, I am used to that as whenever I go backpacking, they want a detailed route map and campsite description. So I should be good there.

Scott-thanks for the ideas...the mail drop sounds neat, and calling will definitely be happening.

As far as my bike and setup: It is a Giant Rincon '04 hardtail mountain bike. 26x1.5 in slicks, planet bike freddies, rear rack, pump, two water bottle cages...etc. It works really well on the road-use it for commuting. Like I mentioned earlier, bar ends, a front rack(OMM cold spring is one I've been looking at), and maybe some drivetrain upgrades should be pretty good. I have pretty much all the other stuff-full set of panniers, handlebar bag, bike clothes, and camping equipment(backpacker turned biker )

And yeah, crazyguy has definitely been getting me pumped up!
Thanks,
Hiker
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Old 02-12-06, 05:15 PM   #16
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A few more things that I forgot...
-I have experienced the hotness before-two road trips down there in the past few years.. And it is HOT.
-The bike isn't exactly a dedicated tourer, but it should work.
-Yes, I am sure I will have some great stories to tell, as well as being tan and fit for the ladies.
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Old 02-12-06, 07:09 PM   #17
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Ok as a parent I understand your parents concern. And I know I would feel alot better about it if my son wanted to do that if he had someone to go with him. Although if you're 18 than it's really up to you.

Now from from my single days. I flew up to visit a friend in Spokane and lost the return plane ticket. So I bought a backpack and hitchhiked back to utah. I even had a sign that said BYU on it. I thought that would let people know I was a good kid .

It was a crazy thing to do but it was also a great adventure. Took 4 days and have a lot of funny stories to tell. I didn't tell my parents untill after I got back.
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Old 02-12-06, 07:26 PM   #18
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To the parents: I have a son who is a freshman in college, he spent last summer hiking the Adirondack peaks, It made both my wife and I crazy with worry. but he came home a little wiser, a little more confident and emotionally ready to move on. Let him go it will be a good thing.

Rick Krough
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Old 02-12-06, 09:23 PM   #19
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That's a pretty rockin plan, hiker. Of course I'm going to sympathize, because I'm doing a similar ride this summer. A couple of friends and I are working as counselors at a summer camp in California this summer, and so we're riding there from Illinois. I'm not talking to my parents about it anymore, cause unfortunately they disagree, but I hope you have better luck than me.

It really sounds like you know what you're talking about and you know what you're getting into, so I think you'll do fine.
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Old 02-13-06, 11:34 AM   #20
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I guess you could have rain, mechanical problem, or some such thing. That would be disappointing but you would work through it and you would be richer for the experience. On the other hand, if you don't do it, you are guaranteed to be disappointed.
My motto: I would rather regret what I did do than regret what I didn't do.
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Old 02-13-06, 02:28 PM   #21
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The big question is to ask your parents is how old is old enough, because at you age you can go to the army, vote, drive a car, get married and have kids, I think your parents need to start to realise they need to start to let you do your own thing. Your going away any way so they must think your grown up enough to live away from home and do your own thing. If there really worried get them to tell you want they need you to do for them to let you go and do this, and like a good son do it no arguments, and you'll probly never go through this again, BTW at 35 my mother still thinks I'm mad and is worried about me so it'll never stop but it'll get easier every time, your parents love you and your precious to them. I'm doing a 5000 mile ride around 14 countries in Europe and Russia check it out if you want I'm off in July this year, www.challengea2z.com
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Old 02-13-06, 05:07 PM   #22
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Here's what you say to Mom. Most guys go off to college the first time with a rundown car and a summer's worth of paychecks to spend on beer. That's a lot more dangerous than a non-drinking kid riding his bike on the road for a couple of weeks. As the dad to two male former college freshmen who somehow survived, I know what real fear can be.
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Old 02-13-06, 05:38 PM   #23
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Go for it. If your parents are really worried that you will not make it, have a backup plan such as Greyhound, if something unexpected happens. If you take a calling card, and check in periodically, I'm sure your parents would be more understanding.
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Old 02-13-06, 11:36 PM   #24
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Yeah man, Wicked! I too am of high school age, well I just graduated, and I plan on touring far farther. If you wouldn't mind, and you could find somebody, I'd say your mom would feel alot better if you went with somebody else. That is what my mom allways says. Just do your research, and dont let your mom bring guilt you into bringing TOO much extra stuff. The biggest hazard I beleive is the route. So keep asking around to find out the best one. Id say there are probaly some pretty dank one's from Wa to utah. Good luck and god speed. See ya on the other side. Ty
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Old 02-14-06, 12:16 AM   #25
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When you get to college you'll be living without your parent's supervision. If you're ready to do that, you're ready to travel to college on your own, whether on a bicycle or in a car. Yes, there are risks and rewards associated with a 950 mile solo bike tour, but aren't there risks and rewards associated with going away to college, or with any other part of life?
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