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A new way of looking at the cross-country tour - my bike IS my RV

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A new way of looking at the cross-country tour - my bike IS my RV

Old 08-18-10, 08:56 AM
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A new way of looking at the cross-country tour - my bike IS my RV

I'm 50+ and am planning my one year cross-country tour. Many people sign up with a touring company, and rush across the country in 30 days, or 45 days, or by someone else's plan, but here's my plan. I'm making my touring bike my recreational vehicle. It's not an RV like you might think of RV, but it is my "recreational" vehicle. So, I'm touring the way many people RV. Stream of consciousness.
I know my ultimate destination is going to be to return home, but I want to cross the U.S. and cycle up to Alaska before cycling back home. It's about a lifestyle, not about touching my toes in each ocean, and calling it an accomplishment. My desire is to travel about 50 miles a day, hopefully, those 50 miles will be in the direction of the opposite shore from the one I began at, but sometimes, they will be to the local bike shop, to a hot-glass studio, a weaving studio, or a special art gallery. I want to site-see the U.S. by bike, meet people, blog, contact local bike clubs, and ride with their members, etc. Although I've just begun sharing this plan with others, hoping to find a few people to ride it with me, it's not easy to find people who will drop all commitments for a year, and just exist on their bike.
If you want to see more about this trip, what inspired it, and what's going on in the process of preparing, you can visit my blog: https://spokies.wordpress.com
The tour is called "The Paterna Tour", after my Dad and GrandDad. Would love to hear from others who have taken this tack on touring.
C.

Last edited by Spokie; 08-18-10 at 05:32 PM. Reason: misworded
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Old 08-19-10, 06:22 PM
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Sounds like a great plan to me. My feeling is that when I'm on tour I'm on vacation. The purpose is enjoyment. If riding a long way is what I enjoy, great. But if riding a couple hours to a beautiful campsite, then taking it easy the rest of the day is enjoyable, that's what I'll do. I'm not touring to get somewhere. If that was the goal I'd drive or fly. The reason I go bike touring is to enjoy the journey. Sometimes that's seeing how far I can ride, but others it's stopping early at a nice spot. Sometimes it's taking a day off just because.

I have to admit having second thoughts plenty of times on tours and I've even aborted tours early. Now I give myself that option from the the start. Why keep going if you're not having fun, just because you had settled on a certain place as a destination? I've also kept going after having second thoughts, and it turned out to be a great choice.

Have fun on your tour. Go at whatever pace you wish, do whatever you want along the way, and when you feel certain that you've had enough, you'll have found your destination, whether it matches your originally stated one or not. It's okay either way.
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Old 08-19-10, 08:49 PM
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All info from people who have done major tours is helpful. Thanks for your information. I will factor it in;0)
Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
Sounds like a great plan to me. My feeling is that when I'm on tour I'm on vacation. The purpose is enjoyment. If riding a long way is what I enjoy, great. But if riding a couple hours to a beautiful campsite, then taking it easy the rest of the day is enjoyable, that's what I'll do. I'm not touring to get somewhere. If that was the goal I'd drive or fly. The reason I go bike touring is to enjoy the journey. Sometimes that's seeing how far I can ride, but others it's stopping early at a nice spot. Sometimes it's taking a day off just because.

I have to admit having second thoughts plenty of times on tours and I've even aborted tours early. Now I give myself that option from the the start. Why keep going if you're not having fun, just because you had settled on a certain place as a destination? I've also kept going after having second thoughts, and it turned out to be a great choice.

Have fun on your tour. Go at whatever pace you wish, do whatever you want along the way, and when you feel certain that you've had enough, you'll have found your destination, whether it matches your originally stated one or not. It's okay either way.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:54 AM
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I think these things must be the fashion now a days. There is the family in Kentucky that had a custom bike built to hold all of them and then biked from Kentucky to Alaska. There is the family that sailed as a family for several years. There are those who ride bicycles, motorcycles, etc the length of the land from north Alaska to the tip of South America. There was a story on PBS yesterday about a guy who is racing on foot through the largest desert in China.

To me it is all good. If the fashion encourages people to get out and have Their Adventure there is no downside.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:08 AM
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That sounds like fun. Is it really a new way of looking at touring? That's pretty much how I have always envisioned it. Enjoy.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:29 AM
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Congratulations on creating a great goal.

Personally, I think you're approaching this in a great way. I have done a moderate amount of touring myself and have always had the most fun when I'm not on a "death march" to reach a specific destination in a set amount of days. Some days I've ridden a lot of miles; other days, not so many. Stopping to enjoy the sights, have a snack, chat w/some locals or just take a break is part of the fun. One of the things that I've noticed about some of the touring blogs, journals and Internet posts I see is the number of people who apparently think that touring is only about "epic" journeys (e.g,. crossing the country in xx days) or following the Adventure Cycling Association maps. On the one hand, I understand why people want to set challenging athletic goals for themselves, but I also think that giving yourself plenty of time to wander is a great idea.

As you're planning, I'd certainly recommend that you start reading some of the journals at www.crazyguyonabike.com. It's a wealth of good writing, good photos, successful trips, unsuccessful trips, planning trips and disasters. All part of touring, IMHO.
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Old 08-20-10, 10:47 AM
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Let me know if you get through Vegas. I always have a bottle of TriFlow and Road Rage sitting around. I might be able to break free for the journey to S. CA.
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Old 08-20-10, 02:30 PM
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Q: How Plus are you on the 50+?

O: When you get closer to making your dream real please PM me. I might be able to assist on the northern end of the trip. Maybe some Tips and Tricks and maybe even some company IF you want it. Some adventures turn out to feel right solo, others include various amounts of company. I don't think you are far enough along to know yet.
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Old 08-20-10, 04:20 PM
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No, not so new

You're right. it's more like the old "touring" mentality. A lot of folks touring these days, though are doing supported tours and "striving". The Paterna Tour, "our way of touring" is a reversion to old fashioned vacationing, but using a bike as the vehicle. There are plenty of people doing it, it's just a niche, I guess. And I seem to have found my niche.
Originally Posted by BluesDawg
That sounds like fun. Is it really a new way of looking at touring? That's pretty much how I have always envisioned it. Enjoy.

Last edited by Spokie; 08-20-10 at 07:43 PM. Reason: wording was ambiguous
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Old 08-20-10, 04:22 PM
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I'm fifty. Will be fifty-one when I leave in April. I'd love to have the company, and will definitely get in touch, on the way south.
C.
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Old 08-20-10, 08:55 PM
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I'm new to Bike Forums, but compelled to comment on your post... That all sounds fun and interesting. You've made a good first step in knowing it is about the journey. Good for you. If the Katy Trail or Mo. wind up in your plan, let us know. Good luck! May the wind be at your back, and peace be in your mind.
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Old 08-22-10, 01:37 PM
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Missouri travel is going to be llllooooonnnngggg. I'll be looking for some travel companions. Perhaps you'll join me for part of the journey?
Let's stay in touch;0)
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Old 08-22-10, 01:50 PM
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How Many Hills to Hillsboro? Your goal sounds very good. Good luck with your planning and it's execution.
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Old 08-22-10, 03:16 PM
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I am jealous. I've never had the personality to just chuck everything aside to do something like you propose. What a fantastic idea and I wish you the best of luck. Looking forward to following your adventure.
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Old 08-22-10, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tntyz
I am jealous. I've never had the personality to just chuck everything aside to do something like you propose. What a fantastic idea and I wish you the best of luck. Looking forward to following your adventure.
Said in an encouraging way: If your choice of the word "jealous" is accurate then it looks like you have some work to do to get yourself squared away. I know lots of people who do lots of ordinary and extra ordinary adventures. There is no "personality type" involved. There is being squared away enough to put the adventure high on the priority list.
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Old 08-22-10, 08:33 PM
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Tntyz,
This was a dream 30 years ago. Set aside. It's only losing loved ones to cancer that has put my true goals on the front burner. Life is short. Tomorrow, a big red bus may just run me over, so today, I must live life, fully.
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Old 08-22-10, 08:39 PM
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Saturday, I got my panniers..... 2 front, 2 back. I also got a water purification system. Have tent, sleeping bag for warmer leg of the trip, and will have a serious cold weather sleeping bag sent to Oregon in June. Am thinking of getting a Trangia of my own, but wonder whether it might be just as well to just make a penny stove. Am saving up my pennies for a solar panel to mount on the bike to charge phone and the mini-notebook. This macbook is just to heavy. 7 months is too long to wait, but I have to have time to sell off my studio equipment, and my lease doesn't expire until then (on the studio). Can I do this on $10/day? Guerilla camping and hopefully some folks will host me. I'm looking for a back-up frame, just in case something happens to Cele. The planning is so much fun;0) Hope to meet some of you along the way.

Last edited by Spokie; 08-24-10 at 05:45 AM. Reason: redundance and repetitive ;0)
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Old 08-23-10, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Spokie
Missouri travel is going to be llllooooonnnngggg. I'll be looking for some travel companions. Perhaps you'll join me for part of the journey?
Let's stay in touch;0)
I'm in the southwest part of the state. PM me if you think you'll be coming through here.
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Old 08-23-10, 09:45 PM
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You guessed it! The nest emptied last week. Now, we get to resume our own lives.
Originally Posted by kbbpll
My 3 major tours were in the 1980s, and I met other people touring who were all over the scale of "planning" and/or "scheduling", just as they presumably are today. One guy in Europe was on a mad dash and had to get his 200km in every day or he was a failure. Another guy had no map and no destination. I've typically had a fairly fixed destination and a wide timeframe to get there, like 3-4 months. A whole year is something to drool over... perhaps when I'm farther into the 50+ realm i.e. the kids are gone
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Old 08-23-10, 09:46 PM
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Perfect! I'll do that.
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Old 08-24-10, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Spokie
Life is short. Tomorrow, a big red bus may just run me over, so today, I must live life, fully.
So so true. For my step-brother, it was a big yellow school bus that ran him over one morning a few months ago.

It's a shock to the system that's making it harder for me to haul myself to one more day at my job. I'm trying to come up with plan B. But your point is so right.
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Old 08-26-10, 10:53 PM
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In preparation for the tour, I've been commuting to work and home when possible. It's usually Monday mornings, Tues. mornings, Thurs morning and evening, and Friday morning and evening. It's 22.5 miles each way, so I'm getting 135 miles just in commuting. Today, on the way home, I looked up and in the near distance was wild lightening, and what looked like a giant funnel cloud. I didn't want to ride into a funnel cloud, and didn't want to ride a metal bike into a lightening storm. Nor, continue into a driving rain and sleet when the motorists were already INTENTIONALLY pushing me off the road. I hunkered down in a lowspot, and called for back-up. Now, I know I won't be doing this on tour, but I had a date tonight, and didn't want to keep my DH waiting forever, besides, he was worried sick, and glad to hear my voice.
Bought a vintage Panasonic step-through bike this evening. I guess it will have to be my back-up on the tour. Loverly bike. Her name is Midge. I also got a good rain jacket for the tour. And have been doing that commuting fully loaded, including my laptop and quite a few other things added, to condition myself for touring loaded.
More later. C
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Old 09-09-10, 10:25 AM
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My bike is a Bianchi Axis, which is a cyclo-cross bike. I'm very comfortable on her, and consider her my cycling partner. Despite this, friends are really counseling me to get a Surly LHT. Because of the comfort of the ride, and the stability of the lower bottom bracket, as well as the durability of the frame. Many cross-country cyclists use this bike, but many folks for decades have used whatever they have. It would be very helpful to know what other touring cyclists feel about this. AND, whether the novara randonee is comparable.
One friend, in particular, said the Randonee is a wonderful bike, well priced, but the gearing isn't a suitable for a true cross-country touring bike. That I would need to get more of a climbing set-up. Whatcha think?
I am cross-posting this in a couple forums. Hope you don't mind.
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Old 09-09-10, 06:02 PM
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I'm a wimp cyclist. Definitely not a "go faster guy". My bike came with a 50/39/30 crank and 11/32 cassette. I changed them to 48/36/26 and 11/34. Only finding out that this was what I wanted after a couple weekend trips with a full load.

Maybe you can go to REI and your LBS and test ride a couple bikes. Real test rides. Not just around the block like I did.

I'm sure we'll hear more from you as your preparations progress. Enjoy this time as it is part of your journey.
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Old 09-09-10, 06:11 PM
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