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Are bike forums chronic touring forum posters representitave of common tourers?

Old 04-14-15, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Hey Shipwreck,
I'm going to be touring down in your "neck of the woods" starting next week so could you please flatten out a few of those "little hills" down there for me? You ought to think about joining us, it's quite the eclectic group. There will be about a dozen of us so I'll pose your question to them as to who ever wastes their time on this forum but I can tell you that for the most part, this group is well equipped and experienced but we could sure use another vintage bike to round out the group.
Hey, I might try for a bit depending on where you are, and how my torn rotator cuff is feeling. PMing for details! Tore it up chopping wood, I can ride, but not for very far. Got a show I'm making some pieces for, last minute, and as always time in spring is tight(its when all the orders start coming in after a long winter of not much). Fall and winter is my free time. But if I cant do it next week, I might be riding up there in September. Going to try to do the MRT again, had to scratch it last time, as I had the chance to do some gallery installation work in NY. didn't help my career, but even though I didn't get to do the ride, I can say I have traveled four thousand miles by plane, rental car, bus, train, and one ferry carrying a 1975 Kenmore sewing machine, and that's not a bad story either.

And Yah, the little hills... Just replaced some brake pads. Again. Not sure why I go through so many. Guess I need to lose weight.


And on the OP topic, some interesting thoughts on the subject.
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Old 04-15-15, 11:52 AM
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I post and read here because there is always more to learn and improve. What I don't get is the CGOAB folks who post daily about their cross country trip that hundreds or thousands before have taken. It's not really all that interesting after reading through a few. I'd much rather ride and explore along the way and make my own discoveries.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s
What I don't get is the CGOAB folks who post daily about their cross country trip that hundreds or thousands before have taken. It's not really all that interesting after reading through a few.
I think it's easy to forget that rush the first time you do a long bicycle tour. It may be old for some of us, but for them, it's new and fresh and exciting. For a lot of people (myself included), my coast-to-coast bicycle tour was a big deal - a life changer.

Also, what makes a bicycle tour journal interesting is not the route, it's the way it's written. The great thing about bike touring is that interesting things happen along the way. It's much more interactive with the local environment and people than traveling by car. The people you meet, things that go wrong, it can make for a compelling story. Admittedly, not everyone is a good storyteller, but I realized long ago that you can't legislate writing style. Everybody has their own voice, some just aren't very good at expressing it in prose, but that's ok. It all goes together to make up an amazing mozaic of travel writing, at least in my opinion. Perhaps people will look back at these journals in the same way we look back at civil war diaries - it gives a flavor of the times, from the real people who lived then. Will tweets and facebook updates give the same kind of flavor? I don't think so.

The way less traveled can also make for great storytelling, no doubt about it. But there's nothing wrong with "yet another TransAm story", it's a big deal to those who do it, and the enthusiasm can be inspiring, remembering what it was like setting off on your first big tour.

As for the original question of this thread, I think it's quite probable that the people who post here and on crazyguyonabike represent a tiny fraction of those who bicycle tour. These internet community sites tend to be a bit of a bubble - people assume that the whole world must be watching, but in fact it's really just a relatively small number of people. A lot of tourers are people who don't agonise for months about which saddle to buy, they just get a bike and use whatever saddle came with it, and buy whatever panniers and sleeping bag the shop has on hand, and they go, and they don't worry about it. As a gearhead myself, there is something refreshing about that.

I remember one time I was in a bike shop down in Eureka, California (where we used to live), I think it was Pro Sport, and there was this girl, maybe teens or early 20's, asking about sleeping bags. The guy asked what she was doing, and she said something about going off for the summer into the wilderness for some kind of group thing. So the guy showed her some bag and said this would be good, and she said ok and bought it. No questions asked, she didn't even get in the thing. She just got it and I guess that's probably the last time she thought about sleeping bags! Nice and simple. I remember back in 1998 when I was gathering gear for my big trip, it was pretty much the same way for me: There weren't as many gear review sites online back then, so I just went to the local REI and got whatever the guy said was good for a bike tour. And it all worked just fine, really.

As usual, there's lots of different ways to do it. I wouldn't presume that everybody has heard of crazyguyonabike, it's humbling to go into a bike shop that deals with bicycle tourists and mention the site to the people there, and they have never heard of the site. Always keeps me grounded, when I start thinking that crazyguyonabike is this "big" website.

Neil
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Old 04-15-15, 01:01 PM
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CGOAB is a great outlet for people who want to share their stories and document their trip. And it's a great resource for people who want to see what bike touring is all about. Just don't see myself doing it that way.
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Old 04-15-15, 01:49 PM
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While I don't post on CGOAB, I do use it as a reference; and often get caught up in a person's writing style, ending up following them on their adventure. I was trying to find a friend's journal who was on the Southern Tier. I ran across a 60 year young lady who was also doing the route from the other direction. Out of curiosity I looked at her journal. It was so well written that my wife and I ended up following her posts and rooting her on as she inched her way across the country. We'd only occasionally check on our friends to see how they were doing.

We keep a blog that is intended for friends and family. It also serves as a good documentation of our travels.

Last night I was looking at a couple CGOAB journals of folks who have toured through Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, and other Eastern European countries. We are planning a 2-3 month tour through that part of the world this summer, and they are a great source of information; especially the "off the beaten path" kind that you won't find in the tourist/bike route literature.


P.S. What is a "common" bike tourer?

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Old 04-15-15, 03:33 PM
  #56  
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A few thoughts on this thread:

1. I expect this forum also collects folks with a sustained interest in touring, at least those that have posted often enough as "regulars". I've participated in other travel related forums, e.g. Thorn Tree by country or some country-specific forums. However, I posted a few times with my questions and once the trip was over, I didn't even read again. This forum also gets folks who occasionally will ask a few questions and then never seen again, but posting many times over extended period is a bit different.

2. Agree with staehpj1 that perhaps over emphasis on gear. Some folks are more into gear than others and forum like this can collect folks a bit more gear focused than average. However, I've also seen gear focus in other venues, e.g. amongst some of the India bikers I met. Gear can play a role, but hardly only factor or most important factor in success of a tour.

3. Agree with NeilGunton that telling of the tale is a key aspect on journals. I've been on combined trips with others and surprising how much variety folks have in what they recorded and how they documented their journeys.

So suspect this forum might skew to those who (a) like forums (b) perhaps more gear focused (c) long term interests in touring as least as much as something done once - though a lot of variation in that recipe.
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Old 04-15-15, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
P.S. What is a "common" bike tourer?
A peasant on a bike? LOL. I read that after it was posted and cringed, was waiting for it to be called out. I meant average? Regular? Most? the kind that has been described here in this thread as those who, like Neil described, buy the sleeping bag they are shown, use a walmart tent and coleman stove, and have a good time. Or even gear heads who are out there but don't come here.

For what its worth, I come here to see what's up in the touring world, because like has been described, I'm a touring hobbyist, one who grabs a weekend here and there, a couple of weeks every once in a while, and when I am lucky, a month or so. And when I do post here, its actually because I am a bit overwhelmed with my business, to much to do, and unwind by chatting. Its funny, cause in person I am quite loquacious, a loner who can talk to anyone, particularly on a tour. at home I work alone and don't socialize much. But I was stunned when I saw that I had hit over a thousand posts! most in the C&V forums though.
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Old 04-15-15, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
So suspect this forum might skew to those who (a) like forums (b) perhaps more gear focused (c) long term interests in touring as least as much as something done once - though a lot of variation in that recipe.
Agreed.
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Old 04-16-15, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s
I post and read here because there is always more to learn and improve. What I don't get is the CGOAB folks who post daily about their cross country trip that hundreds or thousands before have taken. It's not really all that interesting after reading through a few. I'd much rather ride and explore along the way and make my own discoveries.
an excellent resource for those of us traveling in asia, especially if without camping gear.
passau to vienna, reno to salt lake....not much change year to year.

things here are changing daily. the unsigned muddy goat track in southern yunnan
three years ago is now a busy 4-lane highway. the single track section of the ho chi minh
highway last year is now being prepped for paving.

some regions in china are well-suited for foreign tourists, other places foreigners can't stay
in hotels. i like to read the blogs to collect guesthouse locations....and get a heads up on
where the police strictly enforce the rules.

also nice to read where others have taken short side trips. not everyone wants to cover
100 miles per day every day. let's hear more stories from folks that saw a fork in the
road and took it.
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Old 04-18-15, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
also nice to read where others have taken short side trips. not everyone wants to cover
100 miles per day every day. let's hear more stories from folks that saw a fork in the
road and took it.
Well, I saw the fork, but decided not to take it

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Old 04-18-15, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Bull! Those who can, do. And those who can also teach.
Amen Bro!
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Old 04-18-15, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
also nice to read where others have taken short side trips. not everyone wants to cover
100 miles per day every day. let's hear more stories from folks that saw a fork in the
road and took it.
Originally Posted by Doug64
Well, I saw the fork, but decided not to take it


Me too ...


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Old 04-19-15, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s
What I don't get is the CGOAB folks who post daily about their cross country trip that hundreds or thousands before have taken. It's not really all that interesting after reading through a few.
I think that most folks start to keep journals to share the experience with friends and family. There is a broad audience that wants to vicariously experience tours too and when journal writers find that out they tend to want to share with that broader audience.

I get a kick out of it when I meet folks on the road and either I recognize them from their journal or they recognize me from mine. I also like that folks who I have never met in person, but share a common interest with, choose to correspond with me as a result of my journals.

Before my Trans America I greatly enjoyed reading about other's experiences on the route and read a bunch of journals. That said I really don't spend much time reading journals these days except for ones done by someone I know, ones about a route I am curious about, or more rarely one that just catches my eye.

CGOAB is a great resource and can be used in a way that suits the individual. What/how or if you write is up to you and the same applies for reading.
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Old 04-19-15, 05:58 AM
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I have had totally random people recognize my bike(s) and connect those and myself to Bikeforums, my blog, or Facebook.
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Old 04-19-15, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I think that most folks start to keep journals to share the experience with friends and family. There is a broad audience that wants to vicariously experience tours too and when journal writers find that out they tend to want to share with that broader audience.

I get a kick out of it when I meet folks on the road and either I recognize them from their journal or they recognize me from mine. I also like that folks who I have never met in person, but share a common interest with, choose to correspond with me as a result of my journals.

Before my Trans America I greatly enjoyed reading about other's experiences on the route and read a bunch of journals. That said I really don't spend much time reading journals these days except for ones done by someone I know, ones about a route I am curious about, or more rarely one that just catches my eye.

CGOAB is a great resource and can be used in a way that suits the individual. What/how or if you write is up to you and the same applies for reading.
+1. I think Neil has done a great job at providing an open resource for all to use, as they want, with little restriction. I don't think most people who post journals think that their journal is going to be read and followed by the masses.
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Old 04-19-15, 06:45 AM
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I'm a middle aged guy with a young family. Any moment I can, I try to get out and ride. It isn't something I want to do alone anymore. Nothing is so enjoyable to me as spending quality time with my wife and kids. So I've made our bicycles one of the things we do as a family. Riding has become our "thing".

I've always enjoyed bicycle riding but it was a peripheral in my life. Motorcycles were always my first choice. Not that I ever made the time to tour the US, but I could easily grab old military issue stuff and a block of wood (for the kickstand in case it rained) and disappear before anyone realized I'd left.

I never thought much about it. I'd take what gear seemed necessary, roughly enough money and just go. Not even the particular bike mattered. Old enduros, UJMs, my Harley... didn't matter. Even a 1964 Vespa GL150 if you can believe it. In those days every gas station carried two stroke oil and the old bomb was a premix. My limited "preplanning" included plenty of plugs and the assurance I had my oil-mix measuring cup with me or I would be stranded. (It had the 5% ratios painted on it)

I discovered something very interesting. The other day I had the opportunity to take a short jaunt. I did a few things to reposition my platform (the bike) and then simply found a comfortable spin speed. Dumb as it may sound, that gliding feeling returned. Within what seemed like only moments I had looped my neighborhood and was on a county road. That's what riding brings to me. That's what I recall from the days of motorcycles and being lost in the hinterlands. You just go. You simply believe you have enough gas to get to the next filling station. You enjoy the scenery. Stop at the peak of a high rolling hill and take in the horizon all around you. Humbling. The world is big. Even near home, a bicycle reminds me to look around myself with more attention. To observe.

I think you long distance tourers have the ability to see, to relate to your surroundings in a much broader sense than most. Your sense of observation needs to be on a bigger scale. You're true explorers.

A bit of this is always about the bike. The tool. This is a forum about discovery but it's the method of that journey which makes this what it is.

Harv
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Old 04-19-15, 07:06 AM
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What is the minimum amount of miles to ride to be considered "Touring"?

100?

Thanks in advance,

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Old 04-19-15, 11:33 AM
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There isn't a mileage minimum, it is whether you are touring or not. Touring isn't racing, or fitness riding, it is tourism, where the bike is the method of transportation. Like hiking, you can do day hikes, or overnighters, or hikes that stretch into months or years.
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Old 04-19-15, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by MassiveD
There isn't a mileage minimum, it is whether you are touring or not. Touring isn't racing, or fitness riding, it is tourism, where the bike is the method of transportation. Like hiking, you can do day hikes, or overnighters, or hikes that stretch into months or years.
Totally agree!

Last Thursday my wife and I planned on going into a larger nearby city to see a segment of the Banff Film Festival World tour. It was such a beautiful day we decided to ride the 50 miles in and spend the night after seeing the show. The next day we made a loop out of it and rode a different route home. We have ridden the route before only in the opposite direction; but this time we took time to explore some new places as well as try to figure our Eugene's bike path system.



I've driven by this covered bridge dozens of times, but coming home was the first time I saw it. The leaves were not fully out on the hardwood trees yet, and I was going slow enough (uphill at 5 mph) to catch a glimpse of it as we approached the road junction leading to it. We were touring!!

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Old 04-19-15, 08:19 PM
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I want to thank many of the posters in this thread for bringing me back to earth re specialized touring bikes and gear.

I'm two years back into cycling after decades away and plan to do several multi-day tours this year — been studying up on touring bikes and gear, attended MEC seminars on same, and was planning to get and equip another bike for touring.

Not anymore. I'll just cobble some more capacity onto my 14-year-old beater, give it a tuneup, and be on my way. Maybe next year some longer travels will prompt me to up the equipment a few notches...

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Old 04-20-15, 08:57 AM
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I have to admit, in 50 years of riding bicycles, I've taken only one extended trip, and that was "from inn-to-inn", no camping. But I read these forums continuously. Of course there is the vicarious pleasure of reading about someone's experience. I truly enjoy learning how other people solve problems.

For most of my life, I have traveled on a motorcycle and see bicycle travelers as kindred spirits. We share some of the same skills and challenges.

Bob
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Old 04-20-15, 10:04 AM
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The ones on here are bike-crazy and naturally found the forums. There are plenty of other people just out there riding their bikes and who just as naturally never considered a forum for bikes, for any reason. I equate this to a different hobby vehicle I own and for which I frequent some other forums. When I encounter one of these vehicles in use in the real world it always surprises me to discover that the owner driver simply owns and drives the thing, pays a mechanic to fix it when it breaks, and has never gone online to research/discuss/wax poetic about it, and has never heard of the most popular online venues for info and technical support. More importantly, those owners do not care. The vehicle is simply a tool.

Incidentally, for one season in the '80s I also led trips for one of those well-known "inn-to-inn" companies and realized that the customers were as varied as the general populace out there. You had everyone from the hardcore bikers there to ride the longest route every day in the shortest time to the families out enjoying themselves together to the rank novices. One guy showed up who'd never ridden a bike before. That was a challenge.

Anyway, the staff of the company was as varied as the populace. You had the guys like me (mechanic/tourist/commuter), the racers, the hobbyists, and the ones for whom bikes were simply tools for the job. Takes all kinds and the common bond is the bike. Could be worse.

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Old 04-20-15, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by thumpism
The ones on here are bike-crazy and naturally found the forums. There are plenty of other people just out there riding their bikes and who just as naturally never considered a forum for bikes, for any reason. I equate this to a different hobby vehicle I own and for which I frequent some other forums. When I encounter one of these vehicles in use in the real world it always surprises me to discover that the owner driver simply owns and drives the thing, pays a mechanic to fix it when it breaks, and has never gone online to research/discuss/wax poetic about it, and has never heard of the most popular online venues for info and technical support. More importantly, those owners do not care. The vehicle is simply a tool.

Incidentally, for one season in the '80s I also led trips for one of those well-known "inn-to-inn" companies and realized that the customers were as varied as the general populace out there. You had everyone from the hardcore bikers there to ride the longest route every day in the shortest time to the families out enjoying themselves together to the rank novices. One guy showed up who'd never ridden a bike before. That was a challenge.

Anyway, the staff of the company was as varied as the populace. You had the guys like me (mechanic/tourist/commuter), the racers, the hobbyists, and the ones for whom bikes were simply tools for the job. Takes all kinds and the common bond is the bike. Could be worse.
Aw man, now you've got us curious...

As for me, I'm a lurker who doesn't post on this forum much/at all as I dream about touring (and experience it vicariously through others), but real life has kept me from being able to do it (so far).
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Old 04-20-15, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Bamford
I want to thank many of the posters in this thread for bringing me back to earth re specialized touring bikes and gear.

I'm two years back into cycling after decades away and plan to do several multi-day tours this year — been studying up on touring bikes and gear, attended MEC seminars on same, and was planning to get and equip another bike for touring.

Not anymore. I'll just cobble some more capacity onto my 14-year-old beater, give it a tuneup, and be on my way. Maybe next year some longer travels will prompt me to up the equipment a few notches...

Hallelujah! Sanity is restored!

I don't want to put anybody down for getting hyper-enthused about bike touring or any other hobby, but I'm really happy to see that at least a few people here are like me, loading up whatever two wheels they own and getting out there whenever they can.

As I said in an earlier post, I don't "tour" very often at all, but I love reading about other people's tours. The only part that bores me to tears is when cyclists start to talk about their gear.
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Old 04-20-15, 10:43 AM
  #75  
Bikes are okay, I guess.
 
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Originally Posted by himespau
Aw man, now you've got us curious...

As for me, I'm a lurker who doesn't post on this forum much/at all as I dream about touring (and experience it vicariously through others), but real life has kept me from being able to do it (so far).
Curious about what? I'll respond to honest inquiries.

Be careful about that "real life" thing. I have not done much biking since the '80s except for one year more than a decade ago when I went back to school. Touring is what you make of it. Riding your bike ten miles out into the country to pitch your tent, then riding home the next morning could be considered touring. Do that once a year and you'll be a pro. Just remember to do it while you can do it, that life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.
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