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Old 01-06-07, 04:04 PM   #1
Machka 
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Your first tour?

Mine was a short 4-day event in 1995 ... I've been touring for almost 12 years! I can hardly believe it has been that long!!

When I was 17 years old, my father cycled from Jasper to Banff (I was born into a cycling family ). I rode with him on the last day, and after that it was my dream to cycle the full distance from Jasper to Banff. I'm not sure why ... life sometimes gets in the way ... but it took me 11 years before I did the trip.

I had started cycling "seriously" in 1990 and was gradually building up my distances and cycling skills. In 1994 ... sort of in preparation for my Jasper to Banff tour ... I had prepared for and ridden a century (and then promptly vowed I'd never ride a distance as long as that again!! ). Then in 1995, prior to the tour, I had logged about 2500 kms.

Nevertheless, it was a tough ride for me. I broke the distance down into 3 days of approx. 100 kms a day with one day off after the second day. Having done all my training in Manitoba (flat as a pancake), the mountains were a bit of a challenge!! Also the bicycle I was riding was quite a bit too big for me, although I had modified it as much as possible to get it as close as possible to fitting. Fortunately I had sag support, so I didn't have to carry much with me at all, plus the food and camping aspects were all prepared for me.

That ride had quite an impact on me. I'd been in a bit of a rut, but that ride helped me realize that I could do what I put my mind to doing ... I returned to school to further my education, and the quantity of my cycling increased dramatically ... including several more tours!


Do you remember your first tour?
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Old 01-06-07, 04:59 PM   #2
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LA to Santa Barbara, then back again. Then LA to San Diego, and back again. Not too exctiing, huh?

But my first true trip was the same as yours, but in reverse: Banff to Jasper, then back again. Camped and hostelled. Of all the trips I've ever gone on, its still my favorite. (I've done it twice since.) So much to see and do. Availability of food and water, places to stay all along the way. Usually reasonable traffic, with a wide paved shoulder almost the entire length to ride on. And the three climbs are all quite doable, even with a loaded bike without granny gears.
I like the hostels along the way. They seem spaced apart ideally for an easy to moderate cycle trip, and each have their own little personality. I think it was the Mosquito Creek hostel that has the sauna with the pot belly stove, then a quick run down to the little creek for a cold splash, then run back to the sauna to warm up.
The mountains are incredible. You ride along all day, and just when you think you should be getting tired of looking at them, a new range comes along, seemingly trying to out bid the previous for beauty.
I think it was the second trip: it was September, and fall had already come to the mountains. I rode into Jasper, checked in at the Maligne Hostel, rode to town and went for a walk. I think it was Patricia Street, and as I walked I realised how tired I was, and maybe I should've added a day or two to the ride. I was just coming up to the community center/swim pool when I saw something rather odd. Huh? What the.....? I had been expecting to see all manners of wildlife in the Rockies, moose, bears, elk, all the rest. But an elephant? I REALLY should've taken it more easy the last couple of days! So I walked over to take a look, contemplating taking an aspirin, and I found out the circus was in town. The poor guy was chained by a leg to a pillar of some sort in the loading dock, with a bucket of water and a bail of hay. He wasn't happy looking. It just goes to show, you never know what you'll see!
Saskatchewan is also very pleasent cycling, as is most of north/central US.
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Old 01-06-07, 06:30 PM   #3
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about 7 months across Europe in 1979,I set of with £10 in my pocket and a ticket for the Ferry to St Malo.
Down to Brest, Bordeaux,Biaritz.
Went to see the Tour De France, Toulouse down to the Med along through the Carmargue to Cassis, Monaco, up into the alps to Lanslebourg, over Mont Cenis to Turin, Milan, down to Rome, Naples, Brindisi, Ferry over to Corfu stayed for a few days cycled around, ferry to Patras, to Athens, Tolon, Naufplion. Some of the Islands
Spetses, Hydra, Poros, Santorini, Crete down to Aglia Galini, Samaria gorge for a trek, Iraklion back to Pireaus. Up to Turkey and around.then back through Yugoslavia ( it was then,) tried to get into Albania but they wanted me to get my hair cut!!!! Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Holland, England

Nearly 30 years ago, seems like yesterday.

On a Carlton Corsair with two Karrimor panniers on the rear.

george
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Old 01-06-07, 07:25 PM   #4
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^How did you eat with only that amount of money?
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Old 01-06-07, 08:05 PM   #5
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My first multi-day tour was a trip through Alsace and Burgundy in France. I got the idea from an old book on bike touring that I discovered in my local public library. I had a blast! I was on the road for about 12 days.

I decided to do major bike tours when I was 22-years-old, after one of my friends completed a cross-country tour. I was 42 when I finally got around to it! I have completed five big tours since then.
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Old 01-06-07, 08:18 PM   #6
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www.cycling-adventurer.net/perth-adelaide/index.html

Might as well jump in at the deep end... but with some cycling, camping and outdoor experience beforehand
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Old 01-06-07, 09:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rowan
www.cycling-adventurer.net/perth-adelaide/index.html

Might as well jump in at the deep end... but with some cycling, camping and outdoor experience beforehand
Cool website and stories Rowan!
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Old 01-07-07, 01:19 AM   #8
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My first tour was during Christmas break in 1976, I had bought my first *real bike* that August which was a used Condor touring bike with racks and panniers that had been ridden across the country on the BikeCentennial route that summer Related Story.

I met and became friends that fall with Chucky, who was the original owner of the Condor, He shared pictures and stories of his tours and taught me the "ways of the road". He recently had a new custom touring bike built by a local frame builder and was dying to take a tour on it. He suggested we could ride to his parents house in Valdosta Ga during Christmas break and then have his brother drive us back to Atlanta.

Valdosta is about 250 miles from Atlanta. The route plan was easy, we just needed to follow US19 South to Albany Ga and then another road to Valdosta. Our plan was to ride until we felt like stopping and get to Valdosta in 3 or 4 days.

Day 1, We left Atlanta on a Saturday morning. About 80 miles into the ride we came to a bridge that crosses a river a few miles south of Thomaston Ga. Under the bridge we saw a well used primitive campsite that looked like a good spot to end the day. We had barely put up the tents when a deputy sheriff showed up to harass us. Once he got tired of pouring the contents of our panniers all over the ground he made us leave. He told us to cross the bridge and not come back through his jurisdiction again.

We crossed the bridge and shortly came to a crossroads and a country store. We asked the storekeeper if there was an area nearby we could camp. He offered us the shade of a big tree behind the store. In appreciation we didn't eat the food we had brought with us, we bought food in his store instead.

Day 2, The next morning as we were preparing to leave the storekeeper's wife came over to us and insisted we have breakfast with her and her husband. Wonderful people!. At some point we passed a turnoff for Plains Ga, Jimmy Carter had been elected President and Plains, Ga had been in the media a lot, so we decided to check it out. We got to Plains probaly around noon on Sunday, The town was packed full of tourists and media people running around. Jimmy wasn't in town nor was his brother Billy holding court at his gas station, so we left.

Later in the afternoon a car came up behind us and honked the horn, looking back we saw an elderly couple motioning for us to stop. We stopped along the road,the woman got out of the car and had a paper sack full of fried chicken,cornbread and sweet potatoes, Her and her husband had saw us ride by and thought we would enjoy having some home made food on our journey. We thanked them and waited while they prayed for us.

Shortly after we came to a roadside park and enjoyed the food. We rode in Albany Ga about dark and stayed with a friend of Chucky's for the night.

Day 3 We didn't ride we hung around Chucky's friend's house and rode around town.

Day 4 We left Albany early and rode the final 92 miles to Valdosta

It was a great first tour and really helped prepare me for the transam ride I rode 6 months later.
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Old 01-07-07, 04:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca
^How did you eat with only that amount of money?
I got work here and there.

I shovelled potatoes onto a conveyor belt one day, picked grapes, apples and cherries in France; picked olives and oranges, and tore down plastic tunnels used for growing tomatoes in Greece. Made almost enough to live on.

There was food in the fields, sweet corn, apples, potatoes etc, although I didn't do this until I camped in the corner of a farmer's field in France and he said I could have some of the corn, told me I wouldn't take as much as the birds or rats did.

People took me home and fed me and at local markets there is always "food" to be found.

I sold blood in several places, in Athens this got me the ferry money for Crete, they were picking the olives over there but the orange harvest hadn,t started on the mainland.

george
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Old 01-07-07, 10:48 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jibi
I got work here and there.

I shovelled potatoes onto a conveyor belt one day, picked grapes, apples and cherries in France; picked olives and oranges, and tore down plastic tunnels used for growing tomatoes in Greece. Made almost enough to live on.

There was food in the fields, sweet corn, apples, potatoes etc, although I didn't do this until I camped in the corner of a farmer's field in France and he said I could have some of the corn, told me I wouldn't take as much as the birds or rats did.

People took me home and fed me and at local markets there is always "food" to be found.

I sold blood in several places, in Athens this got me the ferry money for Crete, they were picking the olives over there but the orange harvest hadn,t started on the mainland.

george
Sounds like you developed the knack for being able to rely on the kindness and generosity of your friends and neighbors. I just wonder at what point does that turn into a lifestyle of being a leech? How many people had to come together to get you through your expedition? At what cost to them?

People ask, "Why does it take so many people on a TdF team just to get one rider to win? There's a captain, team mates, doctors and trainers, cooks and drivers, managers, who know who else?" Just refer them to George. He knows.
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Old 01-07-07, 12:14 PM   #11
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Seems like velonomad knows too
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Day 2, The next morning as we were preparing to leave the storekeeper's wife came over to us and insisted we have breakfast with her and her husband. Wonderful people!. At some point we passed a turnoff for Plains Ga, Jimmy Carter had been elected President and Plains, Ga had been in the media a lot, so we decided to check it out. We got to Plains probaly around noon on Sunday, The town was packed full of tourists and media people running around. Jimmy wasn't in town nor was his brother Billy holding court at his gas station, so we left.

Later in the afternoon a car came up behind us and honked the horn, looking back we saw an elderly couple motioning for us to stop. We stopped along the road,the woman got out of the car and had a paper sack full of fried chicken,cornbread and sweet potatoes, Her and her husband had saw us ride by and thought we would enjoy having some home made food on our journey. We thanked them and waited while they prayed for us.
There are a lot of nice people out there, but you have to be nice first in order to attract them.

Quote:
Sounds like you developed the knack for being able to rely on the kindness and generosity of your friends and neighbors. I just wonder at what point does that turn into a lifestyle of being a leech?
I wonder too, never having done it myself.

george
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Old 01-07-07, 12:23 PM   #12
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How could I forget? I had an old 10 speed and no money. I had a sleeping bag I got free for listening to a sales pitch on private campgrounds (like I could afford one!) I had rear panniers I sewed myself out of packcloth. I had a floor pump I bought from a 2nd hand store. I strapped that on. I had a single-wall nylon pup tent. It kept most of the rain off me and didn't sweat too badly! I tied the sleeping bag on between the drops of my handlebars with string.

I rode from Bellingham, Washington up to Golden Ears Provincial Park in British Columbia. The first night I stayed at a free city park in B. C. Everything was fine, except that some local boys told me that I was sleeping in the shadow of a provincial prison, and that they had a big problem with guys escaping - if I heard sirens and saw searchlights during the night, watch out. Great! I slept with my Buck knife under my pillow. The floodlights were bright, but no one escaped and I slept soundly.

The next morning I made it to Lake Alouette. It was beautiful!. I paid for a night in the Provincial Park (which was a big strain on my budget.) While I was out exploring I saw some kids camped on a sandbar across the river from the park. I swam over and they said I could get there by going down the road a bit and going through a locked gate on a dirt road, and that it was free. Cool! I moved the second day. I had a wonderful time, swimming in the river, hanging out with the Canadian kids, camping for free! I had so much fun I extended my trip by a day and rode all the way home on the last day. It was 70 miles back to B'ham. That doesn't seem so bad now, but back then it was a long way! I had a lousy saddle and my butt would go numb after 30 miles!

The worst part was that I was a musician and had a gig that night. We were playing in a restaurant, and our first set had to be quiet "background music" while the people ate. I was sitting on a bar stool. I was so tired I almost fell asleep during "My Funny Valentine" and fell off the stool. I caught myself just as I was going down. It was a struggle to stay asleep the rest of the night, but I was in a great mood. I was hooked on bicycle touring!
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Old 01-07-07, 12:32 PM   #13
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Cool website and stories Rowan!
Thanks! There are so many more that I want to write and post... but I get overwhelmed by it sometimes. But definitely glad you liked it.
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Old 01-07-07, 08:21 PM   #14
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30 days across Europe. My rear wheel kept touching the frame whenever I pushed hard uphill, slowing my progress, and it got worse as I went. I thought it was frame flex on my cheap bike or maybe the tires were too large.

I found out near the end of the trip that the rear axle itself was broken into two pieces, and the quick lock pin was the only thing holding the bike together. It had happened before my trip even started. How's that for mechanical insight?
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Old 01-08-07, 01:50 AM   #15
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When I was 12 years old rode my Raleigh 3 speed from Cleveland to Mentor-on-the-Lake, Oh. Took a banana, apple, P&J sandwich and water in a peanut butter jar. Put everything into a lunch box and tied it onto the rack. Rolled my swimsuit up in a towel and tied it w/the lunchbox. Had a pump, patch kit, two flat screwdrivers and two crescent wrenches in the underseat bag. The distance was around 60 miles rt. I was staying with my grandmother for the summer and missed my friends, so I went and visited them for the day. Left around 6:30 AM and came back around 6 PM. Spent the day at the beach hanging out. Never told my grandmother I was going and never told my parents I went. Didn't think anything about it until I got older and realized it was a pretty adventurous thing for a 12 yr old kid to do. I think that it qualifies as my first tour...a day tour, anyway.
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Old 01-08-07, 01:52 AM   #16
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OOps! The pump was a frame pump...it wasn't in the bag.
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Old 01-08-07, 06:24 AM   #17
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My first tour was from Ottawa to Golden Lake. The ride there was awesome. I went with a good friend of mine. We brought a pup tent for us to stay in. Then one of the worst thunderstorms let loose on us while we were trying to sleep. The tent kept us dry, but we could feel the cold water running under the tent. All in all it was a miserable night. I learned a lot that first tour, and as a result I am much better prepared.

The lesson learned, bring a ground sheet, and leave the friend at home.
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Old 01-08-07, 07:35 AM   #18
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Fall of 2000. San Francisco to LA. Thru Big Sur. An Incredible first tour.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:45 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Machka
Mine was a short 4-day event in 1995 ... I've been touring for almost 12 years! I can hardly believe it has been that long!!
My first tour was also in 1995. Three week. San Francisco to San Diego. The west coast is great for a first tour.
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Old 01-08-07, 10:21 AM   #20
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Telluride, Colorado to Moab, Utah using the San Juan Huts. I'd love to do it all over again with the same friends some day.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:04 AM   #21
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My first tour was for several days (credit card tour) starting in Lansdale, PA, through beautiful Amish country and then into Maryland where I visited a friend. I loved it, but also realized how out of shape I was.

My last touring day was indescribable. I starting riding about 7:00 AM, anticipating ending my ride in mid afternoon. I was riding through rural country with no stores or civilization. Around noon, I finally reached a small town and found a small store, so I thought I'd take a break. As I was waiting in line, I felt something odd in the "air." The other people in the store had a strange way about them, how they moved or how they talked in hushed voices. Then I noticed two employees behind the counter looking up at a TV. (I couldn't see the screen.) They just sort of stared, their mouths almost slack.

When I reached the counter and paid for my stuff, I abruptly asked the clerk, "What the hell is going on?" She looked at me, eyes wide, looking practically scared. She said, "Haven't you heard?" I said, "No. What?" "The World Trade Center has fallen to the ground."

Then she told me all that had happened that morning in New York City, and also about the plane (United 93) that was still in the air.

My brain just couldn't comprehend all of this.

I finally headed outside, got on my bike, and starting riding. I immediately reached a red traffic light, and waited. The next thing I knew, I was looking up at the sky, wondering.

A few hours later, I finally made it to my motel, where I saw it all on the TV.

David in FL
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Old 01-08-07, 02:38 PM   #22
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1988 California to Maine and back----on and off road--Trek 820 mtn bike, so I took service roads, Forest Service/BLM roads when I found them. Heat wave summer (the midwest was in drought-- also met a few farmers who had lost their crop to Russian aphids (I think this was a relatively new culprit at the time)---headed up to Ontario for cooler riding. Met some people in Thunder Bay which worked out well, since my frame broke as I was leaving town, and it took Trek 2 weeks to send me a frame across the lake (they upgraded me to an 8000 which I liked). We went out to Sleeping Giant, wind surfing, hiking, painted a house, etc.-had a blast. Then down to Toronto and up the St. Lawrence to Montrealóback to U.S. hit coast at Belfast, Maine. Meandered the N.E. (caught the Fall color show in N.Y.), Cape Cod-- down to relatives in West Virginia leaving there around Thanksgiving. Headed back to California detouring to Big Bend in Texas. It was fun looking up relatives in Kansas and Louisiana that I had never met before.
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Old 02-24-07, 02:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by sunday driver
Sounds like you developed the knack for being able to rely on the kindness and generosity of your friends and neighbors. I just wonder at what point does that turn into a lifestyle of being a leech? How many people had to come together to get you through your expedition? At what cost to them?
I believe the concept is called 'caring and sharing'.



Not to mention, building community through cycling!

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Old 02-24-07, 03:58 PM   #24
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Wow, that question brings back memories. My first tour was in 1982 on a Specialized Expedition (the 1982 type). I took a Jefferson bus from KCMO to Denver, CO. Rode from Denver CO to Colorado Springs to Manitou Springs. Spent 2 days in Manitou Springs. Then rode to Ellinwood, KS where I met my family, who was on vacation. Eight days, 650mi, solo tour. I've been hooked ever since. Been touring ever since!
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Old 02-25-07, 06:40 AM   #25
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My first tour in 1974 started in Oswego, NY east to Bar Harbor, ME then down the east coast to eastern Long Island. Talk about a newbie! I did everything wrong but still had fun. My mistakes were a comedy of errors. But I learned. Boy did I learn. Number one, don't carry white gas in a water bottle! Oh yes, and a Raleigh International with sew-ups is not a good touring bike!
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