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Thread: Aborting a tour

  1. #1
    Neil_B
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    Aborting a tour

    Under what circumstances would you abort a tour? I fractured a rib on my last one, and I know I made the right decision to quit two days later. But busted rib aside, what else might cause one to stop? Loss of one's bike doesn't even seem to stop some folks, if we take DantheMan's example as standard.

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    I think loss of enjoyment would be a good reason. Some might say that enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of successfully battling through gruelling discomfort, but it's not my bag.

  3. #3
    Flying and Riding sam21fire's Avatar
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    I had to make this decision twice; once I came down with a cold that turned into bronchitis while riding through Northern California in November. I had to abort when I realized that I wasn't getting any rest at night, was never warm or dry, and the cough and fever were getting worse. I didn't time to get medications and wait it out so I aborted.

    The second time I fell and severely bruised my knee. This was an easier decision because my knee didn't work right and riding wasn't possible.

    Short answer, there are a lot of factors involved in the decision, but if you're not having fun with no possibility of fun in sight, or your body won't heal, then I'd give some serious thought to calling it off.

    Sam

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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Depends on the trip. If it is a big deal to me to finish, like a big goal, it would take something pretty major. I would have toughed out a lot to finish the TA. It would have taken a broken leg or something. A stolen bike wouldn't stop me in that case.

    If it was a short or local tour that wasn't as big of a deal to me, then just not having fun might be enough.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Medical emergency; family emergency; personal financial crisis; felony arrest.

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    puncutre

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I think it would have to be some sort of major medical emergency.

    See ... once I leave home on vacation, I'm not coming back home before my planned vacation time is over unless there is an extremely good reason. I may not cycle the whole time I'm gone ... in fact, there's a good chance I'll make use of other forms of transportation. And I may stay in one spot for a while to heal up ... I've done that a couple times. But I'm not going home!! I am definitely not a stay-at-home vacation person ... there's too much out there to see!!

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    pregnancy

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    I was near the end, maybe another week before having to return to school, and my rear rack broke so I decided to call it a tour.

  10. #10
    mev
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    Cycle touring can be a mental exercise. So for me the "when to abort" question is really checking against my mental expectations in advance and hence will vary.

    To give a concrete example, last year I took 10 months off for cycle touring. In effect it was a combination trip with four different expectations:
    a. One month touring in Texas, with goal of shaking out equipment issues and doing training.
    b. Six months with goal to cross Europe and Asia under my own power.
    c. Two months with goal of cycling with an organized ride through China.
    d. One month of rest/recuperate in Thailand/Malaysia with loose goal of riding Bangkok to Singapore.

    I was quite determined at "b" and my threshold was very high against anything to stop that trip. For example, I had pre-positioned a bike in Russia so if the bike was stolen/damaged I could go by rail in country to pick that as a replacement. There were some times that were probably more fun/challenging in retrospect than when I was there but that was just part of the trip. It would probably take some event that left me physically unable to bike for me to stop.

    On the other hand, while cycling "d" through Thailand, my rear hub broke after two weeks. Rather than figure out the logistics of replacing the (48-spoke) hub, I found a nice spot in southern Thailand and holed up for a week. I next took the train to Kuala Lumpur and stayed there for another week. I came home a few days earlier than expected but not much. That was all consistent with my mental model of what I was doing for that segment of the trip, which was relaxing and preparing for "re-entry".

    I've had other trips where I cycled ~100 miles with a spark plug after my pedal snapped off to ride the Natchez Trace and one where I flew back from Australia to pick up a replacement bike after my frame cracked and a good share of other mechanical, health and weather fun.

    I also had one trip where I'd had a rough idea of flying to Hawaii over Thanksgiving Weekend and cycling to top of Mauna Kea. Life had been extremely hectic in the weeks preceding the trip and the first time I really got to unwind was the first day cycling out of Kona. As I thought through things, I realized that while I could make it to top of the volcano, that wasn't really what I needed right then. So after cycling 30 miles, I turned around, cycled back to town, checked into a hotel and hung out on the beach reading several books that weekend. In hindsight, that was the right choice.

  11. #11
    More Energy than Sense aroundoz's Avatar
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    Not having any more fun. Most of the tours I have done have been great but a couple just didn't click. I finished the first (AK to Seattle) one but cut the second one (Newfoundland) short. I was worried this was a sign of things to come but have since done several and they have been great. I realized that I have had to keep things challenging and more interesting by traveling on FSRs more and avoiding the pavement if possible. Now that I am married w/ two kids, it takes a lot more planning to get things to happen so I doubt I will be cutting any trips short since they will be too short to begin with.

  12. #12
    Senior Member FlyingAnchor's Avatar
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    I can tell you why I did abort my T/A tour this year.

    I borrowed a Hase trike tandem with trailer and the gears were just to high and I was slower than I needed to be. After knee pain during the first week and the realization that my speed would never allow me to finish I decided to slow down (with my son) and enjoy what we could. We made 600 miles across Florida and had one of the best times of my life, and definitaly one of his.

    The experience with my son was way more important than my initial goal of the transam. We made a huge memory for us and I can just imagine the stress of trying to make impossible miles each day would have changed the positive memories to something less.

    Now I am planning a more modest week tour next summer, I learned something from this one.

    Steven
    Dragging Anchor

  13. #13
    Senior Member cycotourer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
    Under what circumstances would you abort a tour? I fractured a rib on my last one, and I know I made the right decision to quit two days later.
    The Historian - Unworthy of touring??? Can't help but comment on your current by-line.

    Put things in perspective and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. You want to go home, go home! That doesn't mean you won't and can't go on to enjoy other tours. Go where you want to go, cycle at the pace that is comfortable for you, and don't think you are a lesser person because your ambitions or achievements don't equal someone else's. If you are having fun touring, you will go again, and if it ceases to be fun or is physically inappropriate to continue you can go home. Worthiness in your own eyes is all that counts. Don't judge yourself by someone else's criteria.

    cheers

  14. #14
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    When the trip is no longer fun, it's time to either change plans or quit.

    A few years ago, on a one-week tour, my goal was to cycle to Ainsworth Hot Springs and Kaslo, B.C. When I arrived in Nelson, I felt an incredible sense of sadness and I knew it would get worse the farther I went. I have a lot of good memories of vacationing in that area with my wife. This was the first time after her death two years earlier that I had gone back there.

    I turned around and rode back to Castlegar where I spent the night. The next day, as I began the ride home, I followed an abandoned railway bed through some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen. Later, I followed the highways and stopped for rests and breaks in places I hadn't really noticed before.

    When I arrived home, I felt good. I hadn't completed my original route, but I no longer had to do that. Touring by bicycle had now become much more important than simply arriving at a destination.
    Life is good.

  15. #15
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
    puncutre
    Joke?
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  16. #16
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newspaperguy View Post
    When the trip is no longer fun, it's time to either change plans or quit.

    A few years ago, on a one-week tour, my goal was to cycle to Ainsworth Hot Springs and Kaslo, B.C. When I arrived in Nelson, I felt an incredible sense of sadness and I knew it would get worse the farther I went. I have a lot of good memories of vacationing in that area with my wife. This was the first time after her death two years earlier that I had gone back there.

    I turned around and rode back to Castlegar where I spent the night. The next day, as I began the ride home, I followed an abandoned railway bed through some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen. Later, I followed the highways and stopped for rests and breaks in places I hadn't really noticed before.

    When I arrived home, I felt good. I hadn't completed my original route, but I no longer had to do that. Touring by bicycle had now become much more important than simply arriving at a destination.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  17. #17
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    We had to abort our tour of Iceland before it even really started. We made it just to just outside the airport: while cutting through a zip-tie with a knife (removing the transport protection from the bike) I cut my hand so deep that it had to be stitched and plastered for about week... and no cycling for 2 to 3 weeks. So we were back home after 2 days ;-(

    We planned to cycle for 4 weeks and were not able/ready/willing to visit the country otherwise. As others have mentioned: if the touring is no longer fun, we go home or do something else...

    Tom

  18. #18
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Hi,

    current statistic (not to be exteeded):

    2x injury
    1x robbery and injury
    1x prevent sickness (had 2 heatstrokes) already
    1x damaged bike (accident)

    Only once I went home. In the other cases I continued my trip with public transportation / rental car. Even with damaged bike I rode another 300 km - but the tour was quite different as planned.

    So I had only 1 real abort so far...

    Thomas
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  19. #19
    Senior Member Nigeyy's Avatar
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    Ouch! That must have hurt both physically and mentally. That's really tough.

    Quote Originally Posted by BikingTom View Post
    We had to abort our tour of Iceland before it even really started. We made it just to just outside the airport: while cutting through a zip-tie with a knife (removing the transport protection from the bike) I cut my hand so deep that it had to be stitched and plastered for about week... and no cycling for 2 to 3 weeks. So we were back home after 2 days ;-(

    We planned to cycle for 4 weeks and were not able/ready/willing to visit the country otherwise. As others have mentioned: if the touring is no longer fun, we go home or do something else...

    Tom

  20. #20
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycotourer View Post
    The Historian - Unworthy of touring??? Can't help but comment on your current by-line.

    Put things in perspective and don't worry about what anyone else thinks. You want to go home, go home! That doesn't mean you won't and can't go on to enjoy other tours. Go where you want to go, cycle at the pace that is comfortable for you, and don't think you are a lesser person because your ambitions or achievements don't equal someone else's. If you are having fun touring, you will go again, and if it ceases to be fun or is physically inappropriate to continue you can go home. Worthiness in your own eyes is all that counts. Don't judge yourself by someone else's criteria.

    cheers
    Sorry, the subject line was suggested by another poster a couple of weeks ago. I had the full quotation in my subject line to highlight the absurdity of the comment, but a moderator asked me to remove it. I agree, it's time to change it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigeyy View Post
    Ouch! That must have hurt both physically and mentally. That's really tough.
    The worst was the disappointment to have to cancel/postpone a trip we had been planning for so long.

    From now on, when flying with the bikes, I'll either not use zip-ties to pack them or take pliers to cut the zip-ties.

    Tom

  22. #22
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    I've never aborted a tour, but, on a couple of tours, when we weren't having fun, we hopped a bus to another area of the country.

  23. #23
    Macro Geek
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    I once stopped a trip in the mountains because I began to experience chest pains during a stiff climb! Of course, I sought medical help ASAP, and after many, many tests, the doctor said:

    "You may have experienced pain in your chest, but you don't have angina!"

    What a relief!

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingAnchor View Post
    I can tell you why I did abort my T/A tour this year.

    I borrowed a Hase trike tandem with trailer and the gears were just to high and I was slower than I needed to be. After knee pain during the first week and the realization that my speed would never allow me to finish I decided to slow down (with my son) and enjoy what we could. We made 600 miles across Florida and had one of the best times of my life, and definitaly one of his.

    The experience with my son was way more important than my initial goal of the transam. We made a huge memory for us and I can just imagine the stress of trying to make impossible miles each day would have changed the positive memories to something less.

    Now I am planning a more modest week tour next summer, I learned something from this one.

    Steven

    Yeah, but slowing down or modifying your plans isn't aborting a tour ... aborting a tour is packing everything up and heading home to spend the rest of your vacation time sitting on your porch vascillating back and forth about whether or not you should have continued.

    If you're still out there enjoying yourself ... and not at home ... you haven't aborted, you've just changed your mind.

  25. #25
    Gordon P
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    I changed plans after crashing my bike while touring on Vancouver Island. I ended up in the hospital with multiple fractures and continued traveling around British Columbia with a small backpack.

    Gordon

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