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  1. #1
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    For my first tour should I take a friend?

    Well for my first tour I was wondering if I should go alone or with a friend as I have not done touring before. I do have basic camping skills. Thanks for any advice.

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    Well, not much information in your post. Since you are posting this question, it appears that you are not confident in your own abilities. Is that the case? You gave no indication on how long a tour, is it that you haven't been alone for the length of time you will be on tour? Is your friend more experience in touring then you? Are you both really compatible and will agree on a common solution if an issue comes up? If your friend doesn't enjoy the tour or has major bike issues, will you be willing to stop the tour and help them out by ending the tour? Having someone along has both benefits and can also create issues.

    As they say: Choose wisely!
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  3. #3
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    What VT says. Why are considering not going alone? Safety? Because you are hoping to rely on a companion to help you out if you encounter a SNAFU?

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    My tour this spring - my first long tour - will be about 6 weeks. I'll be traveling the first 3 weeks with a friend who said he'd like to go after I told him of my plans. You need to be able to get along.

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    Solo

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Dear Stranger

    If you can't decide that, will you need them to help you make a lot of decisions along the way ?

    will you argue with someone else if they don't concur with your choice?

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    Do you like camping with friends or solo? If there's a lack of confidence on your part I doubt company will make a difference regarding what challenges you but not your friend. If it was me it would be because I like company and a friend wanted to do the same thing. If you don't really want their company I wouldn't.

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    My first trip/tour two years ago...2700 miles, solo the whole way. Why not go solo, you won't have to deal with anyone else...only yourself.

    Last year's trip, planned to be over 6000 miles, at one point almost 8000 miles, but turned out due to other things changes my plans quite radically to only be 1700 miles. Hoping for that long trip this year depending on whether the same scenario as last year pops up once again. Yeah, I'm going to the one particular location this year, for the third year in a row...I just don't know how I will be getting there(bike or someone elses car I drive down there for them)...that depends on other people.

  9. #9
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    bikehog164, Your friend should be the same level of cyclist that you are. Best to go on a couple of distance rides together well before the tour to determine compatibility.

    Brad

  10. #10
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    If you bring a friend they will put rocks in your bags.

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    Senior Member LuckySailor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    If you bring a friend they will put rocks in your bags.
    That is a good thread- and sage advice!

  12. #12
    djb
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPK79 View Post
    If you bring a friend they will put rocks in your bags.
    Its all fun and games until someone loses an eye/or a bike/ or gets disemboweled by a bear.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    +1 for going solo. I love people and I love my friends, but two of my most anticipated bike trips got completely ruined by allowing friends who were not compatible riders come along with me.

    I say, do the first one solo and give yourself a chance to learn about yourself; how fast you like to ride, how many miles you want to cover in a day, where you want to eat, where you want to stay, what you like to see, etc. This will help you decide if you really want to compromise by bringing someone along the next time, and might even help you decide WHO would be the most suitable touring partner for you.
    Papa Tom

    "I just need a rest...and by 'rest' I mean a really long bicycle ride."

  14. #14
    Garlic
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    I love solo touring, but my first one, nearly forty years ago, was with a buddy. It was a 1000 mile trip, pretty awesome in those days. We are still best of friends and always talk about that trip when we get together. I have done some pretty great trips with my wife, too. And I have had some great traveling with other cyclists I've met along the way and had a compatible style with. So either way has its benefits.

  15. #15
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Well after the tour you will find out if they are really your friend or not. Touring with a friend can be vary rewarding but also very difficult. There will be times when you both are stressed and will snap at one another. If 10 minutes later you can be joking around and forget it happened then that person is a good fit. If not then I say go alone.

    I used to tell folks that came on my charter cruises, the furthest away you can get from another person on a 40ft boat is 40 ft, so you better learn to get along and ignore all those little things someone else does that bothers you because you can be sure you do something that bothers them.

    Pretty much same advice for touring. The only difference is you can go your separate ways. But if it gets that bad you will most likely never see the person again. Except for me of course because I am perfect.

    And I take the getting away from someone on a boat back. Actually one time I had a crew member that was so obnoxious, I came very close to dropping him off on an uninhabited island.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

    Albert Einstein

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehog164 View Post
    Well for my first tour I was wondering if I should go alone or with a friend as I have not done touring before. I do have basic camping skills. Thanks for any advice.
    Do you have a friend you enjoy cycling with, who would be interested in doing a tour?

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    Simply put...I heard this saying a long time ago...let's see I thruhiked the Appalachian Trail back in what...1997...a few years ago. If you want to find out if a relationship will work or not, go on a long trip together. Like spinnaker said above, that will test the friendship/partner and you will find out if you are compatible or not. It will put you through all the test you could ever hope to go through. By going solo you have to deal with everything yourself...but you only have yourself you have to deal with.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    I say, do the first one solo and give yourself a chance to learn about yourself; how fast you like to ride, how many miles you want to cover in a day, where you want to eat, where you want to stay, what you like to see, etc.
    Agree. You can more easily go your own pace. Of course you have to be comfortable being alone. Do you enjoy your own company? Do you go on other kinds of solo trips?

    I like doing and thinking what I want to. And being able to change my mind without letting anybody down.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Papa Tom's Avatar
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    >>>>I like doing and thinking what I want to. And being able to change my mind without letting anybody down.<<<<<<

    I, for example, am a strict vegetarian. After a day of riding, I don't want to have to negotiate with anybody about where we are going to eat, nor do I want to have to compromise. Others might want a riding partner badly enough that they are willing to be less rigid.
    Papa Tom

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  20. #20
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    Bad idea to start a long tour without any experience. Try at least an overnighter first, and see if your friend can come along. You'll find out a lot on those two days.

  21. #21
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I think touring elevates things, including stress. I have a little experience touring in groups, and have heard stories. My nephew rode the west coast with a close friend from childhood. They ended up hating each other and split up and aborted the tour before they finished. 8 years later they still haven't talked.

    I joined a small group to ride the Great Divide tour; we didn't want to be stuck in the wilderness alone, or have to deal with a grizzly encounter. For the most part that group was harmonious and fun, but we had one member who drove everyone else crazy, and added tension to the group that was very unpleasant. She finally left us and flew home at the first opportunity.

    If you go with a friend I have some suggestions. Make sure you are very compatible. If there are any things about the other that one of you finds annoying it will be magnified on tour.

    My strongest recommendation is that you decide in advance on some way to make "group" decisions. I'm referring to things like where to camp, when to take a rest day, etc. When you're alone you make these decisions based on how you're feeling from hour to hour, day to day. When you're with someone you may have differing views about which you feel strongly. I suggest that you let the wimp prevail and don't be in a hurry. If you want to stop and rest and the other person wants to press on, it can be disturbing. If you want to keep going but instead acquiesce to your partner's desire to stop and rest it won't be as problematic, especially if you have the mindset that you're not in a hurry. Sometimes I feel like hammering out 70-80 miles in a day, and sometimes I feel like getting off the bike and relaxing after only 25 miles. If I was in the mood for a big-mile day and my partner wanted to wimp out early, I'd be okay with that; I'm not usually in a hurry and I enjoy relaxing.

    When I was on the Great Divide tour I started having knee problems from the stress of the many successive steep climbs. After a few days of this, and when we had arrived at a comfortable stopping place, I suggested we take a rest day, citing my knee problems. My request fell on deaf ears. They wanted to keep going and basically ignored my request. My knee got gradually worse until I decided to quit the tour a few days later.

    On the other hand, I took a tour with my 23-year-old son last summer and it was wonderful! We had a great time, he loved it (it was his first tour), we met some great people, and had no disagreements. I think he would have deferred to me, as the father and experienced tourer, if we had different opinions on a decision to be made, but it never came up. There were a couple of times when we had to decide whether to stop or keep going. Sometimes I went with his opinion and sometimes he went with mine, but there was no rancor. So it can be done.

    I have done the overwhelming majority of my tours alone, but in many cases I didn't end up alone. If you meet other tourers you will naturally be drawn to each other, if only to share some stories and commiserate. If you're travelling in the same direction it's almost inevitable that you will keep seeing each other. A couple of times I've fallen into impromptu groups that ended up touring together, making route decisions together, partying together, and keeping in touch after the tour as over. The best thing about doing it this way is that you don't have any formal ties; the moment you decide you would rather ride alone you can do it without feeling that you're deserting someone/

  22. #22
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    Thanks for all the different opinions, I do not mind going solo, as I prefer to be alone with my own thoughts but, I do have a friend whom I know we ride at the same pace, we get on we've done plenty of activities, like hiking, parkour, camping and other activities that can drive friends away yet they don't seem to do that to us and I think that my friend would love to come with me. Will talk to him and get his opinion thanks all.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
    >>>>I like doing and thinking what I want to. And being able to change my mind without letting anybody down.<<<<<<

    I, for example, am a strict vegetarian. After a day of riding, I don't want to have to negotiate with anybody about where we are going to eat, nor do I want to have to compromise. Others might want a riding partner badly enough that they are willing to be less rigid.
    +1 on being vegetarian also. I don't object to people eating meat. But watching it happen and smelling it is something I can just as well do without. Particularly when camping. Nothing like laying a carcass on the fire to control my desire to eat.

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehog164 View Post
    Thanks for all the different opinions, I do not mind going solo, as I prefer to be alone with my own thoughts but, I do have a friend whom I know we ride at the same pace, we get on we've done plenty of activities, like hiking, parkour, camping and other activities that can drive friends away yet they don't seem to do that to us and I think that my friend would love to come with me. Will talk to him and get his opinion thanks all.
    So go on a weekend tour together and see how it goes.

  25. #25
    Senior Member capejohn's Avatar
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    If you have a really good friend to tour along side, it will make your tour much more enjoyable. Company really does easy any misery you may and probably will encounter. It's good to have someone to say the "F" word to when it rears it's ugly head.
    Bike riding New England gentleman.

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