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  1. #1
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    Your bike touring fears?

    I'm trying to get an idea of what scares people the most or concerns them the most when it comes to bike touring. I've put a poll about bike touring fears up and if you don't mind participating that would be great. Thanks!

    We could list some fears here too. Might make for interesting discussion.

    I think my biggest fear is traffic. I don't feel safe unless I've got lots of bright yellow clothing on and a mirror.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I looked over your list ... and I've encountered and dealt with most of those things just fine.

    - Traffic doesn't usually bother me.
    - Finding a place to sleep at night can be a concern sometimes. I prefer campgrounds at the very least, but have made do with bush camping when necessary, and I've stayed in some rather interesting places along the way.
    - The parts where I have toured solo, it has been a welcome relief rather than a source of loneliness.
    - I've been ill on tour, and ill on other trips. Nothing like throwing up into an outhouse in the middle of nowhere every 15 minutes for hours on end. Nothing like ending up in hospital for 2 weeks in a foreign country with DVT. It happens. And planning a loose schedule helps deal with it.
    - Planning and preparatin are part of the fun!!
    - If I fail to finish a trip I've planned, it's only because I've made other plans along the way. I'm a big fan of keeping the schedule loose and allowing for deviation as the whims takes me/us.
    - I've spent years riding in bad weather ... on tour and off. What's "good weather" again??
    - My friends and family are all supportive.
    - My route plans and other touring plans are usually quite flexible and may change as I go along, but I keep a pretty close eye on the money situation.
    - So far I have taken the time off I wanted. Temp work is great!
    - If the bicycle breaks down, I get it fixed. I had a fairly major breakdown on my 2004 Australia tour ... which actually turned out great! I ended up getting married to one of the characters in that story 4 years later.
    - Getting lost is part of the fun ... you get to see things you didn't plan on seeing.

    The only one I guess I might have concerns about is the safety factor. Rowan and I have been harrassed on one of our tours and that was a rather unpleasant situation which could have caused some real damage.

    The work aspect of touring can be a bit of a downside ... although not really a fear.

  3. #3
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I miss "None" in that poll. I was robbed and injured in Zimbabwe. In Oman a car crashed into my bike. I cycled in Haiti. Was uncooled in Chile. Nothing of that scars me.

    I didn't made a long tour (> 1 year). May be I will do once - but I don't know. I'm not frightened to find a job afterwards, but after years of freedom I don't want to work anymore for my daily living.

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

  4. #4
    mev
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    The word fear is a bit strong, but I'd divide things into two categories:

    = Before I depart. I'm getting my bike and all my stuff ready. What are the types of nagging things that I find myself worrying about
    and anticipating for the trip. Some of the things you've listed would fit in that category, as would things like "do I really have the
    right visa, immunizations, etc", "is Y really as dangerous as the state department says". It is also the time I'll add an extra item like
    another sweater just in case. As I've gained experience and set up checklists - the scale of trip has to be at least as big or difficult
    as something I've done for these fears to be very high.

    = While I'm on the road. There are a set of concerns I'll watch going from day to day. Others on your list would fit more into that
    category. Things like, "will those cracks in the rear rim actually cause failure - or can I make it to Z". For most of those, I'll live
    from day to day, but circumstances can raise their "fear" concern for me.

    I tend to be some of a planner and try to anticipate things. So for many of these things, I wouldn't put them as much in the fear scenario as something I'm going to think about - do a risk analysis in advance and think through possibilities as well as what I'll do if they happen. Hence, I might be addressing them or putting in mitigation strategies in advance. For a number of them, experience has also helped put them pretty low on the list.

  5. #5
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    I guess we're all made of pretty hardy stock here

    You're right - maybe fear is slightly too harsh a word, but I do think a lot of people worry about different aspects of touring. At least that's our impression from having talked to a lot of tourists and would-be tourists who want to tour BUT.... (there's always a 'but')

    Traffic doesn't normally scare me either (I don't live my life in fear) but if I have to pick one thing that I see as the biggest danger or worrying factor of touring then that's it and close-calls with cars have caused me the most worry overall on the road, I think.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    I like the wording on your linked page better..."concern" instead of this thread where you use "fear."

    My main concern would be unknown factors.

    One of the big fears is dogs (I used to live in an area where feral dogs ran in packs...much more dangerous than a single dog.)
    Hey, I'm just this GUY...you know?
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  7. #7
    Member foodman's Avatar
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    When i tour i don't line up campgrounds or accommodation before hand, i just wing it. At the end of the day I get groceries for dinner and next days breakfast and lunch. Then give myself 10km to find a super campspot. If nothing comes up after 10km, no parks, community center, curch, then it means bush camping. This is really my only fear when touring, but its more of an anxiety. After that 10km and finding nothing the thought of having to rough it kinda scares me.

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    My only "concern" is that I will get too old one day.But until then,I have none.
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    Senior Member pasopia's Avatar
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    My concerns mostly involve everything surrounding the trip. I'm doing the pan am in 2011. My main concerns are
    - will I be able to save up enough money?,
    - will I be able to find work when I get back?
    - will my girlfriend break up with me when I'm gone for 18 months?

    In general I don't worry to much about trips. Things have a way of working themselves out when you travel.

  10. #10
    Barfin' Round the World
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    Real fears that actually materialized while cycletouring:

    - Fear of being rear-ended by a cycletourist
    - Fear of smashing into an elk
    - Fear of being washed into a river by an avalanche
    - Fear of a raccoon stealing an entire bag of dinner rolls
    - Fear that I am a bad cycletouring companion
    - Fear of PTDS (Post Tour Depression Syndrome)

    Fears that are so far just fears:

    - Fear of giant spiders in Australia
    - Fear of a shark attack in Australia
    - Fear of jellyfish attack in Australia
    - Fear that Australian spiders will emigrate to other tourist destinations

  11. #11
    Senior Member SweetLou's Avatar
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    No "Eaten by Mountain Lion"? I was thinking about getting one of these:

    Maybe that will scare the little buggers away.
    Learn what's a platform pedal.

  12. #12
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    I don't really have fears over touring. It really isn't that different from everyday life as a risk profile. I can get all worked up over stuff. Normally stuff where I perceive some kind of social pressure. And that can translate into various anxieties. If I keep a positive attitude, those things don't bother me. It is less about fear for me than just situations that end up feeling uncomfortable.

    One fear that probably needs a separate category on the list is dog attacks... Normally those don't scare me, but they can certainly get my attention. I'm more likely to have a bad day over being angry about owners, than scared about dogs.

    Obviously there is always some place that will get to you. I am very comfortable in traffic, but it would only take one bad accident, or possibly exposure to a crazy driving culture, to change one's feelings on that. And that same kind of thing applies to other risks, I have heard scary stories about feral dogs. So I would prefer to accept objective risks than higher levels of social risk. I would rather ride a mountain ridge, than Indian traffic from what I have heard.
    Last edited by NoReg; 11-25-09 at 03:38 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Running low on water, finding a place to free camp each night, and losing something critical like a tire pump or wallet seem to my main concerns. I'll also admit to some concern about PTDS. It helps if I start to plan the next tour during the one I'm on.

    I've found "It'll all work out" to be a reliable philosophy, assuming decent gear, sensible planning, and a bit of luck.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  14. #14
    Socrates Johnson AngrySaki's Avatar
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    My biggest fear/concern when touring is a chronic injury. Luckily I haven't had too many problems, but did have to cut one tour short and take a few days off in another one.
    It's my biggest concern because it's by far the most likely thing to happen to me, mostly because I have a history of injury, and have friends with similar problems.

  15. #15
    Senior Member semperfi1970's Avatar
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    My biggest fear is not finding a good bakery for my Sunday morning treat ( glazed fritters ).
    Its more than just a bicycle, it changed my life.

  16. #16
    Senior Member 5kdad's Avatar
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    Being caught out in the middle of no where in a lightening storm.
    2011 Ride Across Arkansas:
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  17. #17
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Some hard choices.. Stuff like tacoed wheel. Unrepairable breakdown.. that is number 1. . Next . 2 loosing control on a descent. 3. Place to stay. 4. Hit by car. 5. safety..
    .. As to Reaction of family, friends.. I am proud of my bike obsession.. I like to brag about bikes... .. if they think it weird, so be it.
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    ^ Since January 1, 2012

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by semperfi1970 View Post
    My biggest fear is not finding a good bakery for my Sunday morning treat ( glazed fritters ).
    I can identify with that one
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5kdad View Post
    Being caught out in the middle of no where in a lightening storm.
    I've been there ...

    On this ride, that happened twice: http://www.machka.net/1000/1000km.htm

    The first time we just hunkered down in the ditch ... the second time we found a barn to take shelter in.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randobarf View Post
    Fears that are so far just fears:

    - Fear of giant spiders in Australia
    The big spiders are harmless ... it's the small ones that will get you.

  21. #21
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    I think that people who don't tour (i.e. parents, spouses, children etc.) are more worried about these tour-related concernes than the people actually doing the tour. It's perfectly normal to be concerned about something unpleasant happening; even being worried about it either before or during a trip.

    I think it only becomes a problem if one allows that concern to keep him/her at home and not undertake a tour that he/she really wants to do and has planned for many months.

  22. #22
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If a person rides lots in general ... commuting to and from work, riding centuries on weekends, etc. etc. etc. ... and if a person does short tours on weekends etc. .... that person will encounter situations which are less than pleasant, and will deal with them as they happen. This is part of the reason I highly recommend riding lots outside of touring in preparation for a tour.

    Take bad weather for example ... I have ridden in just about every imaginable weather condition on commutes, weekend rides, brevets, etc. Because I have encountered such a variety of weather conditions, I have a pretty good idea what to wear in various weather conditions and how to deal with various weather conditions as comfortably as possible. So weather is no longer a fear or concern.

    If getting lost is a fear ... go for long rides in your area on roads you haven't ridden before (out in the country), and then find your way back. Yes, you can bring a map. Explore your area ... if you see a road heading off to the left you've never ridden before, go ride it. Compare the road you're riding on with what the map indicates ... this is a great way to figure out what sorts of roads on the map might be suitable for cycling purposes. Learn how to use a compass and carry one with you. Learn how to read the sun position so you might be able to use the sun to determine approximate directions.

    And when you plan a tour, plan in spare days here and there in case you take a wrong turn and have to back track, or in case the weather turns really bad and you decide to sit it out for a day, or in case you wake up sick one morning, or whatever.

  23. #23
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    I don't have to many fears when cyclotouring. I don't like getting lost, most of my tours have been on a schedule(something that I gotta stop doing) and so going 20ks the wrong way can really mess things up.
    I have a new fear as well, when riding just before dark in Australia... damn kangaroos. I'm not worried about snakes or spiders, it's gonna be a kangaroo that kills me here, if anything. They jump right in front of you, every time. Im pretty sure that if I hit one doing 45k down a hill it's gonna seriously hurt.
    I sometimes worry about how well I'll be recieved, but I've always found that people treat me better than I could ever expect. Just today my rear wheel fell apart, within 5 minutes I'd hitched a ride into the nearest city. That's pretty decent.

    I sometimes fear having to quit a tour, but I don't mind having to quit when I feel like it's time.
    as I'm writing this I've just booked train tickets to get me the hell out of Tamworth. I thought I'd picked a good time for a trip across NSW but as it turns out it's the hottest november in history, I've got heat rash, the tar on the road is melting and sticking to my tires, I'm not on schedule, and generally things just aren't "fun" anymore.
    And then my rear wheel fell apart. Time to go home.
    My friends think I'm real tough for cyclotouring but for a cyclotourist I hardly am.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robertv View Post
    I don't have to many fears when cyclotouring. I don't like getting lost, most of my tours have been on a schedule(something that I gotta stop doing) and so going 20ks the wrong way can really mess things up.
    I have a new fear as well, when riding just before dark in Australia... damn kangaroos. I'm not worried about snakes or spiders, it's gonna be a kangaroo that kills me here, if anything. They jump right in front of you, every time. Im pretty sure that if I hit one doing 45k down a hill it's gonna seriously hurt.
    I sometimes worry about how well I'll be recieved, but I've always found that people treat me better than I could ever expect. Just today my rear wheel fell apart, within 5 minutes I'd hitched a ride into the nearest city. That's pretty decent.

    I sometimes fear having to quit a tour, but I don't mind having to quit when I feel like it's time.
    as I'm writing this I've just booked train tickets to get me the hell out of Tamworth. I thought I'd picked a good time for a trip across NSW but as it turns out it's the hottest november in history, I've got heat rash, the tar on the road is melting and sticking to my tires, I'm not on schedule, and generally things just aren't "fun" anymore.
    And then my rear wheel fell apart. Time to go home.
    My friends think I'm real tough for cyclotouring but for a cyclotourist I hardly am.

    Come down to Victoria ... it's cool and rainy here. Seriously ... it's supposed to rain all weekend, and Rowan and I have an ride in Geelong on Sunday. We'll be breaking out the rain jackets for that!!

    But yes ... you've got to watch those kangaroos. Although I had more trouble with what I thought was an odd-looking chicken (and what Rowan tells me is a roadrunner) leaping out in front of me and getting in my way on a descent than a kangaroo.

  25. #25
    Barfin' Round the World
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    Sheer Terror

    Quote Originally Posted by robertv View Post
    I'm not worried about snakes or spiders, it's gonna be a kangaroo that kills me here, if anything. They jump right in front of you, every time.
    That's another thing to fear in Australia, along with the homicidal spiders, giant octopuses, flying saber-toothed monkeys, land piranhas, rogue camel herds and the rest of the cornucopia of dangerous creatures in that country. They should just change the name of Australia to TERROR ISLAND!

    I hit a 400 kilo elk in Canada and I was not seriously injured even though I knocked the elk to the ground. Elk don't jump, they only meander and I hit it when it was meandering. Being hit by a crazed jumping kangaroo would surely be fatal.

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