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  1. #1
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    2011 - Our Short Tours

    I don't see very many threads telling us about your short tours, so I thought I'd start a thread.

    Short tours are great for those of us who can only spare a few days from our busy schedules to spend on a cycling tour ... or for those of us who want to do a quick exploration of the area where we live or an area we want to learn more about ... and for those who want to test equipment, bicycle setup, etc.

    When you go on a short hub-and-spoke tour, weekend tour, long weekend tour, maybe even a week-long tour, or something similar, tell us about it here.

    Where did you go? What did you see along the way? Would you recommend the area? What sort of accommodation did you use? What kind of bicycle did you ride? Did you learn anything new?

  2. #2
    Member dciskey's Avatar
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    I'm really looking forward to where this thread goes. I'm new to touring, but this year I've finally got the income to buy some necessary items for camping (like a tent!) and there are a few state campgrounds within a day's ride of Chicago, so I'm going to try to do a couple weekend trips to get a feel for everything. Due to work a longer tour looks like it might be impossible, at least until September.

    The state parks I'm looking at are Channahon State Park and Chain O' Lakes State Park. Channahon is on the I&M Canal Trail, which I've heard is quite beautiful, so I worry I might get there and just keep riding west.

  3. #3
    Life is a fun ride safariofthemind's Avatar
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    Look like short tours for me... not that long tours are normal over here. Time for work and family just take too much and only a short time is left to spare. Precious moments indeed until the kids go to College. This year I am planning 2 main tours, one around the NC coast and one around the Gainesville, Florida area. It'll have to do.

    Incidentally, this type of short tour is the main reason I chose my bike to be a Cross-Check. Not as well suited for the touring, but it is nicer handling for the other 48 weeks a year when it's a town bike.

  4. #4
    Senior Member marmot's Avatar
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    I like the look of this thread, too. I like the idea of touring -- in theory at least -- and plan to give it a try this year by starting small and local.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Rowan and I spend most of our weekends doing what amounts to short hub-and-spoke tours around our local area. We pick a starting point (home or a short drive away) and a route off in one direction on the Saturday, and a starting point and route off in another direction on the Sunday. We've been doing this for quite some time and have become quite familiar with most of the paved routes within about a 100 km radius of where we live.

    We have also taken three trips away from home so far this year.

    February 5/6/7 - Torquay - we took a long weekend trip down to Torquay on the edge of the Bellarine Peninsula, approx 250 km away. We drove down on the Friday night, through one of the heaviest rainfalls I've ever seen (a cyclone remnant), and headquartered in a small cabin in a caravan park in Torquay. Here in Australia, many caravan parks have on-site cabins (like very small mobile homes) available, usually for reasonable prices. The cabins include a living area, kitchen, bedroom, and usually a bathroom, although sometimes the cabins are not "en suite". We like these cabins because they are casual, comfortable, and convenient ... and we can bring our bicycles inside.

    Saturday we drove out to Ocean Grove where we test rode and bought a tandem bicycle. And then we checked out the beach.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...detail/?page=6

    Sunday, we rode the tandem, following the road along the ocean to Barwon Heads ... beautiful area! And we learned that our new tandem is more comfortable than the one we were borrowing, except for the saddles. After we got home, we put our Brooks saddles onto the tandem ...much better. In Barwon Heads we stopped for fish and chips. We had eaten there the day before as well ... and it was very good!! I don't normally care for fish very much, but when we go to these coastal places, the fish and chips are usually a really good choice. When we travel and tour, we tend to like to try the food available in the area for some variety from our usual diet.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...detail/?page=7
    And then we checked out the beach again. It was a bit cool to be doing any swimming. I love the beach and the ocean, but for some reason every time we go, it's relatively chilly.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...detail/?page=8






    February 19/20 - Shepparton/Echuca - we drove up to a city, Shepparton, about 115 km away and stayed in a cabin in a caravan park there. We've stayed in that caravan park, and that cabin before ... it's quite nice. It is also right on the edge of Shepparton which makes cycling from there really easy. The area around Shepparton is very flat and full of orchards, mainly apples and pears. The roads near the caravan park are popular for cycling because they are good, quiet roads. So on the Saturday we spent the early part of the day shopping, and then took the tandem out for a test run on those good, quiet roads in the late afternoon.

    And on Sunday, we rode a century (100 miles) from Shepparton up to Echuca which is located on the Murray River, one of the big rivers in Australia. The area is very, very flat but very windy. At first the ride is quite interesting with all the orchards, and palm trees, and cactus, but then it becomes flat fields and pastures which reminds me a lot of the Manitoba area. However, Echuca looks like it might be an interesting town, and one weekend we might headquarter there and perhaps ride along the river. This was our first century on the tandem.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...detail/?page=9
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=10




    March 19/20/21 - Port Fairy/Portland - we drove out to Port Fairy, about 400 km away for a long weekend, and stayed in a very quiet little caravan park just out of the town. We've stayed in that caravan park before, last year, and both times we've been given a small house-like cabin (as opposed to a mobile home-like cabin).
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...detail/?page=8



    Saturday we cycled, with the tandem, into Port Fairy for a look around, then followed the ocean to the east for quite a ways, and then turned inland to check out a dormant volcano and some of the inland towns. Toward the end of the ride we opted to try the rail trail back to the caravan park where we were staying. At first the rail trail was pretty good - well packed gravel - but then it deteriorated and we were glad we didn't have to use it much further. We also found the intersection gates challenging with the tandem. All up, we ended up riding a little over 80 km ... and then treated ourselves to fish and chips.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...detail/?page=9
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=10



    Sunday we drove out to Portland and cycled from there out to Cape Nelson. That is a really nice route. It's not long or overly challenging, but I love the views of the cliffs and ocean. When we arrived at Cape Nelson, we met a couple from the UK who were also cyclists, although they were not cycling on this trip. They also rode a tandem, so we chatted for a while about cycling. We thought we'd cycle around Portland a little bit as well, to take a look at the town. It's a town that interests us as a place we might possibly move one day. One of the things I do when I travel and cycle in various places is to consider whether the area is one where I might like to live, or whether it is an area I just enjoy visiting.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=11
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=12
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=13



    It was getting late, and the clouds were rolling in, so we opted to drive out to Cape Bridgewater rather than cycling. We cycled it when we visited this area last year. Cape Bridgewater is fascinating with the volcanic rock and other rock formations in addition to all the windmills. It looks like something out of a science fiction movie.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=14
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/machka-...etail/?page=15






    So those are our short tours so far this year. We'll likely be doing quite a few more as the year progresses.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ace587's Avatar
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    nice thread . I plan to tour from Miami to Everglades city and back. Its a little town. i need to get away from the city once in a while
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  7. #7
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Almost all of my tours when I first got into it were short. I was a musician, working 3 and 4 day stretches, so I'd get on my bike on a Monday and take off for two or three days. A long tour was 4 days. My first 2 longer tours were week-long during spring breaks. On those "longer tours" I'd often ride a day or two to get to a destination and then stay there and relax a few days until it was time to ride home. I was living in Bellingham, Washington in those days, so my tours were mostly in the San Juans, up and down Whidbey Island, or up into B. C. Good times.

  8. #8
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    I'll be doing a couple over-nighters this upcoming season. Though I guess the season is just about starting up here.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

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    Just looking into a over-nighter this morning.
    My plan is to pick a Saturday, and drive from home to Monticello, WI, and ride the Badger State Trail north to Madison, then the Military Ridge Trail to Mt. Horeb, stop at the Grumpy troll, spend the night, and head back on the Sunday.
    Anyone else in for this? or ridden these sections before?


    http://www.traillink.com/trail/badger-state-trail.aspx
    http://www.traillink.com/trail/milit...ark-trail.aspx

  10. #10
    HomeBrew Master! Gus Riley's Avatar
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    I'm looking to kick off the season with a 200 mile/five day tour within my own territory...never getting more than eighty miles from the house. Tuesday looks to be a good start.
    2012 TransAm Tour journal link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/Threeisacharm

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  11. #11
    Flying Under the Radar X-LinkedRider's Avatar
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    A couple friends and I will be riding the Pine Creek Rail Trail (Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania) Starting at Colton Point and heading South.
    12' SuperiorLite SL Pro w/ Sram Rival | 10' SuperiorLite SL Club w/ Sram Force | 06' Giant FCR (Dropbar) w/ Shimano 5700 | 10' GT Avalanche 3.0 Disc

  12. #12
    Senior Member Tansy's Avatar
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    Got back from my first overnight bike-camping of the year on Wednesday. Unless I'm counting biking to REI and waiting in line overnight for the scratch and dent sale =P.

    I'd been telling myself that as soon as the daytime temperatures where high enough for two days in a row, I'd go. I ended up tearing through my camping/touring gear, which was still stored for the winter in disarray(House was vandalized severely last fall, never really got a chance to clean out and probably pack it all in for the winter, in the midst of moving back into the house. Some items I've still not found.), packing, figuring out a route, and leaving the next day. Somehow it wasn't a disaster! Lot of the campgrounds up here are still closed, so I spent the night in a pine plantation on state forest land. (pictures over here).

    On the way back, the temperature actually hit 68, after an overnight low of 30. It's April and I'm already red with sunburn, but too giddy that winter is over to care much. I'm hoping I can somehow squeeze in a week long tour in northern Minnesota before I start work at the end of the month.
    Be the change you wish to see in the world.


  13. #13
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Short tours are great. Done many. Just recently in SW Oklahoma Indian country. Lots of western history to see. Smooth roads, courteous drivers, fine parks, great cycling/camping temps in Spring and Fall. If you've never toured Oklahoma, put it on your to do list.

    Below is Comanche Chief Quanah Parker's Star House in Cache. One star for each wife. There are three more you can't see.

    Last edited by Cyclebum; 04-09-11 at 04:26 PM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tansy View Post
    ...packing, figuring out a route, and leaving the next day. Somehow it wasn't a disaster! Lot of the campgrounds up here are still closed, so I spent the night in a pine plantation on state forest land. (pictures over here).
    One of the real benefits of short tours, in my mind, is that you can lay your hands on the stuff you really need and go, without having to plan too much ahead. I did an "Aimless Wander" tour some years ago now, and I had not fixed itinerary. It was four days of blissfully going where my front wheel pointed.

    In the end, the equipment needed is so finely tuned that it should take about an hour to pack the bike and go. Sorry to read about the vandalism, though. It's the last thing one needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Short tours are great. Done many. Just recently in SW Oklahoma Indian country. Lots of western history to see. Smooth roads, courteous drivers, fine parks, great cycling/camping temps in Spring and Fall. If you've never toured Oklahoma, put it on your to do list.
    Another real benefit of short tours in your local region is being able to immerse yourself its history. I make a point to stop and read interpretative signs on trails and plaques on monuments. Sometimes they are bland and boring, but sometimes they reveal gems that I'd never thought about before. And then there are others that set the scene for my imagination to take over -- just what was it like living in those days.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #15
    CO2+H20 => CH2O+O2! Foxtrot's Avatar
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    I just went on my first overnight tour last weekend, (thread here) and really enjoyed it. As many have said here, it was great to get out and test my equipment, fine tune my packing list, etc. I am hoping to get out again soon for a short trip as my schedule currently doesn't allow for longer ones. I really enjoy reading about others' short tours as well, and getting ideas for my own.
    Its gonna be a glorious day.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    In 11 days we'll be going on another short (6-day) hub-and-spoke tour for the Easter/ANZAC day holiday. We'll be headquartering about 90 km south of Adelaide. I've never been in that area before so I am quite looking forward to it.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by trailz View Post
    Just looking into a over-nighter this morning.
    My plan is to pick a Saturday, and drive from home to Monticello, WI, and ride the Badger State Trail north to Madison, then the Military Ridge Trail to Mt. Horeb, stop at the Grumpy troll, spend the night, and head back on the Sunday.
    Anyone else in for this? or ridden these sections before?


    http://www.traillink.com/trail/badger-state-trail.aspx
    http://www.traillink.com/trail/milit...ark-trail.aspx
    Haven't hit up Badger State trail yet. Military Ridge is a favorite day ride, but I haven't quite made it out to Mt Horeb yet (I usually tack on a bunch of miles on the Cap City Trail). I'd usually use the DNR or Google for trail info. Dunno about Badger State, but Military Ridge is pretty standard issue gravel road. Most WI state trails have very limited services, and a lot of the time public water fountains or restrooms do not open until May 31, since that's the local last frost date. I'd make a few notes on places with restrooms via Google Maps.

    Large chunks of your route will be along wetlands, so if you like birdwatching you should have a lot of chances.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
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    I like this,,,,,A SHORT TOUR place for us who are married and have a wife to pay for and ,,,,,,,,,,,,,work all the time....
    Lucky to get 3 or 4 days
    I hate cars,

  19. #19
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    Don't know so much about touring in Oz other than from what I've read it's a pretty great place with friendly folks. In the Washington DC USA area short tours are ideal; we're close to challenging mountains & comfy rides on the flat coastal areas. I'd recommend a dedicated touring bike if you're looking at including camping & they are also great for "credit card" touring ie staying at motels. On my last tour in the Blue Ridge Mountains I found the brakes on my Novara Randonee to be a bit lacking but that was under extreme conditions. Short tours are very fun, the only problem is that after a couple of days in the saddle one gains strength & starts to think about trans-continental rides!

  20. #20
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    On Good Friday we will be taking our third annual long weekend trip from Philadelphia to Bull's Island Recreation Area in New Jersey. It's about 55 miles from our front door to the campground. We stop for groceries at around mile 45. The last 10 miles are downhill or flat on a nice rail-trail. I'll be riding my Surly LHT with panniers. The GF will be riding her new LHT pulling a B.O.B. She previously toured on a clunky old MTB.

    We'll get a walk-in site along the shores of the Delaware River.


    4491011447_34cd13d085.jpg


    Friday night we cook dinner, and we eat breakfast in camp Saturday morning.

    4491651210_9c93e01b0d.jpg


    On Saturday we take a day ride. Hunterdon County, NJ is a beautiful place to ride with some good hills. Dispells the misconception that NJ is flat.

    Satruday night we ride the trail about 8 miles back into Lambertville for dinner at a local joint. Then it's off to the Boat House bar. We ride back along the trail in the dark, usually dodging rabbits.

    Another option is to walk across the pedestrian bridge from the Island to the Pennsylvania side:

    4491023487_79f50df903.jpg

    There is the Black Bass Hotel, which has a zinc bar that was once in Maxime's of Paris:

    4491024881_460a677147.jpg

    The camprgound is quiet. Last year, there were only a handful of sites occupied. Two years ago, we were the only people there Saturday night. Kid of spooky.

    On Sunday we ride home, stopping for breakfast along the way:

    4491672522_411d5eb0bd.jpg

    4491035109_2f5886df16.jpg

    4491675550_935cdc86a0.jpg

    4491037403_e42410f123.jpg

  21. #21
    Senior Member marmot's Avatar
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    Great post, indyfabz.

  22. #22
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Hmmmm... five day long weekend coming up, and Virgin Blue airlines have a special on flights from the Gold Coast to Canberra.

    I'm thinking about it...

    There is some great riding around there if I don't freeze.


    EDIT: Forget what I just said. All the cheap fares have been snapped up already, and right now I can't afford the expensive ones.
    Last edited by Chris L; 04-13-11 at 09:52 PM.
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  23. #23
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    In May we're planning to ride from our place in San Jose down the coast to San Luis Obispo and then taking the train back home. Let's hope they repair the road south of Carmel for the upcoming Pacific Coast touring season.

    In October we're thinking of riding the Adventuring Cycling Utah Cliffs Loop.

    I agree that short tours are also fun. Although we dream of the epic tours, it's the week-long tours a couple of times a year that keep us content.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ace587 View Post
    nice thread . I plan to tour from Miami to Everglades city and back. Its a little town. i need to get away from the city once in a while
    A friend has a condo in Hallandale, I've ridden on a folder in the Miami area. I was expecting extreme heat but was surprised that South Florida climate was quite moderate, often cooler in summer than DC area, plus the clouds make riding more comfy. Biking turns out to be very popular in the Miami area with many bike lanes, wide shoulders & drivers that are used to bikers.

    Also surprised how the South Florida area goes from heavily urbanised to relatively unpopulated areas--a look at the map suggests Rt 41/90 is the only road from Miami to Everglades City--is that the route you're going to take? Of course in Florida highways can provide nice riding with the wide shoulders & good visibility. Once I rode over the I-195 causeway, not realizing it was a no-bike interstate. Didn't even get stopped by cops.

    OTOH I did get a warning ticket in Bal Harbour for riding on the sidewalk. The 1A road there is a fast & narrow 40 mph limit IIRC. The cop told me to ride the bike path so I went over to the beach path & a local warned me bikes were prohibited there also. Oh well, riding to South Beach is the only time I've been passed by 2 Ferraris & a Lamborghini in a 12-mile ride!

  25. #25
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris L View Post
    Hmmmm... five day long weekend coming up, and Virgin Blue airlines have a special on flights from the Gold Coast to Canberra.

    I'm thinking about it...

    There is some great riding around there if I don't freeze.


    EDIT: Forget what I just said. All the cheap fares have been snapped up already, and right now I can't afford the expensive ones.
    Yeah, we had to book ahead to get a place this coming weekend, and even so, it was one of the last places we could find.

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