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  1. #1
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    solo female touring

    I've decided to do my first solo tour this summer in the southern appalachian mountains. The reply to this statement is almost always: "Don't do it!" Does anyone have any detailed advice or warning about doing such a tour? In particular, I'm concerned about safety issues: I'm a 21 year old woman, and I'm not very strong. Is it likely that I will be a target for harassment?

  2. #2
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    WELCOME! to the Forums.
    You probably won't receive any more harassment than you would in your local neighborhood rides. There are stupid guys everywhere who make gestures, insinuations etc. If you are not intimidated by these lewd characters in familiar surroundings, then it shouldn't be a problem elsewhere.

    I've known several women who have solo-toured with no bad experiences. There are several other women, here on the Forums, who are planning solo trips. Perhaps they'll come on and give you their views on the subject.

    The point is, don't allow others, who have no experience of solo touring, turn you off to a wonderful adventure. Good Luck.
    ljbike

  3. #3
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    I do most of my traveling alone and will be on a solo bike tour in about a week. I suggest taking Halt, or bear spray just in case. Otherwise just focus on what you're doing. You'll probably meet many cyclers just like you. Have fun and live!

  4. #4
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    Hi!

    I'm planning on a solo cycling trip in Italy this summer myself. I've never done this before, so I don't have advice, but my plans are to just try and be smart- carry mace, let people know where I am along my route, carry identification on me just in case sh*t happens, and just don't leave anything to chance. I'm hoping it will work itself out.

    Besides the bear spray, I suggest leaving a copy of paperwork with a family member, and just keep someone appraised of your whereabouts at all times. I plan on buying a disposable cell phone at the airport when I get to Italy just in case I have to make that emergency phone call- the "in case sh*t happens" happens. Perhaps you could bring your cell phone too?

    Good luck!

    Koffee

  5. #5
    have bike will tour catfish's Avatar
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    Ive met many women doing solo tours when i am out there on the road. I think as allways you need to be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut feelings.

    The women touring solo ,are like us guys we find each outher meet, ride a while, share a little bit of our lives , and part.
    in time we all develope a sence of road smarts.
    have a great tour
    catfish

  6. #6
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Originally posted by catfish
    Ive met many women doing solo tours when i am out there on the road. I think as allways you need to be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut feelings.

    The women touring solo ,are like us guys we find each outher meet, ride a while, share a little bit of our lives , and part.
    in time we all develope a sence of road smarts.
    have a great tour
    catfish
    I think Catfish has hit the nail right on the head. It's all about commonsense and roadsmarts. Another invaluable commodity is local knowledge, and on the tours I've done, there have been no shortage of people willing to share that.
    "I am never going to flirt with idleness again" - Roy Keane
    "We invite everyone to question the entire culture we take for granted." - Manic Street Preachers.
    My blog.
    My bike tours. Japan tour page under construction.

  7. #7
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    One comment on mace, sprays etc: check in advance whether these are legal in your destination.

    I'd like to "plug" a related web site: LonelyPlanet's http://www.lonelyplanet.com. They have a collection of lively forums called The Thorn Tree. Forums there are based on geographical areas, and there's also a designated On Your Bike -forum (which is where I come from). You might find useful experiences and suggestions there.

    I'm a big, ugly male cyclist, so I've not encountered these problems . Nevertheless, I'd like to join previous posters in hoping that you go for it and enjoy the ride. Mounting the bike and hitting the road is the best (and only) way to start touring!

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone! I appreciate the encouraging words!http://www.bikeforums.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

  9. #9
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    I applaud your wishes to ride through perhaphs the most beautiful country around. I am a littler biased being from ky. Last year I did a long trip through GA,TN,KY,VA(near the App. trail). I will tell you there are some crazy rednecks along this path. Actually they are bored young people with nothing more to do than harass the local freak show that is peadaling through their town. (this is what they think, or this is what they thought of us!) After several encounters, we decided to loose the bicycle clothing and wear normal shorts and t shirts in order to not draw any more attention than possible. I am not sure if this was a sell out move, but it did reduce the bottle throwns, horns honked, profanity, and being run off the road.
    In general, just be very careful and limit any attention drawn to you that you can. Most hotels looked for a reason to not let us stay there, so call ahead to see if they will let you keep your bike in the room. Never camp alone!!!!!

  10. #10
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    First of all, good luck, and make sure you stay within your limits. A common error by new tourers is to set themselves impressive goals and want to follow them at all costs. Be prepared to scale down your trip if it rains too much, it is too cold, etc. so that you'll keep good memories of your trip.

    Special precautions ? If you are street smart, I think you are "tour smart". If you were planning to go through major cities, I would have suggested to inquire about bad zones, so that you could avoid them or at least schedule them.


    Two other cautions not mentioned before:

    1. Keep some family members or friends informed. Maybe a quick call nightly or a quick e-mail nightly could be in order, but don't promise too much if you think your tour won't bring you close to a phone every night (been there, done that and got parents scared because I haven't seen a house or a phone in four days).

    2. When speeking to foreigners, be truthful, but evasive. "Riding along the Appalachians" is probably precise enough for most people, and it's probably better if it gives them the feeling you are travelling on route 50 while you are actually riding on route 950. Likewise, if you are web-minded, I don't think it would be wise to have a live up-to-date road map on the net. Send your report to friends and post it later.

    Regards,

    Michel Gagnon

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