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Staying in motels on rides

Old 01-16-20, 11:59 AM
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Staying in motels on rides

Perhaps a silly question, but as something I've never tried to do on a ride, what sort of experiences have people had staying in motels?

Any general pushback or feelings of unwelcome over showing up with the appearance and aroma of a long day's ride?

Instances of being told you have to leave your bike outside? An overnight-worthy lock is hardly in the carry budget.

What about the mechanics of checking out to start riding at 5am?

In a way I'm particularly ignorant... haven't been in a hotel or motel period in a number of years, and have basically never done so under anything but the usual, sterile airport shuttle / taxi type business travel or conventional drive up in a car and unload a suitcase type road trip.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:11 PM
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The easiest way is just to ask ahead of time. I have credit card toured three days on the Mickelson in SD and all of the hotels I stayed at allowed bikes in the room. I stayed in Moab a few days and they did not allow bikes in the room but had a secure bike room in the building. Fruita quality inn allowed bikes in the room. I have also been too inebriated to make it out of downtown Denver and valet parked my bicycle at the Oxford. Most hotels are pretty accommodating, but I am usually riding in pretty bike centric places.

Then again NY is a lot different than riding in the west.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jdswitters View Post
Then again NY is a lot different than riding in the west.
Probably more VA, PA, etc... if I did it in NY state it would be mostly as a dry run or as a way to hit the trail an hour before sunrise. I do get however that from the perspective of the rest of the country these are all practically the same place ;-)

The easiest way is just to ask ahead of time.

What I wonder about there is how that interacts with strategies for getting the best price from online portals, etc.

Last edited by UniChris; 01-16-20 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:24 PM
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Motels make a good chunk of their money on hard-working construction/road crews who need a place to wash up and crash after a lot of hot dirty work, so your appearance/smell is a non-issue. That's what the shower is for.


Having to keep it outside is a deal breaker for me. I check with the venue beforehand. "My bike is my luggage" usually is all the explanation they need for me to keep it in my room.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Probably more VA, PA, etc... if I did it in NY state it would be mostly as a dry run or as a way to hit the trail an hour before sunrise. I do get however that from the perspective of the rest of the country these are all practically the same place ;-)


What I wonder about there is how that interacts with strategies for getting the best price from online portals, etc.

You can call the place and ask before booking it online. Also, I've had good luck with Airbnb, you can actually email the hosts to ask before booking.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:31 PM
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you check in with a credit card & tell them you are leaving early. they can email you a receipt. then just leave your room key & a tip on the dresser

I don't tour but sounds like you got good advice about asking if you can bring a bike in the room cuz you don't have a lock

when vacationing with my family I mention it in advance & ask that we don't get a room on the 2nd floor, for example. here we got a room near this area where we could lock our bikes close by our room. very convenient


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Old 01-16-20, 12:34 PM
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I'm trying to imagine somewhere telling you you can't bring a unicycle in your room, and I just don't see it happening.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:38 PM
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I've done it many times. It's never been an issue. Almost every time I've done it, there isn't even a question about putting my bike in the room. Don't use the towels to do bike clean up and don't lean a greasy bike* up against the furniture but otherwise it isn't a problem.


*Don't use a lube that is greasy to begin with. It avoids the problems.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Perhaps a silly question, but as something I've never tried to do on a ride, what sort of experiences have people had staying in motels?

Any general pushback or feelings of unwelcome over showing up with the appearance and aroma of a long day's ride?

Instances of being told you have to leave your bike outside? An overnight-worthy lock is hardly in the carry budget.

What about the mechanics of checking out to start riding at 5am?

In a way I'm particularly ignorant... haven't been in a hotel or motel period in a number of years, and have basically never done so under anything but the usual, sterile airport shuttle / taxi type business travel or conventional drive up in a car and unload a suitcase type road trip.
You only ride one wheel - they won't even notice you bringing it in.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:46 PM
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I was thinking that I wouldn't even ask, I would just check-in and take my bike to my room.

Absolutely no way would I leave my bike out of my sight overnight.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:47 PM
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Never had an issue with how I was dressed or bringing my bike into the room. As mentioned above, hotels/motels that don't allow bikes in the room usually have storage rooms that they can lock up your bike until you are ready to leave.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:52 PM
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I have stayed at numerous hotels and resorts in the Bishop, CA and Mammoth Lakes area and it is never a problem bringing bikes into your room. Of course these cities cater to outdoors enthusiasts. The hotel staff likely embrace cycling as well in these areas. The Westin Monache Resort also had a bike rack area in the secured underground parking.
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Old 01-16-20, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I'm trying to imagine somewhere telling you you can't bring a unicycle in your room, and I just don't see it happening.
Giant somewhat knobby 36 inch tire, after a day on a gravel trail? It fits in a slightly smaller footprint than a full size DF bike, and is easier to pick up and carry, but it's not that much smaller.

There are certainly mitigating things I have thought of that I could do, like wash it. Or see if I can find a commercial garbage bag big enough.

I have a carrying bag for it but stopped carrying that on rides, still it weighs quite a bit less than a lock, and is quite a bit more effective. That one was made of canvas to be durable, but could also just piece together a few ultra thin dollar store laundry bags.

Part of the lock problem is that there's nothing to lock to except the tire, granted the fame is the cheapest part except for the hassle if it were to go missing.


Last edited by UniChris; 01-16-20 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 01-16-20, 01:14 PM
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Never been a problem in I don't know how many years of touring. A worker at one particularly bike-friendly motel in Hyde Park, NY, offered me the use of the locked storage room so I the bike didn't take up space in my room. He said a lot of cyclist stay there. I politely declined since I wanted to have all my stuff handy in the room.

As for checkout, it all depends on the place. It's no different than checking out early without a bike/uni.

The only thing the desk clerk is likely to smell is the green in your wallet, although I did have an amusing encounter in Missoula back in '00. Walked into a small, independent motel office after 5 days on the road without a shower or shave. That particular day had been warm and humid and about 70 miles. The woman who appeared looked a little startled at first. When I went to my room there was a young-ish girl outside cleaning up the parking lot and such. When I emerged about 1 hr. later all clean and in street clothes she said "You look like an totally different person."
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Old 01-16-20, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Giant somewhat knobby 36 inch tire, after a day on a gravel trail? It fits in a slightly smaller footprint than a full size DF bike, and is easier to pick up and carry, but it's not that much smaller.

There are certainly mitigating things I have thought of that I could do, like wash it. Or see if I can find a commercial garbage bag big enough.

I have a carrying bag for it but stopped carrying that on rides, still it weighs quite a bit less than a lock, and is quite a bit more effective. That one was made of canvas to be durable, but could also just piece together a few ultra thin dollar store laundry bags.

Part of the lock problem is that there's nothing to lock to except the tire, granted the fame is the cheapest part except for the hassle if it were to go missing.


I think you're over-thinking this. The fact that you're carrying it through the lobby instead of rolling it might actually be a help. The more important point is no potentially greasy chain.
Taking big chunks of mud off the tire with paper towels is probably sufficient.
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Old 01-16-20, 01:55 PM
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I have gotten a bit of negative attitude when trying to bring my bike into a university residence* for a weekend stay, and at hostels. Hotels and motels I generally just bring my bike in without asking and nobody says anything.

*at the university residence when we checked in the clerk said the bikes were not allowed in the rooms, but there was a courtyard that could only be accessed by going through the hall past the rooms we were staying in and...
...I never got the rest of the directions to the courtyard.
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Old 01-16-20, 02:09 PM
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... also, I forgot to mention that many motels in towns and regions where cyclotourism is popular have 'Welcome Cyclists!' signs, and this generally means 'bring our bike in but don't clean them with our towels'.
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Old 01-16-20, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I've done it many times. It's never been an issue. Almost every time I've done it, there isn't even a question about putting my bike in the room. Don't use the towels to do bike clean up and don't lean a greasy bike* up against the furniture but otherwise it isn't a problem.


*Don't use a lube that is greasy to begin with. It avoids the problems.
I have ridden thousands of miles in many states for a number of years, we (2 bikes) were never refused to locate our bikes indoors. 99% of the time in our room.

Airbnb, I would call ahead to be sure they have a location. Again they typically do.

good advice from cyccommute
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Old 01-16-20, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Don't use the towels to do bike clean up
Yeah. My local club used to have an annual spring weekend that used a motel as a base for day rides. Most people drove out from the city, but one year a couple of people rode out from the city on Friday. It rained that afternoon. Morons used the hotel towels to clean off their filthy bikes. We had to find another place the following year.
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Old 01-16-20, 02:47 PM
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Only times I have stayed in hotels with a bike are the times I traveled to do organized rides. So most, if not all of the hotel rooms were filled with cyclists. Nobody's complaining!

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Old 01-16-20, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Yeah. My local club used to have an annual spring weekend that used a motel as a base for day rides. Most people drove out from the city, but one year a couple of people rode out from the city on Friday. It rained that afternoon. Morons used the hotel towels to clean off their filthy bikes. We had to find another place the following year.
Yikes. It does prompt thoughts of bringing a rag of a former t shirt to use and dispose.
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Old 01-16-20, 03:08 PM
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Act like you know what you're doing (you do know, you asked and we told you!), and roll the bike through the lobby as you check in and take it to your room. It's worked in every major motel chain I've ever tried it in, in almost every state I've ridden in. (Didn't work at a couple "historic" hotels in CO or one B&B; B&B offered a barn, one hotel offered a locked storage room, and the third a courtyard to lock it in.)

Early checkout is no more of a problem than it would be to catch an early morning flight. If you're leaving before dawn, most motels will be happy to settle up the night before. You just leave your key at the front desk, in the special key slot, or on the nightstand when you depart.

Particularly in areas where there's a lot of outdoor recreation, like hunting, fishing, or motocross, ask if they have some rags you can use to clean up the bike if needed. Guest room towels get dirty or ragged and transition to pool towels, and when they're too old or dirty for that, you get rags to clean up guns, waders, and bike tires and chains. The motels love the idea of cleaning the bike before it comes in, almost as much as they love swiping your credit card.
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Old 01-16-20, 03:30 PM
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For a motel where you enter the room direct from the parking lot, I would not even ask and just take the bike in. If I had to go inside the hotel to get to the room, then I'd ask in advance. They may not want your dirty tire tracks on the carpet or rubber streaks on hard surfaces.

And the leaving early thing is a non-issue. I don't think I've ever stayed anywhere that didn't have a desk person at 5 AM, which is not all that early for many people traveling for work. If they don't just pay in advance and leave the key in the room or wherever they ask you to leave it.
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Old 01-16-20, 04:10 PM
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If you can, bring one or more 55-gallon plastic trash bags (made to fit 55-gallon drums). That way, if they object to the cycle being dirty, you can easily place it in the bag.
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Old 01-16-20, 04:30 PM
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I've ridden to one historic luxury hotel and it had a bike room as it caters to cyclists using a nearby trail.
All my other times at hotels with bikes were at motels or hotels where I dont even ask, I just bring the bike(s) in. I usually use a side door since rooms are rarely next to the main entrance. Me rolling a bike in will never be as rough on the carpet or infrastructure as the moldy pool area at most every hotel.
A healthy relative perspective helps.
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