Together or not
Together or not
Wow, what well constructed post!
But to answer your question, alone - because you always meet people on the road, and then you've got the choice of cycling alone or not.
I like to keep my fingers slightly separated. It just feels more comfortable to me.
Kind of hard to tour without the bike...
Wow. That's a very tough question to answer. I've tried it both ways and really can't tell you which I like best. I'm going to have to think on this one for a while. Very tough question.
Touring...therapy for the soul.
I am usually in the alone camp for most riding, backpacking, and other outdoor activities, but love to tour with my daughter. I did the TA with her and a college room mate of her's this Summer and it was a great trip. I would tour with either of them again any time the opportunity presented itself. Not only were they great company, but I met more other people because we were assumed to be a father and two daughters. As a family I think people were more warm, open and kind toward us than they would have been toward a lone male.
Additionally their enthusiasm was infectious and it was great to see the world through their younger eyes.
The trip would have been great alone, but it was 10 times better with them along.
I took a week's tour with a woman once. My best friend at the time. She liked to get up earlier than I do and pedal faster. That was a long time ago but it turned out that I had enough of that to last a lifetime.
My first ever tour was alone, and think that everyone should do at least one solo tour in life as I had a great time on mine.
But ever since my wife got interested in touring I really wouldn't want to tour alone again. Not to knock the solo tourists, but I think having someone "close" come along to share the experiance is very nice.
Together for sure, I almost always enjoy the conversation and humanity of others to make the miles go by. Of course the expense is one must be more willing to compromise and forfeit one's
self centered goals.
Last edited by robow; 01-26-08 at 10:54 AM.
If long --- together
If short --- not
Depends on what you want, what you can handle and where you're going. I like solo touring, but with the right cycling companion or companions, riding together could be great too.
Life is good.
It's dynamic... you can start a solo tour and wish you had someone along to share the experiences, and to stop you to look when you might have ridden on by. But solo touring can be satisfying and you can do as you wish, stop to sleep where you want and travel as far or short as you feel.
You can start a group tour, and find group behaviour can change, especially if there is one individual who doesn't "fit" with the group either philosophically or behaviour-wise.
As to travelling with a life partner, it's been said that a bicycle tour will make or break a marriage or relationship. It becomes a matter of compromises that may even change along the way. If you can't make the compromises along the way (and that may involved argument, discussion, and making up), then you might meet the same problems later in your relationship.
And, remember one very, very vital piece of information if you are male: She is ALWAYS right
Dream. Dare. Do.
“HAPPINESS ISN’T REAL UNLESS IT IS SHARED.”
"“HAPPINESS ISN’T REAL UNLESS IT IS SHARED.”"
I think that falls into the catagory of why it is we are never happy. Because as soon as we are, we think of something else that would need to fall in place just to be happy. Like having another person along. Could also fall into the catagory of "people who need an audience".
Some people don't make good cycling partners. I'd rather ride alone than ride with a high-maintenance person or someone who'll spend the day whining.
Life is good.
One thing that I and Machka have found very important is to remain well nourished. Having ridden together on several big randonnees and touring, we pretty well know when each is getting low on energy, because the tempers begin to unravel. We figure if we are going to stand arguing on the corner of a big city about which direction to take, we might as well sit down and have the argument with an ice-cream or something; funny how the argument seems to melt away with each lick of the cone. Of course, in the middle of nowhere, an energy bar or slurp on an energy drink is needed.
One of the issues that does arise, and Machka alluded to this, is the difference in riding speeds. It is extremely rare to have two people who are comfortable riding at the same pace, unless there is some "handicap" introduced into the equation. It can be difficult for the slower rider to accept that they will be riding alone for much of the time, at the back of the two-person pack. And it can be equally difficult for a faster person to understand that the other one needs a good rest on arriving at a stop point, rather than moving on immediately to the next segment because the faster rider is ready and raring to go on their next personal challenge.
It's a balancing act... those compromises I mentioned before become important, especially those given by the faster, fitter rider. Flexibility in scheduling of tour legs is something that also is needed to overcome issues such as tiredness, illness or disillusionment; look for alternative transport or easier routes at various points along the way. It worked well for us in Europe last year. And importantly, schedule in plenty of rest!
I think, on reading many journals, that the most successful partnerships involve compromises, common goals and mutual enjoyment from their achievements and what they see and experience.
Of course, much of the negative issues become somewhat moot if a couple is on a tandem.
Dream. Dare. Do.
Some people simply have profoundly different goals. Although I don't peddle fast, I don't peddle long, and I sure don't peddle early, my attitude has always been that I was pacing myself, not for a day and not for the trip, but for a lifetime of enjoyable bicycling. I sincerely believed that I should end each trip, and preferably every day, clean, well rested, and well fed. Now I know from meeting hundreds of them during my trips that I am not likely to come upon another bicyclist with this attitude. Suits me fine. The long-haul pacing worked, though, because I am 57 and cannot think of anything I'd rather do than head off to the "grounds" for a very long ride.