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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 10-27-00, 11:19 AM   #1
Snowplug
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Notice that a lot of riders prefer unsupported tours.

Personally, I've always preferred supported tours. That way I made lots of friends in different places. Part of the fun is the competitive element of meeting new riders and testing your ability in different groups.

To me touring alone, or in a small pre selected group, seems a bit lonly?

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Old 10-28-00, 08:42 PM   #2
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I'd like the time or money to do either. I've done unsupported and would like to try the supported type
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Old 10-29-00, 09:54 AM   #3
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Supported

I found a website a few months ago that had a supported mountain bike tour in alaska, i cant find the site for the life of me, but i would die for a supported 3 week tour like that.
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Old 10-30-00, 02:38 PM   #4
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Touring

I've never done a supported ride. I see them as a handicap because the mileage and stops are scheduled for you. I've done as few as 50 and as many as 250 miles in a day depending on where I was and the scenery around me. Having others around (I rode with another person just once) just made the trip into one long compromise. Solo touring is not for everyone though. You have to not only like but enjoy your own company. When I feel the need for human interaction, I just stop at the next town or city on the road, park the bike, put on street clothes and go mingle.
There be something to be said for supported tours but I haven't been convinced of it. Not yet, anyway. Of course, I've only been doing it a very short while (since 1975)and could be proven wrong.
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Old 10-30-00, 05:36 PM   #5
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Unsupported

I prefer unsupported touring. I don't particularly like the idea of having an itinerary already mapped out for me without any flexibility. Plus the fact that I tend to get up ridiculously early in the morning (6am is sleeping in by my standards), and don't want to wait around for a few hours to get started.

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Old 11-05-00, 04:36 AM   #6
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Touring, supported or unsupported

The main reason I enjoy cycling, is for the health benefits which comes as part of the sport. If I could enjoy a wake-up pulse of 46, a healthy lean body and good blood circulation without having to exercise, my cycling would be non-existent. So, to enjoy the qualities life offers to a very healthy person, I have to exercise and cycling offers the best solution. To keep me motivated and enjoy the sport, I have to be competitive, always aiming for a goal.

I therefore need to ride with other riders, and would not be able to tour alone, or unsupported.

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Old 03-05-01, 11:39 AM   #7
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There's unsupported touring, self-supported touring and supported touring.

Unsupported touring is just that - you and your gear.

Self supported is touring with a vehicle driven by other riders or your wife, carrying your load and providing you with water and food.

Supported touring is with an outfitter who carries all your gear, plasn the route and cooks.

I've done all three and found pleasures in all. They are extremely diffferent. Having someone make a meal for you at the end of a long day is a far cry from finding a place to eat and stay or cooking the meal yourself. Outfitters can also take you off the beaten path and show you things you might miss if you were on your own.

Read some of my adventures at my website: http://www.ericactive.com

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Old 03-06-01, 04:15 AM   #8
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I really enjoy hostel touring. Its self supported, but you dont need to lug a tent and sleeping bag around. There are always people to meet in the evenings. You can usually find people to ride with if you feel like company, but you are not compelled to follow their route.
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Old 03-08-01, 09:43 AM   #9
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I am planning a Tour myself and its going to be Montreal to Toronto, I will ride a train to Montreal, and ride back to Toronto, and I am not planning in bringing a bundle of clothes, so any takers, anybody wants to join me in this mini tour of mine, e-mail me if you interested, plan of doing it in the middle of July 2001
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Old 03-09-01, 08:08 AM   #10
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Hello;
Supported Touring:They look after all your gear, supply you with food, accommodations and check up on you as you cycle through a predetermined route. It can be fun and less to worry about and some people like to take lots of personal luggage along. Sometimes you meet people who want to do nothing but race through the day while on these type of tours, others just take their time. These can be expensive but if you don't want too much hassle about carrying stuff or worrying about mechanical failures a supported tour is good.They sometimes throw in other un-cycling related activities;(ie; white water rafting, hiking, hang gliding, kayaking etc..).

Un-supported/Semi-supported Touring: Total dependance on your self or maybe a friend or two your cycling with, flexibility, can be noticeably less expensive. You have to make bike repairs, feed yourself, find accomodations. But you can cycle when and where you like,go at your own pace, sleep in, meet new friends. Real sence of accomplishment at the end of tour. Can also destroy a friendship with a fellow cyclist.

I've done both and like both to a certain extent. I saved alot when I toured with 3 people self sufficient in Europe for 3 weeks (less than $2200 including airfare). You would pay more than that for only 2 weeks on a supported tour and not see the sights I saw.Hostel touring in Europe is common.

Watch out for fly by night tour operators that don't offer much for the money you pay, get refferals from people that have been on specfic tours before if possible. In a few years I hope to do an across Canada trip, also tour France, Ireland and across USA trip.
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Old 04-06-01, 10:22 PM   #11
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Both supported and unsupported trips are good. They are very different, though.

For international tours, I prefer to travel alone.

For some reason, the lone cyclist meets a lot of people and is treated especially well.

I have had hotels in Germany which were closed for the season open a room just for me. I ate with the cleaning crew and security.

I have had farmers in China invite me to stay with their families when no other lodging was available.

I have been invited to play croquet with a group of 80 year old fishing village women in Japan.

I have had elderly French women hug and kiss me and thank the Americans for chasing the Germans from their town when they were teen-age girls (even though WWII was my grandfather's generation).

It just seems that when you bike alone, you meet a more local people than when you travel in a group.

Of course, there is some sanctity in a group tour and a lot of the uncertainties of travel are eliminated such as lodging, emergency help, etcetera.
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Old 07-20-01, 01:35 PM   #12
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Hey, Snowplug, that was a really good question. I've considering on doing a supported tour for my birthday. Mainly, for the reasons that you have mentioned, and others...I don't cook worth beans, and it's good when there's someone else that has a good plan. Kind of like having a bed and breakfast version of riding...if that makes any sense... I'm thinking of trying it by the coast, and see how that goes.

Sometimes I do my own tours around town, and into the next city. I stop and have a bite to eat for lunch, or breakfast, and keep moving on. Sometimes people talk to me and ask me about riding, and such, so that's fun as well.
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Old 07-20-01, 06:06 PM   #13
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I've never done supported touring. I've done unsupported touring before and liked the freedom of it to be able to go where I wanted and do what I wanted. Supported touring worries me in that respect.

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Old 07-20-01, 06:40 PM   #14
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All I can say is, you guys (and you, Technogirl) are making me really want to go on a tour. But not by myself!

I've been reading tour accounts on the Web and despite all the unpleasantnesses it sounds great to be out there.
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Old 07-21-01, 11:37 PM   #15
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I like both supported and unsupported tours. My favorites are self-supported with my cycle-addicted sisters. We plan a loop or out and back with planned fun-stops or a picinic.

I hope Mike realizes how fortunate he as been to have had such wonderful bicylcing experiences around the world! I'm green with envy

Quote:
Originally posted by orguasch
I am planning a Tour myself and its going to be Montreal to Toronto, ... plan of doing it in the middle of July 2001
Hey Rasco,

Did you make the trip yet?
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Old 07-22-01, 06:36 AM   #16
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Not yet, But it will be On August 2 to august 10, it may be shorter or longer days for me on the road, depends on my body, everything is in place now, I have applied for a vacation and it has already been approved, so I am really looking forward to it....
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Old 07-22-01, 10:53 PM   #17
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I've never done a supported tour. Partly a money thing; partly because when I've wanted company on a tour I've usually been able to find it.

As for unsupported, I love the freedom of stopping where I want, when I want, and, when in a group, having the option of leaving the group and catching up later. (I go through short phases of not liking having people around.)

Orguasch, enjoy your tour. Several years ago I did that tour in the opposite direction. I made it to Québec City before running out of time and took the train home to TO. It was a great ride.
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Old 07-22-01, 11:28 PM   #18
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Bon voyage, Orguasch! (Even though it's still several days till your tour begins.)

Don't forget the fig bars!
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Old 07-23-01, 04:20 AM   #19
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Thanx you all, I am rteally looking forward to that day.....
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Old 07-24-01, 04:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by technogirl
Hey, Snowplug, that was a really good question. I've considering on doing a supported tour for my birthday.
Technogirl, "Do It!" Don't wait.

I just went on a supported tour this weekend for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 150 miles in two days. It was so well organized and so wonderful. The people were wonderful and the convenience was astounding.

Travelling alone and unsupported takes a more than just good planning. You have have the right head for it and you really should be a good mechanic.

One of the biggest advantages of supported tours is that they carry all your luggage for you so you can ride free for a hundred miles or more.

Do it. You will earn more money later.
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Old 08-31-01, 08:53 AM   #21
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I prefer unsupported touring for the flexibility it gives and apply the savings to B&B's, low cost hotels, and so on, in order to travel light!

I do one major trip every year (setting off for Spain-Portugal on Sept 4 for 6 weeks) and find it difficult to find riding partners beforehand. I suppose that's because folks are intimidated by long rides, don't have the time or the money, fear incompatibilities, and so on...

I do join up occasionnally with people on the road but I guess the major advantage of supported travel is having constant company and greater security. But then again, i would think this form of travelling is less of an adventure! And one travels with compatriots, with less opportunities to mingle with locals and discover new cultures...Having said this, travelling with one or no more than 3 other riders would certainly be interesting...

So here's my contribution to the debate! If you happen to agree with my approach, drop me a line. Maybe we'll ride together next year...

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Old 08-31-01, 09:20 PM   #22
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Any type of touring is great... but I enjoy the freedom and flexibility that self contained touring allows. I can get up in the morning and plan my own schedule and route without having to go along with the itenery decided by the touring company. I also like the fact that if I see an interesting place to spend a day or two, then there is no conflict of interest with others and time restraints that would keep me from doing so. I have always said... "It's the journey more than the destination..." As long as I am on the bike any trip is well worth it, only wish I could tour more than I do!
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Old 09-01-01, 03:07 AM   #23
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The reason I like unsupported touring is the sort of stuff already mentioned here. I like to be able to plan my own itinerary and not worry about what every one else wants to do.

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Old 09-07-01, 05:30 AM   #24
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I've only done unsupported touring with one friend and probably wouldn't do supported due to the lack of freedom and generally short distances covered by the ones I've seen advertised.

I also find that the incidents along the way such as finding somewhere to camp at ten o'clock at night and locating a bike shop in northern Norway or Bratislave at 6:30 in the evening add to the fun and adventure. Not to mention the fact that my friend and I only know our start and end points and a very vague route before we actually leave.

I would definitely say that it's not for everyone but I would also heartily recommend it to anyone vaguely considering it.
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Old 09-07-01, 06:20 AM   #25
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I'm a great fan of unsupported tours, so much so that I've bought a couple of domain names and am looking into the prospects of setting up a company which will provide a "softer" unsupported tour. i.e, will organise travel to and from point of start of tour in Europe, suggest places to stay or book these and arrange insurances etc, and provide a suggested route map.

I'm like Chris L I like to get going and just decide which direction when I first climb on the bike. However my wife is a keen cyclist but not a keen camper so our last few tours were unsupported, but we stayed in B&B's and hotels, so were sure of a shower every night and some decent food.

The best sight in the world to me is a fully loaded touring bike, and I don't think it makes sense to cycle but have luggage carried. Its not ecological and it removes some of the sense of achievement.

Touring on your own or with your partner allows time for reflection. I know that due to stress at work I can be a bit difficult at home (finding it hard to switch off) and my wife always says that when we are touring, she is back with "the old John".

Sad ain't it. I feel I've shared enough with the group!
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