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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Is it still cycle-touring when ....

    ... the cycle-tourist makes use of a variety of methods of transportation?

    I love travelling to different parts of the world and I love cycling. Therefore almost all my tours have used a combination of bicycle travel and motorized travel (airplanes, trains, boats, busses, cars). In fact, on my Australian tour, I made it a bit of a game to make use of as many methods of transportation as I could, with cycling as the predominant one, of course.

    And take this past weekend ... a friend and I drove to a campground, and then spent the next day touring approx. 100 miles of roads we had not ridden in that area by bicycle.


    Or are you a purist who believes that using other methods of transportation mars the integrity of cycle-touring?

  2. #2
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    I wasn't even aware this particular ghetto of definition existed. Isn't it obvious that the time spent in a car isn't cycletouring. Or that nobody has so far actually ridden around the world on a bike without significant other transportation. One can more or less sail around the world, though even that is a bit iffy since the route is like a keyhole. I think it would depend whether any claims are being made, like the claim to have ridden across Canada, when 70 % was by train, would fall a little flat.

    Also I think it is possible to have something like loaded cycle touring as one's sport but not really take fully to it. So if one is out there really praying for relief from the biking or camping part. Then when one gets home one sews new tarps and sleeping bags, builds ever more elaborate bikes, and carefully packs the panniers, only to cycle past every camping opportunity to a motel 6, maybe there is a gap in commitment there.

    I wouldn't personally call what you did on the weekend touring. Sounds like a great ride. It does have the exploration aspect of touring or were you just hammering the whole way. There is such a thing as a Grand touring automobile, I don't imagine every time it whips a certain distance down the road it's on a tour. Touring seems to imply a form of travel like hiking where one has a great interest in both going somewhere and seeing stuff along the way. As with rock climbing, where there is a preference to climbing up vs. traverses, though both are undertaken, in touring there seems to be a preference to going from a-b, rather than a-a. So the bike across america gets more attentiojn than the cycle around Detroit. Of course if you cycle across america, then cycle around it, it probable pads the resume pretty well...

    I think, though, it's truly a case were you get to decide for yourself.

  3. #3
    aspiring wannabe hoogie's Avatar
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    goes along with that other question ... when is a ride a cycle tour? 2 days or more? at least an overnight not in your own bed or town???

    i like to use transport other than the bike to avoid the boring/dangerous[traffic wise]/really really hilly/wet/whatever areas ... or to get to or from bike touring lcoations ...
    i guess the purist bikes the whole way, but those with limited time try and make best use of that limited time ...

    i personally like to think that my cycletouring 'adventure' begins and ends from my front door, and includes all travel needed to achieve the goal ...
    thought for today: "Does my ass look fast on this bike?"

  4. #4
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    I think mixing trains and bicycles is a great way to tour, it lets you skip the areas that you don't want to see or wouldn't be safe cycling in. I don't tour to make a statement, I bicycle because I enjoy it and I use other forms of transport to enhance that enjoyment.

  5. #5
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    Two panniers with sandwiches, a bottle of wine and swimsuit for a day at the lake = day tour.

    Anything longer is....well, a longer tour.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  6. #6
    Life is short Ride hard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    Two panniers with sandwiches, a bottle of wine and swimsuit for a day at the lake = day tour.

    Anything longer is....well, a longer tour.

    YOu forgot the tandem so you can take your significant other
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    I think mixing trains and bicycles is a great way to tour, it lets you skip the areas that you don't want to see or wouldn't be safe cycling in. I don't tour to make a statement, I bicycle because I enjoy it and I use other forms of transport to enhance that enjoyment.
    I agree with this. My husband mentioned the other day feeling guilty because we are probably going to have to use a train to get from Amsterdam to Frankfurt during the next leg of our world tour, due to time constraints (have to get to Germany for a family party by a certain date). I don`t feel bad as long as we don`t make a habit of it. I think I read somewhere that the Guiness book defines a world tour as 25,000 miles over 4 continents or something like that. As long as we hit that kind of range, I am not going to be too worried about the occasional train!

  8. #8
    Hooked on Touring
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    It depends on your perspective.

    For someone who has never ridden much, a 5-mile ride in the country can be a tour. That's why I always encourage folks who I see on tour packages - even if they use the sag wagon.

    And for grumpy veterans like me - a 5-mile spin can change my perspective on things. It's better than no riding at all.

    All in all, I think a tour begins when you leave the constraints of an internal combustion engine driven world behind. That usually means, at least, one night out - maybe more. That's what distinguishes touring from riding. Yeah, there are times you get wet and/or tired, but in exchange you receive a freedom that people in metal boxes never will know.

  9. #9
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    ...are you a purist who believes that using other methods of transportation mars the integrity of cycle-touring?
    What am I supposed to do, ride my bike across the Atlantic Ocean to southern France?

    For what little it's worth, the only "other transportation" that I look down on is the usage of a SAG van -- and ONLY when riding in the SAG is unnecessary for that particular rider. I have no problems with someone who rides in a SAG if they are injured, if it's above 95 degrees, have a major bike malfunction, and so forth. If you're 22, it's 65 degrees and dry, and your bike is working, then yeah it's kinda weak to ride in the van just because you don't feel like climbing (or walking!) up a hill.

  10. #10
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monoborracho
    Two panniers with sandwiches, a bottle of wine and swimsuit for a day at the lake = day tour.

    Anything longer is....well, a longer tour.
    In my opinion it is not touring if you are not gone at least one night. I would call this a day trip.

    Now, if you are gone overnight, and perhaps for a week or two, but your goods are shipped to each night's lodging, is that touring?

  11. #11
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe
    What am I supposed to do, ride my bike across the Atlantic Ocean to southern France?
    Spot on! I am at a point in my life where I can say: "The means justifies the end". In this case, if the means requires me to get into a motorised form of transport to take me to a location where I can engage in my end activity -- that is, take a pleasant cycling tour -- then it's all justified.

    Time is the critical element. I have done the cycle-to-done-the-tour-cycled-home thing, but I had the time to do that, and I didn't really have to cycle too far for great touring areas (Tasmania, Australia). But in other places, there can be some dead boring stuff in between home and the starting point of a tour. When somewhere like the Rockies beckons, I'd prefer to bypass the prairies in a car, and get riding as soon as possible in magnificent surroundings.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  12. #12
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    At the campsites I have visited in Europe, there were many cyclists doing this sort of touring. They would use their bikes to explore the area for a few days, then get on the train to explore another area.

  13. #13
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    I use trains to get in and out of big cities, to get back to the airport in one day rather than do a less extensive circular tour. Ferries are pretty useful at times. One of my regular training runs includes a ferry crossing.

  14. #14
    Lentement mais sûrement Erick L's Avatar
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    Hell no, I'm no purist, and I don't care what other people do. I'm a traveler on bike, not a touring cyclist. I also like the idea of using different modes of transportation, especially boats and trains, but when I start planning, I find it's too much a hassle for short trips. I wish it were easier to bring my bike on Via Rail. I believe Amtrak is similar, if not worse.
    Erick - www.borealphoto.com/velo

  15. #15
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not thinking so much about the method of transportation used to get to the start of your tour, and the method of transportation used to get back home again after your tour ... I'm thinking more of the methods of transportation used during your tour.

    I have actually encountered a few cycle-tourists who do feel guilty if they do any part of their tours with any methods of transportation other than a bicycle.

  16. #16
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    Just exactly HOW MANY fairies can dance on the head of pin, anyway?
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

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    "I have actually encountered a few cycle-tourists who do feel guilty if they do any part of their tours with any methods of transportation other than a bicycle."

    There are some things one feels guilty about not so much in actuality, but because of how they affect the conversation. In one conversation I mentioned we lived on an acre (at the time). I guess how I said it, I implied we owned it. Later the person I was talking to acted like I had lied about owning something I was only renting. None of that had anything to do with our conversation. Similarly if you are talking to somone about cycling in France and it later comes out that you did half the trip on the train, to them it may sound like cheating. People engaged in the same conversation can have totally different perspectives. If you are all about money then the only important point in what I was saying was whether I owned or rented. Same with touring, for some people it's all about the challenge, others the experience, adventure, number of good restaurants, etc...

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    "Just exactly HOW MANY fairies can dance on the head of pin, anyway?"

    Don't know. Let's sign off on the number of angels first!

  19. #19
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Well, I'm not thinking so much about the method of transportation used to get to the start of your tour, and the method of transportation used to get back home again after your tour ... I'm thinking more of the methods of transportation used during your tour.

    I have actually encountered a few cycle-tourists who do feel guilty if they do any part of their tours with any methods of transportation other than a bicycle.
    During my Rhine - Mosel tour I took trains twice. Once was to cut about 30 km off a segment because I had a hotel reserved and it otherwise would have been too far for me to do in a day. The other was planned in advance to get me over the Vosge mountains, partly because I was a little too old for mountains and partly because there was no bike path and I like to minimize road travel. I don't feel at all guilty about it.

  20. #20
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    I try to avoid most forms of motorized transportation at all costs in all facets of my life. I'd rather spend the rest of my life touring around my home in the midwestern United States than get on a plane to travel to a more exotic touring destination.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  21. #21
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    Who cares what you call it - as long as you doing what works for you and you are enjoying it....

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    Multi Modal Touring is OK

    Multi Modal Touring is OK

    I have a heirarchy of transport when I tour.
    Most preferred to least preferred:

    bike
    ferry
    train
    bus
    taxi
    private auto
    aircraft

    Sometimes I route my tours to see various transportation icons, like old steam railways.
    "The heart was quiet. The charm of a trip of a bicycle was anew felt as comfortable drunkenness from beer in the filled time."

    Fixing Frederick

    Empathy Test

  23. #23
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Well, I'm not thinking so much about the method of transportation used to get to the start of your tour, and the method of transportation used to get back home again after your tour ... I'm thinking more of the methods of transportation used during your tour.
    I don't see the difference, really. To me, if you decide "I'm going to travel somewhere, and cycling is going to be an integral part of getting from Point A to Point B," it's a "tour."

    Now, maybe if you ride your bike for one day and take the train 3 days, it's a bit disengenuous to tell your buddies "hey, I went on this awesome bike tour of Italy...."


    I have actually encountered a few cycle-tourists who do feel guilty if they do any part of their tours with any methods of transportation other than a bicycle.
    That's a source of guilt?!? Do they then wear a cilice in repentance for the remainder of the trip? Or worse yet -- switch to a Brooks saddle?

    I swear, Gotama Buddha was right -- no matter how wonderful your life is, you're going to cause yourself to suffer anyway.

  24. #24
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Well, I'm not thinking so much about the method of transportation used to get to the start of your tour, and the method of transportation used to get back home again after your tour ... I'm thinking more of the methods of transportation used during your tour.
    I have never driven a car in my life, but I have, on occasion, used buses, trains, ferries and even a taxi (once) for that. Last time I checked, that fact alone doesn't prevent it from being a bicycle tour. Looking at the journals over at crazyguyonabike.com (including the three of mine that were "featured"), I'd say I'm not the only one who feels that way. I think as long as the bicycle is the main way of seeing your destination, then it's a bicycle tour.

    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    I have actually encountered a few cycle-tourists who do feel guilty if they do any part of their tours with any methods of transportation other than a bicycle.
    I wouldn't say "guilty" so much as "frustrated". Due to time constrains I used a bus between Nelson and Christchurch in New Zealand back in March. It did it's job (i.e. getting me back to Christchurch for the next day's flight home), but all I could really think of during that bus ride was how much I would have loved to have ridden that stretch. I had a similar feeling when I got a bus from Mt Gambier to Adelaide in 2002.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
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  25. #25
    Evil Genius capsicum's Avatar
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    I see bike riding as:
    *Racing
    *Training
    *Commuting(including errands, vistiting friends, and whatnot)
    *Messanger work
    *Touring(Just cruising. Doesn't matter how long.)
    *BMX stunts and trials riding
    *and various forms of MTB biking (Graded dirt roads count as road riding.)
    "Data is not the plural form of annecdote."
    "yuo ned to be deadurcated"

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