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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 05-07-12, 08:07 AM   #1
biknbrian
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Tour Friendly Network?

Would be possible to have a network of tour friendly people and places that folks could use during their travels. I think it would be great to be able to search for people in an area that would be willing to help out. For example I myself would be willing to offer a place to rest, camp, shower, get taken shopping, use the grill/kitcen etc.. And like many others I practically have a small bike shop at my house. I know it goes against the theme of self sufficiency, but I suppose I'd even be willing to drive a ways to help someone out if they were really in a jam.

I mean, imagine flying to a far off place, getting picked up at the airport, having a place to assemble the bikes and get ready, all with people that know the best places to go shopping or whatever. Imagine being able to look up friendly places along the way. Imagine maybe even being able to find a place to break down the bikes and hitch a ride back to the airport.

Does such a thing exist? Should it exsist?
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Old 05-07-12, 08:12 AM   #2
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Warmshowers: http://www.warmshowers.org/

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Old 05-07-12, 08:12 AM   #3
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www.warmshowers.org is exactly what you're describing.
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Old 05-07-12, 08:12 AM   #4
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*high fives Machka*
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Old 05-07-12, 08:37 AM   #5
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Nice, I knew there had to be such things.
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Old 05-07-12, 09:12 AM   #6
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Has anybody used the Warm Showers program?

Are there enough hosts to make it worth signing if I'm currently only thinking about some two or three day trips?

Are there enough guests to actually expect one someday, or will I have the account for years and years and eventually stop thinking about it?

How does Western Pennsylvania fit into the touring world, are there that many people passing through?
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Old 05-07-12, 09:31 AM   #7
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I find that I don't use warmshowers that much as a guest. As a host we get a guest every few years. Some people on popular routes get hundreds of guests.

How close are you to the GAP trail? Are you near the airport of Amtrak station? That might make the difference between almost no guests and a lot.
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Old 05-07-12, 10:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
Has anybody used the Warm Showers program?

Are there enough hosts to make it worth signing if I'm currently only thinking about some two or three day trips?

Are there enough guests to actually expect one someday, or will I have the account for years and years and eventually stop thinking about it?

How does Western Pennsylvania fit into the touring world, are there that many people passing through?
Signing up is pretty painless. They do send out a daily post that you can probably op out of. My experiences as both host and guest has been very positive.

There are a LOT of hosts to chose from, all relative to population density. Some get lots of requests, some off the beaten path like us, rarely.
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Old 05-07-12, 10:57 AM   #9
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My wife and I have been Warmshowers hosts for the last few years, and we get one or two people a year traveling through south Florida who want to stop for a night. I usually ask for 48 hours notice, and if I can't be there to meet them, they don't get to stay. We have had visitors from England, Holland, and the US in the last three years...but none for the last 12 months or so. I enjoy meeting them and talking about touring...

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
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Old 05-07-12, 11:35 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
Has anybody used the Warm Showers program?

Are there enough hosts to make it worth signing if I'm currently only thinking about some two or three day trips?

Are there enough guests to actually expect one someday, or will I have the account for years and years and eventually stop thinking about it?

How does Western Pennsylvania fit into the touring world, are there that many people passing through?
Brian,

We have the GAP here! We fit very big into the touring world. Maybe not for the hard core tourers but certainly for the casual tourers and I would think makes up the bulk of the touring world. We get people from all over the world to ride the GAP.

I get several guests a year. I just had guests today and escorted them to the airport on the new airport connector from the Montour.


I have used warmshowers many times. Mostly as host but sometimes as guest. I can't say I have never had a negative experience. It has not always been 100% positive either. Mostly as host. As a guest I would say it has always been 100% positive. Maybe I am a bad host or just a great guest. And as I said none of my guests were a negative experience just there were a few where you were glad that they came to visit but just as happy when they left.


Where do you live in Pittsburgh? PM me if you want. I live in Robinson right near the Montour.
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Old 05-07-12, 12:29 PM   #11
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I live in Beaver County. Hookstown to be exact. I could be of use to someone that is riding the GAP. I suppose I'll sign up and see how it goes.

Speaking of the GAP, I'm really feeling like if I want to do some tours I ought to just decide to do it. The GAP sounds pretty interesting. I could do the trip from DC back to Pittsburgh. A week of vacation would give me up to nine days to do the 320 miles, a very easy pace. I could happen early this fall. Just have to have the nerve to commit and start making it happen....
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Old 05-07-12, 02:44 PM   #12
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There is also the Allegheny River Trail. It would be an easy one to 2.5 day tour. There is a wrmshowers host in Emmlenton but I would suggest starting in Emmlenton. There is a great campsite just outside of Franklin. And while I have not tested it, I am told it is legal to camp anywhere along the river.

In Titusville there is a caboose motel which looks very interesting.
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Old 05-07-12, 06:19 PM   #13
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I've both hosted and used warmshowers and have had wonderful experiences. The only problem is, it can be difficult to work out a connection, especially if its last minute.
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Old 05-08-12, 04:54 AM   #14
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I've hosted and have been hosted. Great system
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Old 05-09-12, 01:05 AM   #15
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Has anybody used the Warm Showers program?

Are there enough hosts to make it worth signing if I'm currently only thinking about some two or three day trips?
I have too, and sure.
There have definitely been some not-so-good experiences that I`ve read on these forums, but for the most part people are very happy with the program. Signing up is free and easy, they don`t spam, and you don`t have to list phone number or address if you don`t want to, so not much to lose. Other members who want to stay with you (or who want local route info- that happens too) can contact you via blind email through the website, somewhat like when somebody responds to a CL ad. From that point, you can read the other member`s profile and often comments by people who have hosted him/her in the past or have been hosted by that person and either accept the request or politely decline.

We`ve been members for quite a while now (2.5 years, I think) and so far only one guest. Others have a steady stream of people- like the folks above said, it all depends on your location. The only time so far that I`ve used it as a guest, I actually just reqested an overnight parking space in a neighboring town while I did a two day trip. When I got back to their house, I had a nice talk with my hosts (or my truck`s hosts, more accurately) and have since gone out riding with the husband, so I met a new occasional ride partner in the process. Can`t beat that!
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Old 05-09-12, 01:14 PM   #16
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I live in Beaver County. Hookstown to be exact. I could be of use to someone that is riding the GAP. I suppose I'll sign up and see how it goes.
I checked your location on the WS map and there aren't any hosts currently listed in your immediate area. I'm glad you're signing up. The bummer out on the road is it seems that some areas have no warm showers hosts and others will have a dozen in the same small town. Now whether you'll get many folks all depends on if you are near a popular touring "path" or not. Once you sign up, you might want to email some of the WS hosts that are listed on the map near you to ask how many guests they get.
I've been a guest and host many times over and love the program. I signed up to host because I thought it would be bad karma to want to use the system as a guest w/o making my place available as a host, no matter how few folks stayed with me.
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Old 05-09-12, 08:41 PM   #17
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I've hosted and have been hosted. Great system
+1.

We're off the beaten path here, and we get one or two requests to host per year. I've stayed as a guest once. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not.

Certainly joining warmshowers increases to the network of hosts by one, and provides more options for those on tour. And the commitment isn't much.
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Old 05-10-12, 02:44 PM   #18
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I use WarmShowers. As a matter of fact, I just had a guest here yesterday!

I receive about 3 requests a year and while it seems to be "small", it's really the quality of these cyclists that makes it so enriching. I've met some great, warm, articulate, generous hosts (and guests) through WarmShowers.

The website requires (or at least encourages) that the members keep their profiles up to date for keeping the integority of WarmShwers -- useful and accommodating. Look me up in Delaware Water Gap, PA.
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