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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.

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Old 01-26-07, 05:36 PM   #1
arijane
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A sudden inspiration - arbitrary touring

It occurred to me today to buy a ticket to somewhere in the world and with only cursory research, take my bike and go tour there.

I more or less did that in 2003 and it worked ok.

Maybe this summer, maybe Scandinavia or New Zealand or Argentina.

Does anyone else ascribe to this form of Quixotic touring?
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Old 01-26-07, 11:55 PM   #2
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our very own flic caused a stir doing the very same thing in this thread.
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Old 01-27-07, 08:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arijane
Does anyone else ascribe to this form of Quixotic touring?
Theoretically, yes. It speaks, loudly, to some fundamental poetic element in my soul.

In actual practice I find it very difficult to shed the restraints that years of hearing 'you need to be prepared and don't risk anything and be a minion in some kind of unthinking status quo' have instilled in me.

Please continue to do what you dream and tell us about it: maybe it'll be contagious.
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Old 01-27-07, 08:33 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arijane
It occurred to me today to buy a ticket to somewhere in the world and with only cursory research, take my bike and go tour there.

I more or less did that in 2003 and it worked ok.

Maybe this summer, maybe Scandinavia or New Zealand or Argentina.

Does anyone else ascribe to this form of Quixotic touring?
Yeah, and I sometimes try to use bad or no maps. That usually leads me to some fun places and also some not so fun places.
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Old 01-27-07, 11:00 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by arijane
Does anyone else ascribe to this form of Quixotic touring?
I don't.

But I think it can work given the proper circumstances, such as:

you're already in shape and have done some touring
you don't mind going wherever without an agenda
you have generous time limits
you are traveling in generally safe areas
you set aside enough time in a given day to find shelter
optionally, you know how to stealth camp
you have sufficient financial resources to get out of a jam

For example, you could do this fairly well in Thailand. It's fairly safe, there are guest houses all over the place, and you can get back to Bangkok to catch a flight from almost anywhere in the country (although it may take a day or two).
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Old 01-27-07, 11:07 AM   #6
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I'm off to Australia next Sunday and that is kind of my plan. No real agenda, go where I want and do what I want for 10 weeks. Just get on the bike and ride.
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Old 01-27-07, 11:23 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gadeux
our very own flic caused a stir doing the very same thing in this thread.
Yes, let's see.....what did I learn from Flic's thread? I learned the only way arijane will have fun in Scandinavia is to go with no money, in the winter, touring on a track bike, wearing a speedo and write it all down in a journal for the rest of us of read. Or arijane can be some kind of dullard like Bacciagalupe and do things that way. Jeesh, how boring would that be?
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Old 01-27-07, 01:11 PM   #8
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Parameters, my friend, parameters.

You don't want to do random spur-of-the-moment touring in Wyoming in early May. You may end up frozen in a spring blizzard. Same goes for water in Nevada in late July. You may end up 60 miles from any water source on an empty road. Philosophically, it sounds great, but if you have ever volunteered for a search & rescue squad - you quickly become aware that many victims are those who are not prepared.

There's preparation and there's obsessing. Check out Crazyguy's journals about the Western Express thru Nevada. Almost everybody makes the same stops - - in towns. It's a different journey if you let yourself stop wherever. Likewise with the start and end of a trip. If you give yourself some leeway - you can have a few delays early on and not get all bent - - and you can avoid rushing to make Seattle by August 15th for your flight back.

I find that if I plan what is generally possible and what options are out there - then I can make changes as I go along. Meet another cyclist? Take a different route. Find a great mountain meadow? Stop for a few days. I like to be prepared enough so that I can play it by ear without finding myself on the On-Ramp to the Santa Monica Freeway.
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Old 01-27-07, 01:19 PM   #9
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I've travelled both with and without planning. Overall, the trips that I carefully planned were more enjoyable than those when I didn't. There have been exceptions both ways, with a well-planned excursion being a big drag, and an unplanned romp leading to unexpected good times.

For me, the best thing about the planned trips is that I am already familiar with the terrain and possibilities of a region. When that basic familiarity under my belt, I find that I am more likely to set out on serendipitous sidetrips. Planning a trip does not mean that you cannot be flexible.
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Old 01-27-07, 02:33 PM   #10
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I get into enough trouble when I've got a plan, I couldn't imagine going anywhere without one
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Old 01-27-07, 04:51 PM   #11
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Well, I had do a little planning--like figuring out what to do with my apartment and giving my boss reasonable notice, but I took off for Europe for six months with nothing but my bike, my touring gear and a ticket to Athens in March and a return ticket from Ireland In September. Worked out great.
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Old 01-28-07, 10:35 AM   #12
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Look, the only way to really have a decent adventure in cycle touring is this:

Completely disassemble your bike, including the frame, and put it in your knapsack as carry on luggage. When you get to the other airport, just take out about a 100 tubes of superglue and stick it all back together.

You'll want to throw away your handlebars and get a steering wheel, with flippers to shift instead of whatever crappy shifters you use now.

Buy the world's smallest laptop and mount it on your steering wheel. If you need directions, just go to mapquest Norway, and there you go! If you need a hotel, search hotels Finland and you're all set. When you get hungry or need a bike shop, well, you get the idea. You don't need no stinkin' maps. You'll also be able to email people to tell them what you are having for lunch.

In your knapsack you will carry with you:
1. Food
a. Canned green beans, bunch of bananas, a potato
b. Packets of instant water mix
2. Clothes
a. Anything as long as its Roots brand
b. (To pretend you are Canadian, because you don't want anybody thinking you are American,
even if you are not)
3. Digital camera
a. For pictures of places you wished you had stayed at longer
b. For pictues of the places you didn't like very much
c. For pictures of people you never learned the names of
4. Stuff from REI
a. Stuff you don't need
b. Stuff salesclerks recommended to you
c. Stuff you bought because it was shiney and on sale
5. Crap for the bike
a. Small crescent wrench
b. Glueless patches, because you don't have the time to sit around for that extra moment waiting
for glue to dry
c. A spoke
6. Miscellaneous
a. SIM card for a Nokia phone
b. A Boy Scout pocket knife to fight off bears and drunken idiots
1. Everybody knows that bike tourists are frequently in knife fights with bears and
drunken idiots
2. If you are ever in a knife fight, you'll want to use a Boy Scout knife, because
you know the cops won't mind. They'll think you are just being a good scout.
c. Everything has to be recyclable, because you'll want to throw it all in the garbage can after
three days

That's my comprehensive list.
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