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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 09-30-07, 08:34 PM   #1
fixedup
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So what got you started in touring?

Im almost 20 now and I feel the need to break away and go do something worth while ( while im young right?). Bikes have been the best thing for me the past few years and im fully consumed in it, more and more each day. Touring seems like something I should do and something I feel like I need to do. Im already trying to plan my first one. I dunno I'm bored and rambling and need ideas and such.
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Old 09-30-07, 09:17 PM   #2
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Well my dad did Los Angeles to Boston after college, and told be stories about it since before I can remember. It kind of came naturally...
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Old 09-30-07, 10:26 PM   #3
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What got me started in touring?

A picture I cut out of the newspaper way back in the early 1990s. I still have it. It is a blue bicycle with blue panniers front and back. Something about it intrigued me ... it planted the idea in my head that perhaps one day I could have a blue bicycle with panniers, like in the picture ... and travel the world.

It helped, of course, that I've been into cycling since I was about 6 years old (thanks to my father), and that my father did a short tour in the Rockies (Jasper to Banff) when I was 17 years old ... which I vowed I would do myself one day.

It took a while for me to get into it, but my first tour was that Jasper to Banff tour ... that triggered it all. And then some time later, I got a blue bicycle on which I've been touring ever since.
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Old 09-30-07, 10:35 PM   #4
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So what got you started in touring?
Not being able to see enough on day trips, because I had to turn around and ride home again.
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Old 09-30-07, 11:07 PM   #5
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I've always loved cycling. When I was in my early teens, I remember reading a few articles about people cycling across Canada or the U.S. It sounded like a nice challenge. Because of work commitments, the transcontinental trip idea hasn't happened, but I've taken quite a few shorter trips which have all been a lot of fun.
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Old 09-30-07, 11:25 PM   #6
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I hitch/hiked this land a lot in my youth but I had to get older before I saw [or took in what I saw] a guy on a bike... one trip and I was hooked. Now there's no giving it up.
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Old 10-01-07, 01:58 AM   #7
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I did a car tour through Belguim, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain a few years ago and not only did I feel that we were missing a lot the driving itself really was a pain. So that was impetus to tour by bike. The only draw back I have found of touring by bike is storing your kit while seeing the sights.
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Old 10-01-07, 02:04 AM   #8
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I knew it was my major expectation when I first bought my bike. Hitting the road has always been one of life's goals. Why would that not include my bike fetish.
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Old 10-01-07, 03:02 AM   #9
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Fifteen years ago I didn't have a bike and hadn't ridden one in 10 years. At the time I had a job that involved a lot of driving and when it came round to our summer holidays I really didn't want to go anywhere by car. So, Mrs Creamcrackered suggested a cycling holiday. I thought it was a god awful idea - pedalling a loaded bike around and living out of a tent for two weeks. However, I couldn't come up with a better idea, so we bought a couple of cheap bikes and some camping gear, and jumped on the ferry to northern Spain - no shake down tour or anything loke that, we hadn't even cycled with the panniers on before we set off. Anyway, by Day 2 I was completely converted and haven't looked back since.
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Old 10-01-07, 03:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by fixedup
So what got you started in touring?
Same reasons that got me started in kayaking, or to a lesser extent in hiking / xc-skiing. They may well get me started on sailing, snowshoeing and/or long-distance skating too, if the "#% climate change allows.

The idea of moving on my own quietly and without motorized assistance. The idea of being completely free to go when and were I wish to, and being able to carry pretty much everything I need with me. The idea of seeing places I would not otherwise get to see.

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Old 10-01-07, 05:16 AM   #11
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A crazed German in South America touring on a budget of one dollar a day. We never met him but those who did were changed forever by the experience.

He flew into New York, pedaled down to Central America, caught a boat past the Darien Gap and rolled through the Andes. After nearly three years of travel he had gone through about a thousand dollars.

While we have no intention of traveling so inexpensively, the idea opened my eyes to what was possible on a bike and got my heart beating faster.
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Old 10-01-07, 06:12 AM   #12
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A previous post mentioned a photograph of a touring bicycle. I can remember such a picture as well. Something about it just looked right - the completely self-contained, functional nature of it really attracted me.

Like many of us, I spent much of my childhood on a bicycle. My buddy and I would load up our baskets with everything from baseball gloves to fishing rods - just in case! We spent long days wandering around the county, without a care in the world. The hardest part was turning around and heading home.
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Old 10-01-07, 08:31 AM   #13
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There were three impetuses for me:

1. I was 21-years-old in 1977, and a friend told me the story of how she had bicycled in Holland. I couldn't get the image out of my head...

2. A year later, I hitchhiked across Canada and south to California. At a campground in California I chatted with a couple from British Columbia who were cycling down the coast. Until that moment it had never really occurred to me to actually do it myself...

3. A few months later, I watched a friend set off from San Diego on an extended cross-continent tour. This was the first time that I had witnessed someone I knew touring. Several months later, I arrived back in Toronto just in time for my friend to cycle into town. He told me amazing stories of his travels, and I was excited and jealous at the same time.

I bought a touring bike a few months later. Although I did plenty of day trips, it took me 19 years to actually do my first multi-day tour! Now as a 51-year-old with a family, I still manage one trip lasting seven to eighteen days every year or so.
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Old 10-01-07, 09:08 AM   #14
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I've never been on any touring not even a short overnighters along the counryside but I have made preparations by acquiring the basic equipment for touring and that I will do it next year. The crazyguyonabike.com with many journals that were contributed by those who have done it solidified that aspiration. I have always want to see the US coast to coast either on foot or bike and after much research, I settled on bike the best way to see the US.
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Old 10-01-07, 09:43 AM   #15
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I too lived on my bike as a kid. My family was always into bicycles, from well before I was born (I am 56). I think it started when my dad built up some bikes from scrap parts for the family.

I remember my family driving past some bike tourists in western Maryland when I was young and being intrigued. In 1976, I was bitten by the bikecentenial bug, but the trip didn't happen. I did a short tour in a couple years ago and more recently decided to do a longer tour.

I was planning to do the Pacific Coast Highway in the summer of 2007, but my daugher asked if I could do something with her after she graduated college. It was to be a month or so and it wasn't for sure if we would go sailing or biking. A week or so later she called and asked if I could get the summer off to do the TransAmerica! Of course there could only be one answer to that.

I had always planned to do the TransAmerica at some point in my life, but expected it to be after retirement.

My daughter, one of her college room mates, and I had a great trip. I am now a bike tourist for life and I have a feeling it is their blood now too.
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Old 10-01-07, 10:28 AM   #16
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I'm not sure how I got it into my head that touring was possible. Probably from talking to people in my bike club who toured.

The impetus for my first tour was that I used to publish comic books. My partner in the business lived in San Francisco, and the big convention every year is in San Diego. Every year I would fly to SF, and then we would all go down to San Diego. Every year we took a different mode of transporation; one year we drove, one year we flew, one year we took the train. So I suggested that we cycle one year. My friend, who was the artist on one of our books said that sounded like a great idea. Of course, being an artist, he flaked out on me. I couple of years later, when I was no longer publishing, I did the tour without going to the convention.
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Old 10-01-07, 02:05 PM   #17
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It started out with Jack Kerouac. Every time I read his books (especially Dharma Bums), I wanted to disappear to the other side of the country. I just couldn't figure out how to do it without ending up in jail.

Serendipitously, my mountain bike was stolen, and I stumbled across John Faughnan's page on touring bikes while researching a replacement. Then I read Ken Kifer's stuff. I was hooked. I had a budget of $300, so there was no way I could afford a tourer. Within a week, a used Dawes showed up on craigslist for $350.

I figured it was a sign.

My wife worried at first that I would die in some roadside gulley. I was so energized when I came back from my first multi-day tour, though, that now she helps me plan them.
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Old 10-01-07, 02:56 PM   #18
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In the mid-eighties, a couple of friends and I donned day packs and tied the sleeping gear on our MTB's and followed an almost non-existant trail to a State Park (the trail was marked on a highway map!). We had a great time. When my ex and I split, she wouldn't give me one of the cars (both in her name for insurance reasons) so I jumped on the bike with the same day pack and a gym bag strapped to rack and rode to my home state (not far, about two hundred miles) and then, a few years later, I came across Neil Gunton's account of his cross country trip. I had been riding for a while, now I had a new purpose. I'd always enjoyed backpacking, now I do it on my bike as well. Joy.
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Old 10-01-07, 04:48 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by jakuma View Post
I did a car tour through Belguim, France, Switzerland, Italy and Spain a few years ago and not only did I feel that we were missing a lot the driving itself really was a pain. So that was impetus to tour by bike. The only draw back I have found of touring by bike is storing your kit while seeing the sights.
Here is a thread I have started dealing with that problem.
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Old 10-01-07, 04:52 PM   #20
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An associate of mine who was living in Belgium kept pestering me to visit. I was doing a bit of cycling but nothing too serious, so I basically said "WTH" and went.

The trip was rather poorly planned, but turned out to be a lot of fun anyway. As far as I'm concerned, it's the perfect way to explore an area, since you're covering a decent amount of territory (40-70+ miles a day) at a moderate pace. So, you get to interact with the locals, really experience the scenery, and get in shape as well.
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Old 10-01-07, 05:00 PM   #21
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I think it started when my dad built up some bikes from scrap parts for the family.
This is something that you have to dig for photos and show us.
If you find pics of Jimi Hendrix, post them too
Vintage makes me day dream
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Old 10-01-07, 05:10 PM   #22
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This is something that you have to dig for photos and show us.
If you find pics of Jimi Hendrix, post them too
Vintage makes me day dream
Next time I am at Mom's house I will see if I can get a copy. There is a great shot of my Mom and Dad and three kids on bikes. They ran it in the paper on the front of one of the inner sections of the Sundy paper. It was back in the day of "balloon tires" and coaster brakes.
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Old 10-01-07, 05:10 PM   #23
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This guy:
http://mypage.direct.ca/a/adair/nz01.html
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Old 10-01-07, 07:41 PM   #24
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When my brother was in high school (and I in junior high) he strapped a sleeping bag on his bike and rode about 70 miles from home to a state park, slept under a picnic table, and rode home the next day. I was so intrigued with that idea. I would have never believed one could do that!

Then, in high school, my buddy's little brother, who was in junior high, joined a group called "The Cyclemates" (this was the late 60s - remember cyclamates?) who rode their bikes from Mercer Island, Washington to New York. Again, I was intrigued - very intrigued!

In college I bought a 10 speed and the idea of touring crept back into my consciousness. My poverty made it especially attractive. I sewed some homemade panniers for the back, strapped my sleeping bag between the drops, and off I went. That was about 35 years ago. I've been touring off and on ever since. (It's much better to have the money to afford a good bike, good panniers, a good tent, a good sleeping bag, a stove, mess kit, etc. But I don't think I'm having any more fun than I did those first few times!)
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Old 10-01-07, 07:57 PM   #25
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I remember reading about The Cyclemates when I was in high school. They had a fairly large group and, as I recall, they did at least three tours across the U.S. in the late 1960s and early 1970s. From the book, I was amazed at the organization they had. It seems each one had a specific task. This made the entire tour go quite smoothly.
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