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  1. #1
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    There is Shame in Touring????

    It amazes me how most non riders apparently view people who tour by bicycle. I recently went on my first 5 day, 400 mile tour in florida. It was a fantastic time, and I have great stories and pictures to show for it. I never volunteer any of this information to anyone I know (like coworkers) but often times I am asked about it. Since the trip a few coworkers have asked me what I did during my recent vacation, and when I explained, and showed pictures, it amazed me how they all basicly "looked down on me! "

    They all just assumed that I was broke, and could not afford to go on a real vacation... Some even unknowingly made rude comments about me and my travel... Ironicly, it is safe to say that this was one of my most expensive vacations ever! before I started planning for this trip i had NO touring bike, and NO camping equipment!!!!!

    some of the things I have heard:

    "That is stupid, why not drive to where you want to go so you have time to rest and relax once you get there... that way it is a vacation!"

    "That is too dangerous. I can't believe you would have the nerve to ride on those roads with all those sickos out there. You need to be safer than that for your family if nothing else"

    "couldn't afford a plane ticket, huh..."

    "How much longer till you get your license back?"

    "You know the hotels really aren't that expensive out there, you probably could have at least stayed at a hotel each night to make the ride less miserable"

    How the hell that guy got "miserable" out of my experience and pictures about the trip I will never know...

    Has anyone else experienced this or do i just live in hell?


    Mike
    Last edited by mcavana; 03-31-06 at 10:17 AM.
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  2. #2
    Senior Member toolboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana
    Has anyone else experienced this or do i just live in hell?
    Many years ago I read a very inspiring book "Miles from Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. I have re-read it 6 times! She and her partner found cycling in Florida to be more nerve-wracking that anywhere else. Must be the gators! I admire your determination. Try a trip in northern Saskatchewan eh? http://www.saskcycling.ca Many folks I talk to are polite but incredulous that I would "take the risk" or "have the courage" to do quite easy and safe trips (I call them my "Pooh Bear" adventures!) When I see commercial tour operators offering supported trips at $200 a day and up, I wonder what the participants think they can't do on their own? Cook? Set up a tent? Fix a flat? It's the "cruise mentality". I tell them to start small, find an experienced group or individual to travel with and go for it. I did a 36 day trip across part of the Northern Tier for about $35 a day but didn't do it to save money!

  3. #3
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Just be grateful you aren't one of them.

  4. #4
    Bike touring webrarian
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    On my first tour down the California coast, I was riding along the Big Sur coastline among the finest bike riding territory that I know. Here I was on a mostly deserted highway on the edge of the continent so full of joy and satisfaction that it is hard to communicate. Up ahead, I see a flagwoman controlling the flow of traffic around a construction zone. I stop and she takes one look at me and my gear and says "You must be crazy." For me, that moment of "crazy joy" sums up the two views of touring; one from the pedeller and one from the watcher.

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    And the best part...

    The best part is you were away from those who have this attitiude.

    I joined a tour of friends through the Green and White Mts. this past summer. My first tour on a loaner bike. Most folks around here can't wait for me to go again (hey wait a minuite....)

    Enjoy it!

  6. #6
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana

    "That is stupid, why not drive to where you want to go so you have time to rest and relax once you get there... that way it is a vacation!"

    Ya, Right...


  7. #7
    bificurated RiotBoi's Avatar
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    I like the "could afford a plane ticket huh?"

    Thats me. lol.
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  8. #8
    Resident Old Fart Olebiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toolboy
    Many years ago I read a very inspiring book "Miles from Nowhere" by Barbara Savage. I have re-read it 6 times! She and her partner found cycling in Florida to be more nerve-wracking that anywhere else. Must be the gators!
    Barbara Savage seemed to find everyone and everything irritating. What a grump!
    Wag more, bark less

  9. #9
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    very few people "get" touring. actually, even among the cycling community not everyone is into touring. so, you're in a very small subset of the population. very small.

    the fact that they can only offer lame alternative choices to what you did makes me believe you've found something great. who the hell wants to be a in car when you can be exercising, breathing the air, and exploring.

  10. #10
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    Mike,

    I hate to tell you friend, but a big part of the problem is the attitudes where you live and work. I don't like to stereotype places, but face it - some parts of the country have evolved less than others, and Florida in general seems to embody many attitudes that might be interpreted as "non-enlightened", at least with respect to healthy living and conservation of resources. Just look what they've done to the Everglades. Camping in Florida (and many other places, too) is defined more by the RV-experience than a healthy tour on a bicycle. If you lived out here on the west coast, or perhaps in the northeast, where the demographics are more oriented towards healthy living, physical challenges, and conserving the planet's resources - then you would have encountered more interest and admiration for your achievement. As it is, you have like-minded friends on this forum and you can seek out others in your area with similar thinking, or eventually move to a place where you find more compatible values.

    Lastly, don't assume that all the comments and thinking on the part of your co-workers and associates are necessarily negative. Some of them may be hiding veiled admiration or even envy for your accomplishment and obvious determination to take control of your life and make positive changes. Most of them could not do what you have done, so in order to salvage their self-esteem they minimize your achievement or make it sound odd. Even though they do so, it doesn't mean that they don't think about what you did the next time they step on the scale and see their lifestyle has added another 5 lbs. Ignore them and keep up the good work - you may be having a greater influence on them than you realize. You certainly have inspired many of us on this forum with what you have accomplished and your great attitude. Take care.

    ~john
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  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olebiker
    Barbara Savage seemed to find everyone and everything irritating. What a grump!
    And I always thought that I was the only one who felt that way about St. Barbara I gave up on her book when she got to India and started complaining about the toilet facilities. Sure, I do my share of kivetching but at least I have fun doing it. She was just way too serious.

    By the way, her's is only one of two books that I have ever read that I didn't finish. And that includes taking 5 years to read Moby Dick and "War and Peace".
    Last edited by cyccommute; 03-31-06 at 03:58 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana
    "That is stupid, why not drive to where you want to go so you have time to rest and relax once you get there... that way it is a vacation!"

    "That is too dangerous. I can't believe you would have the nerve to ride on those roads with all those sickos out there. You need to be safer than that for your family if nothing else"

    "couldn't afford a plane ticket, huh..."

    "How much longer till you get your license back?"

    "You know the hotels really aren't that expensive out there, you probably could have at least stayed at a hotel each night to make the ride less miserable"

    Mike
    I've said it before the cyclist is considered too poor to afford motor transport or even public transportation. You're not going to change this opinion with anyone who owns a motorcar. They don't understand that the journey IS the vacation and just laying around on a beach quite frankly is boring.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute
    And I always thought that I was the only one who felt that way about St. Barbara I gave up on her book when she got to India and started complaining about the toilet facilities. Sure, I do my share of kivetching but at least I have fun doing it. She was just way to serious.

    By the way, her's is only one of two books that I have ever read that I didn't finish. And that includes taking 5 years to read Moby Dick and "War and Peace".
    I think Barbara was just being overdramatic to make the book interesting. There was very little in her journey that she actually enjoyed. It was all about getting past one mess and into another. After all, who wants to read a book where people actually enjoyed themselves.

  14. #14
    Resident Old Fart Olebiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
    I think Barbara was just being overdramatic to make the book interesting. There was very little in her journey that she actually enjoyed. It was all about getting past one mess and into another. After all, who wants to read a book where people actually enjoyed themselves.
    I found myself really feeling sorry for her poor partner. Read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. He overcame trials and torments with pretty good humor and wrote an endearing book about it.
    Wag more, bark less

  15. #15
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikepacker67
    Ya, Right...



    !!!Look at that shoulder!!!
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  16. #16
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggus
    !!!Look at that shoulder!!!
    haha. i noticed that too.

  17. #17
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana
    They all just assumed that I was broke, and could not afford to go on a real vacation...

    Mike
    On my first tour last summer I was surprised to see that many people in large towns and small cities saw me as a rich man, that I could afford to take so much time off work and cycle around.
    On the other hand I was also surprised to see that people in small villages saw me as very poor, not able to afford a car to go on vacation with.
    This part was good as I got a lot of free food and water

  18. #18
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    Why would you need the approval of your coworkers? Chances are that you will have different views with them on most subjects, not only touring via bicycle. Everyone is different, and most people don't get along or have similar views by nature. Hence the need for laws, wars, etc.

    I have never toured, even though i would like to some day. However, i ride a lot and have gotten all sorts of negative comments from non riding family, coworkers, etc. I've learned not to bring up the subject much. If i do, i don't ellaborate on it. Am i ashamed? Not at all, just the opposite in fact.

    My experiences on the bike are my own. I don't need to share them with anyone. I know of their value and what they mean to me. There is no need for anyone else's approval for that to be so.

  19. #19
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    I am not looking for approval. I am answering questions when asked... there is a HUGE difference. I was just pointing out the negative responces I received from everyone.... Lighten up!
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  20. #20
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    next time you see one of them getting into or out of their car in the parking lot say to them "Oh, you drove to work. What, too lazy to ride?" then pedal off. That's no more rude than what they've said to you, trouble is you realize that but they won't.

  21. #21
    Senior Member kamoke's Avatar
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    they're most likely just jealous of you. I think things like riding a bike longer then an hour a week scare people. Those folks probably went home and couldn't stop thinking about how far you went in those five days and just couldn't believe it. maybe, but who cares,right.

  22. #22
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    [QUOTE=mtnroads]Mike,

    I hate to tell you friend, but a big part of the problem is the attitudes where you live and work. I don't like to stereotype places, but face it - some parts of the country have evolved less than others, and Florida in general seems to embody many attitudes that might be interpreted as "non-enlightened", at least with respect to healthy living and conservation of resources. .....where the demographics are more oriented towards healthy living, physical challenges, and conserving the planet's resources .....

    Are these the same areas of the country that have rolling brownouts (California and the northeast) as they conserve the planet's resources? I think we have missed something here.

  23. #23
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Try quitting your job and heading to Australia to tour by bicycle for 3 months!! Just imagine the comments then!!

    But what really amazed me, was that I got the comments you've mentioned AND ALSO the opposite sorts of comments (i.e. comments about me being incredibly irresponsible, and "must be nice to be so rich", etc.) from members of another cycling forum ... people who I thought would understand the desire to tour by bicycle.

    I've come to the conclusion that the majority of the population (including non-cyclists and cyclists) just do not understand the desire to see the world at a slower pace, and have no idea how much careful planning, budgeting, and thought many of us put into the decision to see the world at a slower pace.

  24. #24
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    mcavana, you seem to have a gift to start very interesting discussions on this forum... some of the answers you got are really funny.

    As for myself, I very rarely got this kind of comments... in general people were curious about my trips or about the weight of my bike... and sometimes they were openly envious.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana
    I am not looking for approval. I am answering questions when asked... there is a HUGE difference. I was just pointing out the negative responces I received from everyone.... Lighten up!

    You titled this thread "THE SHAME OF TOURING" I guess the implication was that there was some form of shame that your co-workers made you feel. Sorry if i misunderstood.
    Last edited by Portis; 03-31-06 at 05:49 PM.

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