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  1. #1
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    I love bicycle touring, and I look forward to another 7-10 day tour this summer. I have no doubt that in the future I'll do a full cross-country tour for 3-4 months, hopefully with my wife.

    Even with that in mind, I feel like planning for more. Long distance hiking is like cycle touring, but on 4-7 day backpacking trips I've become a bit bored unless the scenery is fantastic.

    Bumming around Europe would be fun, but I'd do it by bike.

    For something global, I wonder if cruising by sailboat wouldn't be interesting. I really like the idea of taking 3-5 years and doing a comfortable circumnavigation in a 32-foot bluewater sailboat. At first, it doesn't sound much like cycling touring, but now I'm not so sure. There is a lot of work to be done on a sailboat at sea, and the lifestyle can be very healthy. The idea of making landfalls after a long passage sounds great, and then exploring islands, ports and other countries sounds really exciting.

    Sailing away from it all is a common dream-- one that isn't so different from cycling away from it all. What other dreams (or experiences) share similarities with cycle touring?

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  2. #2
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    I love the idea of doing that. I'd be a bit wary of crossing oceans, but coast-hugging would be nice. Wouldn't want to be alone, though. 3 would be minimum for my comfort...
    You could also carry bikes onboard, and go for short week-long tours when you arrive someplace interesting!

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    I love traveling under my own power and I find cycle touring and backpacking both very enjoyable in that regard.In fact I just got back from backpacking Lake Okeechobee(see here for my report http://florida-trail.org/forum/viewt...31eb3d266d1eb5 ) a trail I have also cycle toured on previously and will again.I find as long as I am moving while backpacking I am not bored but sitting around camp will become so that is why I never set up camp(this includes cycle touring as well) much prior to dusk and bedtime.After a while the fantastic scenery actually becomes a yawner that is why most thruhikers bypass the scenic detours and just get their miles in as its all about keeping moving and reaching objectives and of course enjoying the process.
    I would feel sailing the world is what would be extremely boring as your basically stuck on a ship for long periods of time out in the vast ocean.I think kayak or canoe touring would be more comparable to cycle touring as your more actively traveling under your own power,there is likely to be more scenery and interaction with the world but personally I have never been much of a boat person.Some grand kayak tours I have heard of include the Yukon R. ,The Miss. R. and even circumnavigating the Gulf of Mexico.

  4. #4
    ( d/dx (66x) )^(1/2) jfk32's Avatar
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    I think that you may have gotten me into trouble with that idea of sailing the world! That appeals to me on so many different levels. I could bring loads and loads of books and read, and write, and just contemplate things, as I went from port to port visiting the different places of the world. The work should be hard enough that you are occupied and keeping in shape. I don't know if crossing oceans in a boat that small is a great idea, but I am sure that there are ways and routes to do it, calm passages and such. It would take years and years of gathering knowledge to become a worthy captain for that solo trip. Time it so that you are always in relatively warm weather.... ohhhhhhh yeah.

    And the idea of taking week long bike tours while your ship is docked sounds really enticing as well. Talk about taking everything I want out of life and bundling it into one succinct package!

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  5. #5
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    There is the small matter of money, though...

    Buying the ship, fitting it with all manner of gadgets (reverse osmosis pumps, GPS, electrics and electronics, RADAR, radios, solar panels, wind generator, battery packs, emergency equipment, life rafts, et c), buying supplies and spare equipment (sails, ropes, et c), building an expense buffer, insurance, food, fuel and spares along the way...
    You know, it'd probably cost more than most could pull off, especially considering you don't work at all for the duration of the trip (unless you happen to be a writer or something...).

    All right, I am a killjoy...

  6. #6
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Multi day ski touring shares some of the same qualities as bicycle touring- you even get to coast on the downhills! Plus in some places, you can ski tour town to town, and stealth camp on the outskirts. It's a little bit colder sometimes, and if you bring a lot of stuff you need a BOB sled.

    There's similarities there.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Multi day ski touring shares some of the same qualities as bicycle touring- you even get to coast on the downhills! Plus in some places, you can ski tour town to town, and stealth camp on the outskirts. It's a little bit colder sometimes, and if you bring a lot of stuff you need a BOB sled.

    There's similarities there.
    For a few years, My wife and I signed up for cross country skiing "inn-to-inn" trips (we're in New England). Without fail, every time the date came around, there was a heat wave or rain, whether it was in Jan, Feb, or March! The best we could do was drive around Vermont to find a spot that had some snow to ski on, although the inns and meals were excellent. Of course, at other times during the winter there was 6 feet of snow on the ground!

    This past September we did the same thing on bikes for a 3-4 day trip, and it only rained one day
    I'd still love to do the skiing thing in a nice snowy time, but the biking was *way* more predictable.

  8. #8
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    I've never done it, but kayaking/camping trips really have a nice appeal. Imagine picking a river to explore end to end. Or some coastal area of some remote location.

  9. #9
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    How about canoe tripping? I've found then to be similar in many ways. There's lots of places that lend themselves to multiday or even multiweek trips. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area here in MN is one of the finest places to canoe in the states (Maine ain't bad either). The part that's missing in canoe tripping is people... most of the places where the longish trips happen are fairly isolated.

  10. #10
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    Canoe, kayak, and ski trips are all good examples.

    I've been researching the crusing life for several weeks, and the funny thing is that more than a few of us could afford the boats and the moorage, but the real expense is the time.

    Here's an interesting site:

    http://www.projectbluesphere.com/index.asp

    The guy's on a multi-year cruise on a Westsail 28 sailboat that he paid $20,000 for. I've climbed all over one of these locally, and the teak interiors are amazing. I feel perfectly comfortable in the cockpit and would look forward to the quiet times at sea with my wife-- I don't know if I could do it solo. Dealing with storms sounds really scary, but also thrilling, and depending on the boat is similar to what we do on cycle tours when we depend on our bikes to keep us going.

    I've found about 20 books on cruising in the local library, the best was a "Commonsense Guide to the Cruising Life." The author notes that saving, perhaps for years, before buying a boat and casting off is the best plan. If you have things worked out moneywise, the trip will have a better chance of success.

    So, with a 17-20 year time frame, I've opened up two Roth IRAs in addition to our 401ks, and we hope to dump money in them every month for the future boat and cruise. My projections show a possible 5-8 year early retirement, paid off house as a rental, and 5 years or more at sea. All conditional, of course, on how much we like getting our keelboat certifications, bareboat certification, and then chartered sailboat sailing in the San Juan Islands and on the west coast. We can always use the money for something else if we change our minds...

    I just like the idea of working toward something big...
    Last edited by pdxcyclist; 12-03-04 at 12:54 PM.

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  11. #11
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    The sailing life is an adventure, all right. It's one of the few completely wild adventures possible in the world today.

    Not that I know anything about open sea sailing firsthand. I do know that the opean ocean is as hostile an environment as there is to human life anywhere on the surface of the earth. Sailing out there requires self-sufficiency, all right.

    I love bike touring, but it doesn't compare to blue water sailing. There are few places I've been, in the U.S. or abroad, where my girlfriend couldn't FedEx me a bottom bracket or something in a few days. If you're out at sea, on the other hand, you've got to make it happen on your own or that's that.

    The thing with bike touring is that, mostly, you're on a *road*. So, you're usually just not very far from human help.

    Backcountry camping is a more demanding activity that bike touring, in my view. It's possible to bite the dust a few days' hike out in Sierras, for example, in way that it's just not on a bike tour.

  12. #12
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    Why does adventure have to be measured by how great the risk of death is?

    Can't it just be about the experience? The beauty of the surroundings? The people you meet along the way? The things you learn about yourself?

  13. #13
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CdCf
    Why does adventure have to be measured by how great the risk of death is?

    Can't it just be about the experience? The beauty of the surroundings? The people you meet along the way? The things you learn about yourself?
    This is a great question. I wish I had a great answer...

    Maybe it's this-- we long to learn more about ourselves because our typical lives define us more than we define ourselves. We play a role at work for 40-60 hours a week. We are parents, husbands and wives, and each of these roles have pretty specific parameters that may leave us more disassociated than happy. Playing these roles isn't hard-- which is the problem. By hitting the marks, and making money and buying stuff, we don't really feel satisfied (even though all the ads say we will).

    All the things listed so far-- cycle touring, backpacking, canoe and kayak trips, back-country skiing, trekking, and blue water sailing are all a bit "out of the norm" because of the risk involved. Each create opportunities to get away from the norm, meet people, and see things (and yourself) differently.

    And the funny thing is, they all have risks. Even cyclists on tours and organized trips get killed while cycling, just as they do sailing, backpacking and doing other activities. At the same time, people die driving their cars to work, or from cancer or heart attacks at surprisingly young ages as well. Sometimes I don't think there's much difference between "playing it safe" and "going alternative."

    Cycle touring is a great way to meet people, enjoy the scenery, and find out things about yourself. In the end, that's why most adventurers climb mountains, sail or cycle around the world, or hike across continents. Barbara Savage wrote probably my favorite book about cycling around the world-- Miles From Nowhere-- yet she was killed while riding her bike not long after she got back. Not far from home, after circling the world.

    Lots to think about.

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  14. #14
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Hitch-hiking was always my favorite. As a matter of fact I started bicycle touring because I got stuck on an on ramp here in the South in midsummer, and didn't get a ride for over 24 hours! Even with my hat and all I got incredibly sunburnt and dehydrated, but I was really worried about my dog, who seemed like he was going to die. During that torture, it struck me that if I had a bike, at least I wouldn't be beholden to someone else to travel, even though it would be much slower, and I wouldn't have to stick close to nasty, ugly interstates. I still love hitching at the right time of year, though. It's a mindchanging experience akin to touring, most definitely. I've gone from Tennessee to California in 4 days before, just because I got tired of the cold here! Bring a dog, a friend or pepper mace!
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  15. #15
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    I started my travel adventures by backpacking through various countries throughout the world, starting with the South Pacific. I did that for many years and enjoyed seeing Asia and Australia on a shoestring budget. Then I started backpacking in Europe and enjoyed that experience, until I started cycling through Italy, which is the ultimate experience. Switzerland is also a great place to cycle too!

    As a woman, I wouldn't ever hitchhike. I was always envious when I'd meet men who were hitchhiking through Asia, but I just don't think it's safe at all for us, and I even carried mace with me and still don't think it's safe.

    Koffee

  16. #16
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    Motorcycle touring comes to mind.

    While bicycle touring in North Cascades National Park, I met a young guy on a BMW. Outfitted in black leathers, black helmet and black bike/panniers, he was covered head to toe in talcum-like dust. You could tell that guy was on the road for a long time. His story...quit his banking job in Texas, bought a bike, decided to tour the states for a year. He had just arrived from Alaska, after successfully summiting Mt. McKinley. Needless to say, our bicycling group felt a spirit of camaraderie towards this guy.

    Anyone remember "Then Came Bronson"?:

    (Opening scene...busy city street...a harried businessman at a stoplight turns to his left, where a young man is revving his motorcycle, and asks...)

    "Taking a trip?"

    "What's that?" "Taking a trip?"

    "Yeah."

    "Where to?"

    "Oh, I don't know...wherever I end up, I guess."

    "Pal, I wish I was you."

    "Really?...well, hang in there."

    The businessman smiles wistfully and nods. The light changes, and off goes the laconic motorcyclist, gunning it out of the city, toward open space and adventure.

    http://www.tvparty.com/recbronson.html
    Last edited by rnagaoka; 12-07-04 at 06:30 PM.

  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Ever considered Randonneuring?

    http://www.seattlerandonneur.org/

    With Randonneuring you can travel to other countries, do amazing events, AND tour! If you take a look at my website, http://www.machka.net/, you'll see what I mean ...

  18. #18
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    How about sailing on a boat big enough to store your cycle kit (sealed somehow from the salt). Circumnavigate the globe by sail, while stopping for month long tours here and there, along with a few decent hiking/trekking trips where your bike can't get to.

  19. #19
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Ever considered Randonneuring?

    http://www.seattlerandonneur.org/

    With Randonneuring you can travel to other countries, do amazing events, AND tour! If you take a look at my website, http://www.machka.net/, you'll see what I mean ...
    Your website is great! Good content and pictures of the events.

    Years ago when my wife and started cycling, I thought about how fun it would be to prepare for and do Paris-Brest-Paris. Our club at the time had a strong Randonneur group, but it seemed like they spent a serious number of hours on the bike in training. My wife and I rode mostly together, and it wouldn't have fit her schedule to ride so much. And then we had kids, and I dropped out of cycling almost entirely for years.

    Now, for the future, maybe I'll consider it again, but it still seems like it could be a lot of hours (well spent, but...).

    Thanks!

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  20. #20
    Cycling is Self-Therapy pdxcyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel
    How about sailing on a boat big enough to store your cycle kit (sealed somehow from the salt). Circumnavigate the globe by sail, while stopping for month long tours here and there, along with a few decent hiking/trekking trips where your bike can't get to.
    Overall, I think it makes the dream of going crusing even more exciting. At the marina we frequent, folding bikes are very popular with the cruisers, because they are easier to store below. I already know I like Bike Fridays (I ride a Q), and in the future I could see us with two Bike Friday World Travellers along with us.

    Only one caveat-- early in our cycle touring years, we took our bikes to the Virgin Islands. After two days, we returned them to the airport for the rest of the trip-- the islands (especially St. John) were simply too steep to cycle. When we rented a Sukuki Sidekick, one of the rental rules was to never shift out of second gear! On St. Thomas, there were fewer massive grades, but heavy traffic on narrow roads. Ergo, I don't think it pays to be too romantic about dropping anchor at all islands and then having perfect cycling conditions.

    We are moving forward with crusing plans. We've already cut expenses, opened the Roth IRAs, and I think I've worked out an "off season" deal for a membership and keelboat certification at a local sailing club. After certification, we can sail any of their club boats (20 to 30 feet) without having to own or maintain them. I guess we'll find out one way or another if we're cut out for this-- thought I'll admit that I loved sailing Laser II sailboats in college.

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  21. #21
    Caffeinated. Camel's Avatar
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    Cycle touring around islands sounds fun. I was thinking more along the line of dropping anchor (?mooring) for extended periods (at bonded yards perhaps). Then going inland self supported for extended periods (months) as loops. Perhaps leave the bike kit for a bit inland, then trek as a loop. Hike back to the bike, cycle back to the boat. -I also mean "serious" outback type adventure cycling, you know where "tourists" don't usually get to in droves. If a bike friday/folder can't be geared well for hills, then I'd get a bigger boat for a regular ride.

    Destinations...Cuba, South America (mainland), Australia, Asia, Africa...boggles my mind...

  22. #22
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    When I cycle tour I have mailed my raft to a small town along the route and then switched from cycling to rafting - usually for an overnighter to get the "feel" of the river. I also have a mondo inner tube that I blow up and bungee the bike to - leaving just me and the panniers in the raft - but that is stuff enough. Folks get a laugh at my system - but I get another great way to travel. I finish as close as possible to another small town - disassemble - and mail everything back and get back on my bike again. I'm no expert so it has to be limited to floatable rivers with Class I & II - and, yes, there is the time to convert from one method of travel to another - but then who's in a hurry? Otherwise - - I would recommend adding ferry segments whenever possible - off Maine, Nantucket, Delaware & Chesapeake Bays, Outer Banks on the east coast and Channel Island, SF Bay, Puget Sound, and BC ferries on the west coast make great starts and finishes to cross-country trips - and don't forget the creme de la creme of ferry trips while bike touring - the Alaska Marine Highway. When you cross the Mississippi you should, likewise, consider a ferry - - so that you can "feel" the river. Best - J

  23. #23
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    Kayaking is something that I've been thinking about getting into for a while. I've done a few hours of it and enjoyed the physical aspect of it, much like biking, if you want to get somewhere you have to do the work yourself. Of course weather and 'terrain' effect ya just like cycling. Touring kayaks have pretty good storage like a fully loaded bike, you can't bring everything but you can bring what you need.

    I've sorta mentally scheduled a kayak tour of the Rideau Canal (Ottawa to Kingston Ontario) for 2006. The Rideau is a series of Natural lakes, rivers and man made canals connected by 45 manually operated locks. The locks are pretty much the same as they were back in 1832 when they first of them opened. Camping is available at almost all locks stations for those arriving by water or bike. The area is filled with history, beautiful sights, and pretty cottages. Its about 202 kms of paddling end to end, with lots of interesting sights on and off the main path. Its not as busy as some waterways, but still has a nice amount of traffic.

    http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/welcome.html

    Just thoughts running around in my head right now

  24. #24
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    Assuming one has a dragon's hoard of treasure, and patience to wait awhile, perhaps a trip to Mars might be in order. I somehow doubt it would be quite as fun as cycling, except actually seeing the Red Planet.

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