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Old 04-22-09, 02:56 PM   #1
juggleaddict
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I has a problem

Anybody heard of bikeandbuild.org?

Well, I have been planning on touring the US in the summer of 2010 for a while now.

I was very excited that this summer I'd get things moving with a new LHT custom build and some equipment to break in and go on one or two week long tours over the summer.

My family is now pursuing me doing this, and I have negative feelings toward it. Not that I'm against the program, but that's NOT how I wanted to do it.

It would feel structured, I would be followed by a medical/maintenance van, I would always have a warm place to sleep. . . . This, to me, would defeat the WHOLE point. I don't know how to explain it to them.

I WANT to carry 80 lbs of gear all the way. I WANT to sleep outdoors. I WANT the troubles that may arise. I want a real adventure, not a planned one.

I have never been past the mississippi river, and all the states I had planned on going through, I had never been in other than a pit stop going somewhere else. I really wanted to go see the country. . . by myself, or with a few friends. NOT with a bunch of young kids (like myself) on a quest to help people.

Don't get me wrong, I think it would be fun, and I'd love to do it. . . but only AFTER I had done it my way, you know?

Their argument is expense, and security. Whereas I say damn the security, if something happens I will deal with it and it will be part of the trip, good with the bad, some things can't be avoided. As far as expense, you have to raise money through donations and fundraising for the bikeandbuild trip, thus, my relatives would donate (which can be deducted from taxes I believe).

I'm worried about getting money together for a bike, yes, but if I have to, I'll get a windsor tourist, front rack, and the cheapest stuff I can find, if that's what it takes.

I don't know how to explain to them that it's not what I want to do, and that doing it that way would ruin any future attempt at going it alone, because I will have seen a lot of the sites I wanted to discover by myself.

FURTHERMORE!! what is the point of driving a van for everybody's stuff? why not just all hop on a bus and go build houses and be more productive? I don't get it.

I don't know what to do about them pressuring me about it. I told them I would talk about it, but I just don't feel like that's the way I want it to be.

I guess I could ask for suggestions, but I've been told a few already, I really needed to vent to anybody that will listen.

Has anybody else had this problem? What did you end up doing?

OH! AND above all of that, I couldn't see the sites I wanted to go see, I would have to follow the route! What about yellowstone? what about the grand canyon? what about crater lake? and redwood forest? oregon and norther california coastline? . . . I think I'm planning on stopping at cedar pointe amusement park too. : P . . . but what about what III want to do. It seems like my big vacation adventure of a lifetime (until I decide to do a world tour ; ) ) would become simply routine and work.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:00 PM   #2
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They're confusing one thing with the other by assuming it's all about the biking to me. The bike is the tool, It's not what you're out there doing.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:10 PM   #3
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Go it alone, or advertise for a partner if you prefer company.

I personally prefer setting out alone and am happy to meet people along the way, parting as fancy dictates. I certainly do not like the idea of supported tours. They insulate one from the experience of exploring by bicycle.

Check out some stories on VeloWeb about solo tours.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:30 PM   #4
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I recommend either going alone or with someone you know if that is what you want. Don't let other shape your trip too much or steer you toward something you don't want to do.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:30 PM   #5
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I understand your wanting to do it as an adventure. It's not much of one when your stuff is hauled around for you and the planning is done by someone else. It has never been something I've wanted to do. I don't do organized travel either. I like to figure it out on my own. I will make mistakes along the way but that is what makes it fun for me. I like to stop when I want to stop...... period.

Show your family some of the journals on Crazy guy so they can see what it's all about. This might help them understand it a little better.

My friends still don't understand after all my travels.... They never will and I understand. That is ok at the end of the day.

I'm a dreamer and a wanderer...... that is how I have to travel.

Maybe your the same?
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Old 04-22-09, 03:34 PM   #6
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It's ok, you aren't crazy. Even if they are family, it's ok to say "thanks, but no thanks".

Be ready for more disagreements. Sounds like they might be the type to go as far as "not speaking to you until you come to your senses".

If they insist, compromise by letting them buy the gear of your dreams, including the bike. If you won't, I will. I'd let them buy me a bike of my dreams.

****
BTW, are you over age 18? If you are, then, it's your life, get on with it. If you are under 18, then, you might have to wait until you are 18.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:56 PM   #7
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[I wrote this post, and then the forum went down. I'm not happy]

I'm doing Bike and Build this summer, but I can definitely understand the desire to do a fully loaded tour on your own without the "babysitter" factor. I can also, however, understand your family's concerns about safety and security. Why not sit down and pinpoint their specific concerns? Additionally, why not go on a few short weekend or 3-4 day tours so you have an idea of what you'll be getting into instead of biking blind? These things all will help allay your family's fears that you'll end up in a bad situation.

Additionally, I would say that the van... yes, makes things easier, but doesn't render the entire trip pointless. The bicycling aspect draws attention to the affordable housing cause. Anyone can get on a bus and take a leisurely, air-conditioned, gas-powered ride across the country, but not anyone can hop on a bike and bicycle 4000 miles for a cause. It makes potential donors stop and think.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:14 PM   #8
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BTW, are you over age 18? If you are, then, it's your life, get on with it. If you are under 18, then, you might have to wait until you are 18.
I'll be turning 21 while on the bike tour. : ) (flask bottlecage holder seems in the mindset )
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Old 04-22-09, 04:19 PM   #9
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I do plan on going with some friends, or finding someone on crazyguy, but I think if they backed out, I would still go.

and I've been all over crazyguy and veloweb finding touring stories : P

As mentioned before, if I do it solo, I'll be doing a few short half week - week tours first. The longest I've gone so far is 160 in 2 days, which was FUUUUUUN. I recommend the silver comet trail as a first tour, it's fun all around, and is very doable on a single speed or fixed gear.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:26 PM   #10
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I do plan on going with some friends, or finding someone on crazyguy, but I think if they backed out, I would still go.

and I've been all over crazyguy and veloweb finding touring stories : P

As mentioned before, if I do it solo, I'll be doing a few short half week - week tours first. The longest I've gone so far is 160 in 2 days, which was FUUUUUUN. I recommend the silver comet trail as a first tour, it's fun all around, and is very doable on a single speed or fixed gear.
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Old 04-22-09, 05:52 PM   #11
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FURTHERMORE!! what is the point of driving a van for everybody's stuff? why not just all hop on a bus and go build houses and be more productive? I don't get it.
That's more or less what I thought about the program when I heard about it... What's with all this "Biking for X" stuff that's around at the moment?

Anyway, back to your problem - have a sit down and think about what you want.
- If you want the company, public contribution, social movement experience, definitely go with the housebuilding thing.
- If you want to build independence, "find yourself", work out who you are when you're not in your usual social and family environment - do the solo thing.

Also, are you sure you want this to be a cycling adventure rather than backpacking or teaching overseas or doing a long hike (for example)?

Sometimes the hardest thing is knowing what you want.
Sometimes the hardest thing is balancing what you know you want, with what your family and society wants.

Are you being selfish and immature, or are they being unrealistically restrictive?
Are concerns about your safety and staying "on track" with your life more important than having your adventure now?

At least we are lucky enough not to be limited by hunger or poverty or opportunity!
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Old 04-22-09, 05:55 PM   #12
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So, based on your 1st post, it sounds like you want a solo tour more than the building thing. Find a way to articulate this, and tell them.
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Old 04-22-09, 05:57 PM   #13
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1. Family = wife? Or family = parents?

2. Do they want to come along because they don't think you'll be safe, and they think you'd appreciate the company, and because they think this will be easier for you? OR ...... Do they want to come along because they want to travel, but aren't up to cycling it all so they think this would be a great way to travel, see your country, and spend some family time together?
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Old 04-22-09, 06:50 PM   #14
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Two things:

Who's paying? You are at the age where it would be appropriate for your folks to help foot the bill. That's ok. But recognize that if they pay they have a say in how you do it. The only way to take full control is to pay your own way, in full.

Second, it sounds like you are looking forward to getting out on your own. Are you trying to get out from under someone's thumb? It is only natural for a 20 year old to want some freedom. That's a good thing. For your parents this is one of the most difficult things they will do in their lives.... allowing you to go out into the world and make your own mistakes. When they insist you do things their way it will be tempting to scream and yell and argue. Fight that temptation. Ten, twenty, fifty years from now you'll be happy you did.

Work out your plan and present it to them calmly and rationally. When they come up with reasons it won't work, thank them. Write down their reasons and tell them you will do some more research. Get them involved in helping you make your dream come true - that's what good parents do - and obviously you have good parents because they suggested the bike & build alternative.
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Old 04-22-09, 10:11 PM   #15
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Just my advice: Get your gear and money together, say your goodbyes, get on your bike and ride away.
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Old 04-23-09, 07:29 AM   #16
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A compromise may be in order here. Perhaps you could do a solo unsupported tour, but let them put you up in a hotel from time to time. Make it clear that you'll stay in touch - cell phone/internet/etc. As Losligato pointed out, difficulty letting a child become independent is gonna be an inherently hard part of parenting.
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Old 04-23-09, 07:46 AM   #17
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Do it your way! You're at the perfect age for this... you don't need a babysitter. You and your parents have to treat one another as adults, which may be a new thing for all involved, but that's how it is, so get used to it, and let them get used to it too. Hit the road!
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Old 04-23-09, 08:42 AM   #18
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A compromise may be in order here. Perhaps you could do a solo unsupported tour, but let them put you up in a hotel from time to time. Make it clear that you'll stay in touch - cell phone/internet/etc. As Losligato pointed out, difficulty letting a child become independent is gonna be an inherently hard part of parenting.
Maybe, but don't promise more contact than you will deliver. I made the mistake of giving the impression that I would be in contact daily. When I didn't call or otherwise contact home for a week, my wife was a bit ticked off.

BTW: My Mom still worries and I am almost 58.
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Old 04-23-09, 11:19 AM   #19
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show them this thread.

my two cents
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Old 04-23-09, 11:53 AM   #20
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1. Family = wife? Or family = parents?

2. Do they want to come along because they don't think you'll be safe, and they think you'd appreciate the company, and because they think this will be easier for you? OR ...... Do they want to come along because they want to travel, but aren't up to cycling it all so they think this would be a great way to travel, see your country, and spend some family time together?
family = parents, and brother.

They don't want to have aaaanything to do with bicycle touring.

---------------------------------------------------
Thank you all for your suggestions, this gives me a much better idea of how I can be more tactful in finding a solution. There are some conflicting ideas, but most people here (as I would expect) think I should find a way to do it without bike and build. I will end up with some partners, and I'll probably end up with a cheaper bicycle so that I can pay for it by myself, and I'll still contact them maybe once a week. After reading this, and thinking about it more. I see the two activities (bike and build vs. unsupported) as completely independent from each other.

Thank you all for the support and advise. : )

(The situation is NOT helped by last nights events: I got hit by a car; bike's torn up, but I'm fine amazingly, only a scrape on the finger and leg, He kinda hit me out of the way with the front right and it looks more like a fall. I kinda tore up the side panel and front light. Both our faults. . . . so much for that new bartape. . . damn.)
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Old 04-23-09, 01:09 PM   #21
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Yes, absolutely go with a less expensive option on the bike. There are some amazing deals out there - I found a 2005 Trek 520 with full racks, panniers, front/rear lights and computer for $600 including shipping on the Adventure Cycling forum. Was too large a frame (wrong info in ad) so I sold it for $750 and bought a 2006 Novara Randonee (much better gearing) for $550. You can easily go much lower than that and still have a suitable bike. Tens of thousands of us toured for decades before dedicated touring bikes existed or triple chainwheels were common.

As for security - that would be enhanced by not having a bunch of new, fancy equipment, but long distance touring cyclists are just not an attractive target. They typically look a bit grungy, usually have little cash and one can't take off easily on their bike if you do have the inclination to try to take it. I toured 10's of thousands of miles with the only "danger" being a few cars that passed too closely. Things are much more secure today thanks to technology - esp gps enabled cell phones.

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Old 04-23-09, 03:54 PM   #22
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Here's one approach. You might suggest that they can have a couple of short, planned meetups with you during the trip. Depending on your family's dynamics, that might be an easier sell than just refusing their participation. Something to the effect of "hey--why don't you guys meet me in Yellowstone and we can spend a week there together."

Sure, they're worried about your safety, etc., but they also very likely just want to be involved in some way because of how exciting this thing you're planning is. That's something I found about my family during my coast-to-coast trip last summer.
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Old 04-23-09, 08:30 PM   #23
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I WANT to carry 80 lbs of gear all the way. I WANT to sleep outdoors. I WANT the troubles that may arise. I want a real adventure, not a planned one.

RIDE YOUR OWN RIDE.

Family, friends, the friendly people at bikeforums and at bike shops all will offer input and advice. Some will be brilliant. Some will be entirely inapplicable to you. But when it comes time to mount that bike, you have to ride your own ride. Advice is great - and often very helpful - but you're the person that will be out there, spending your time, to serve your purposes.
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