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Touring alone?

Old 04-17-17, 07:30 AM
  #26  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
So I'll go alone unless I find someone in the time frame that I'm going.
ACA strongly recommends a minimum of 3 people for the GDMBR. One to go for help and the other to stay with the injured person.
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Old 04-17-17, 07:33 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
ACA strongly recommends a minimum of 3 people for the GDMBR. One to go for help and the other to stay with the injured person.
I didn't know that. Hmmm...
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Old 04-17-17, 07:35 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
I didn't know that. Hmmm...
You haven't purchased and/or read the maps?
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Old 04-17-17, 07:52 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
ACA strongly recommends a minimum of 3 people for the GDMBR. One to go for help and the other to stay with the injured person.
also comes in handy for NoControl to help dig the graves of the growing line of bodies he will have to deal with.
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Old 04-17-17, 08:20 AM
  #30  
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Out of the 4 bike trips I've did, 1700-8400 miles in length, all of them have been solo. I don't think a thing about it. Love it thoroughly. Couldn't truly imagine doing a bike trip with someone else and having to live by their standards versus just mine. I know of two people who have mentioned the idea of a two person trip this summer with me and with both, the one is a fast rider like me while the other one is overweight and slow, I still couldn't even imagine the idea of having to do things their way instead of my way. Our two concepts of doing things are quite radically different. I would be driving, err ridden nuts riding with them on any decent length trip. Too many stipulations...too much cramping my riding style.

You just have to learn to talk to yourself and then you won't mind not having someone to talk to. It is. You just learn to answer your own questions instead of expecting someone to give you an answer to a question. Learn to fight with yourself, its fun.
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Old 04-17-17, 08:48 AM
  #31  
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I enjoy multimodal solo touring. I retired early so my younger adventurous friends are still working, and my older retired friends (and wife) are not interested in sleeping on the ground anymore (none are bicycle riders). I'm also interested in rather specific niches that makes it difficult to match partners.

For me, Kayak touring is the only thing that requires a partner as water can kill quickly in a number of ways. For solo backpacking and motorcycle/ADVtouring, I use an Inreach Satcom/locator which provides 2-way comms anywhere, and breadcrumbs my trail on the web for the Mrs. to follow - if my trail stops for too long without a message, she knows something is wrong and exactly where I am. For long distance, I tour with an RV/campervan (and take my dog) and generally within cell service. I like bicycle touring in more densely populated areas (Eastcoast/shoreline) where a bicycle is advantageous and use an ultra-compact rig to address the security issues (take everything inside).

As others have mentioned above, I enjoy chatting with others along the way - on the road you are never really alone, and strangers will go out of the way to help you if you are in trouble. Even solo backpacking, where you can go days without seeing another sole, is rewarding to me in an adventure/self-sufficiency/survivalist sort of way.

Last edited by reppans; 04-17-17 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 04-17-17, 09:09 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
There are definitely pros and cons either way.

Personally I wouldn't try to seek out someone to tour with and would just tour alone unless there was someone whose company I really enjoyed who was interested in going with me.
I can't think of a more nearly perfect touring companion than a new bride as on our cross-country honeymoon. We had toured together previously for a few years so had a system. On that cross-country ride,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…It was a great way to start married life, since every day we would have to find and set up a homestead for the night in a new environment where we only knew, and could depend on each other. I can remember two distinct times on that trip when either one of us hit low a point, and were bouyed up by the other; me in Kansas and she in Ohio.

BTW, that trip was 40 years ago and we're still together.
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Old 04-17-17, 09:41 AM
  #33  
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Touring alone means that you set and are bound by your own time table and that you can change your agenda on a whim. Often when I'm touring "alone" I think about the line a doctor told Col. Robert Scott in the book GOD IS MY CO-PILOT, the doc told Scott that Scott might be flying a single seat fighter but that he wasn't alone up there - that God was his co-pilot.

Cheers
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Old 04-17-17, 09:53 AM
  #34  
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Most of my bike tours were with a former co-worker. I also did Glacier Waterton Loop with ACA and two REI fully supported guided trips in Europe that were group tours.

But, when I decided to go to Iceland, I told my touring partner, sorry but I want to do this solo. I had a great time.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
...
Cons I see are no one to talk to, no one to share the experience with, no one to bounce plans off of or to help make decisions. ...
My past trips before the solo trip, we had a route and itinerary planned. We did not plan were to stop each night, let the weather dictate our speed. But otherwise we knew where we were going.

On a solo trip, it simplifies it because you go where you want to see things. But if you are credit card touring and have reservations, then your itinerary is more controlled. My solo trip, my itinerary was anything I wanted it to be as long as I made my flight schedule for the return home.

I had a lot of conversations with others in the campgrounds.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
...
No one to watch your bicycle and gear while you run into a store or some other off bike errand. No one to share costs.
...
True, but I always try to leave my bike in a place I feel comfortable. Costs, that is also true, but the camping fees on my solo trip were per person. The hostels I stayed in were also per person. So, costs were pretty close to the same.

One con you did not address, I noted in one of your posts you planned for credit card touring but it was not clear to me if that was 100 percent of the trip or not. If you are doing some camping and cooking, more weight and volume for cooking gear when you travel alone.

Traveling back on the train is more enjoyable with a friend. And hanging out alone in the Chicago train station alone won't be very fun. It is very possible that your train ride back will be the part of the trip that you will wish you had someone along.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
...
Pros are. You make your own plans and do the distance you want to do in the pace you want to do it. No need to compromise with someone else. One of my big problems with my one touring partner is he is a heads down just get there kind of guy. I more of the heads up, smell the flowers and enjoy the journey kind of guy. If I only do 30-40 miles in a day that is fine with me.
...
This is exactly why I wanted to do Iceland solo. Probability of rain each day was around 70 percent. Winds control how far and how fast you go each day. Those situations breed conflict. And the best way to avoid conflict is not to bring the person you may have conflict with.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
...
I have done a few weekend tours on my own but nothing long term. Never really had any major issues. As far as my injury / illness concerns it is not like I will be in the middle of nowhere. But being alone every day sort of sucks.
...
I did not let potential for injury worry me. I was in a foreign country so I got trip insurance. I knew that I would see people every few hours when I was in isolated areas.

I live alone and am quite self reliant. I built up my touring bikes, there are not many mechanical difficulties that would have stopped me in my tracks. So, spending all day on a bike without talking to anyone was not an issue at all for me.

Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
...
So who has toured alone longer than say a few days? What did you think? Would you do it again?
If I was going somewhere where I thought that I might have excessive conflict with a touring partner in arduous conditions, absolutely I would plan to go alone. On my Iceland trip I think there were several times that we would have argued about how far to go each day, route, etc.

That said, most trips I prefer to go with someone. I did Florida Everglades and Florida Keys two months ago with my touring partner, having a friend along for that trip made it more enjoyable. We had a few arguments but they were minor and were the kinds of things that you forgot about a couple hours later.
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Old 04-17-17, 09:58 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You haven't purchased and/or read the maps?
Not yet. I've been too busy spending money on bikes so far. I am an ACA member, so I'll get the map set on order now for sure.
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Old 04-17-17, 10:04 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Couldn't truly imagine doing a bike trip with someone else and having to live by their standards versus just mine.
That's kind of where I'm at as well. What is that old proverb? Familiarity breeds contempt? Hence the reason for all the dead bodies, @djb lol. I'd have to prop one up on a stake and write "SHUT UP AND RIDE" on a sign tied around his neck as a warning to others.
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Old 04-17-17, 10:42 AM
  #37  
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Love touring solo. I've also toured with others, but it's very rare to find someone that's
totally compatible to my idiosyncrasies. Don't know why so many worry or fear touring
alone. Yes, accidents can happen, and if you're in remote places, help can be a long time
coming, but you can be alone in your house with the same scenario. Life is for living, and
if you take precautions, traveling along our highways and byways is relatively safe and the
enjoyment far outweighs worrying about what might or might not happen. No one would
ride in a car or cross a street if they let worrying dictate taking no risks.
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Old 04-17-17, 10:43 AM
  #38  
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The only thing worse than touring with someone else, is if they are on the same bike with you all day. And then in the same tent all night. OK, so I've never actually toured with anyone else, but that's how I imagine it would be. I don't mind meeting people along the way, as long as we can part ways whenever either desires.
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Old 04-17-17, 10:49 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Not yet. I've been too busy spending money on bikes so far. I am an ACA member, so I'll get the map set on order now for sure.
There is also a book from ACA.

It says not to do it alone, and then the author is pictured with a Bob trailer doing it solo.
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Old 04-17-17, 04:41 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Well it looks like if I want to tour this year it is going to have to be alone. My one tour partner has other plans for this year and I have not heard from my other tour partner in months.


How many people have done it?

Cons I see are no one to talk to, no one to share the experience with, no one to bounce plans off of or to help make decisions. No one to back you up in case of illness or injury. No one to watch your bicycle and gear while you run into a store or some other off bike errand. No one to share costs.

Pros are. You make your own plans and do the distance you want to do in the pace you want to do it. No need to compromise with someone else. One of my big problems with my one touring partner is he is a heads down just get there kind of guy. I more of the heads up, smell the flowers and enjoy the journey kind of guy. If I only do 30-40 miles in a day that is fine with me.

I have done a few weekend tours on my own but nothing long term. Never really had any major issues. As far as my injury / illness concerns it is not like I will be in the middle of nowhere. But being alone every day sort of sucks.

So who has toured alone longer than say a few days? What did you think? Would you do it again?
Most of my tours have been solo. I get tons of vacation and my wife doesn't...like 6 weeks per year which is one of the perks of staying on the same job for decades. I can only carry 7 weeks of vacation at the end of each year so I have to use it or lose it. She also get itchy about taking more than 2 weeks at a time...go figure. So I go alone for up to 5 weeks every other year.

I'm not a terribly sociable person so being alone doesn't bother me much. I can keep myself pretty good company. That said, the loneliness does get to me sometimes. Usually about the end of the 3rd week. The first week of a tour, I find myself worrying about doubts and pondering turning around and going back home. By the second week, I'm starting to feel better and the initial excitement is still there but the doubts have worn off. The last week of a month long tour is all about getting to the finish and getting it done. But the third week is where it's too far to go, the excitement has worn off and it's too far to turn around and go back. The grind is just getting to be too much by that point.

I do have a cell phone so that I can call home. I didn't carry one until 2011 and relied on pay phones and phone cards then. It was a lot worse because I couldn't just call someone to chat. One of my coping mechanisms that I developed over the years is to write letters...with pen and paper...home about my day. It keeps me thinking about what I see and I use the letters for notes when I write up my trips. I can also revisit the notes to jog my memories plus share my experiences. I usually mail the letter...yes, by snail mail and with a stamp...a couple of times per week.

I will disagree with FB (big surprise) about the optimal number of people to tour with. The only thing worse than touring solo is touring with someone and the only thing worse than touring with someone is touring solo. When I go by myself, I push too hard and miss too much. When I go with someone, I get frustrated at them for not going my speed or their wanting to see too much.

I absolutely, positively disagree that 3 people is the optimum number! Too many moving parts! Someone is slower than the others. Someone of the group wants to take frequent breaks or someone...usually me...wants fewer breaks. Everyone gets grumpy. I'll go solo or go with another person but I won't try a loaded tour again with 3 people.
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Old 04-17-17, 05:44 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by reppans View Post

For solo backpacking and motorcycle/ADVtouring, I use an Inreach Satcom/locator which provides 2-way comms anywhere, and breadcrumbs my trail on the web for the Mrs. to follow - if my trail stops for too long without a message, she knows something is wrong and exactly where I am. For long distance, I tour with an RV/campervan (and take my dog) and generally within cell service. I like bicycle touring in more densely populated areas (Eastcoast/shoreline) where a bicycle is advantageous and use an ultra-compact rig to address the security issues (take everything inside).
A great idea for a business. Monitor those who don't have a "Mrs". Maybe even rent the equipment? I wonder if you could make money at that?
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Old 04-17-17, 05:51 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
The only thing worse than touring with someone else, is if they are on the same bike with you all day. And then in the same tent all night. OK, so I've never actually toured with anyone else, but that's how I imagine it would be. I don't mind meeting people along the way, as long as we can part ways whenever either desires.
I rarely camp on tour. When I do it is almost always on the GAP and / or C&O. I always take my own tent. Even when I travel with two or more. I can't imagine sharing with anyone but an S.O. And an S.O. is not in the picture.

In fact I carry a 2 man tent just for myself. I'd rather carry the extra weight and be comfortable at night. Any other way it would be doubtful I would get much sleep at night at that is not good in any respect.
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Old 04-17-17, 06:00 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post

Personally I wouldn't try to seek out someone to tour with and would just tour alone unless there was someone whose company I really enjoyed who was interested in going with me.
Well said. In fact it is how I run my whole life. I don't have a lot of friends because there are people I just don't want to bother with. I would rather have a couple of good friends whose company I enjoy rather than a bunch of people I don't really like.

There are a couple of people I could ask but I don't because I know we would not get along over the long haul.

And that is not to say that everything will be peachy keen even between the best of friends. It can be a but tense from time to time on tour. Mostly from fatigue. You might have your little spats from time to time but if at the end of the day you walk away friends you know you have a strong friendship.
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Old 04-17-17, 08:43 PM
  #44  
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I'm doing my first tour ever this summer...across the USA and I'm doing it solo!
There will undoubtedly be many challenges but I'm so anxious to get started!!! I leave in early June, Route 66 Santa Monica to Missouri then onto the Trans AM route the rest of the way.
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Old 04-17-17, 08:57 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by BicycleCrazy View Post
I'm doing my first tour ever this summer...across the USA and I'm doing it solo!
There will undoubtedly be many challenges but I'm so anxious to get started!!! I leave in early June, Route 66 Santa Monica to Missouri then onto the Trans AM route the rest of the way.
Good for you! Going solo doesn't mean you'll always be by yourself. You'll undoubtedly meet and have great
interactions with a variety of people as you go. One little word of advise...take lots of pictures with more than
one camera. On two of my longest tours I had camera problems. One was stolen, and another broke inside,
leaving me with only a couple of salvageable pictures for both those trips. Were I to re-wind the clock, I would
have used 2 camera systems and kept them apart.
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Old 04-17-17, 09:32 PM
  #46  
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Thanks for the kind words and tips! I plan on taking TONS of pics and blogging along the way...full backup to the cloud too should some thing happen
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Old 04-17-17, 09:46 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Well said. In fact it is how I run my whole life. I don't have a lot of friends because there are people I just don't want to bother with. I would rather have a couple of good friends whose company I enjoy rather than a bunch of people I don't really like.

There are a couple of people I could ask but I don't because I know we would not get along over the long haul.

And that is not to say that everything will be peachy keen even between the best of friends. It can be a but tense from time to time on tour. Mostly from fatigue. You might have your little spats from time to time but if at the end of the day you walk away friends you know you have a strong friendship.
It's been said that the true test of friendship is spending a week together on a sailboat. Going on a bike tour isn't that much different. I don't mind hooking up loosely for a while with someone I meet along the way, but I won't commit to a long trip with anybody except for someone I know I can put up with (and vice versa).
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Old 04-17-17, 10:35 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
It's been said that the true test of friendship is spending a week together on a sailboat. Going on a bike tour isn't that much different. I don't mind hooking up loosely for a while with someone I meet along the way, but I won't commit to a long trip with anybody except for someone I know I can put up with (and vice versa).
I was very fortunate on 2 of my longer tours...doing the Pacific Coast from Vancouver BC, and the
Alaskan Hwy beginning from Fairbanks. I had a fellow from work ride with me even though I had
a lot of apprehension because we had vastly different lifestyles and attitudes. I couldn't have asked
for a better riding companion. He did his very best to make it work, as did I, and we both thoroughly
enjoyed those adventures. It bodes well when, after nearly 20 years, we both talk favourably about
those trips, and even about the possibility of doing another together.
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Old 04-18-17, 03:24 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
It looks like I may be facing a similar situation if I go this summer.

I did it in Greece when I was about 21. Now I look back on it and think I was nuts, but absolutely nothing bad happened.

My usual touring partner is an ER doc, which is ideal in many ways (but fortunately I never had to make use of his skills).

I'm more worried about having my bike ripped off if I go into a shop or something like that. My wife, however, is really opposed to me doing this.

I've done six short (2-3 week) tours. All have been solo. Although my wife is getting a little used to it, she still doesn't like it much. Of course, none of my rides have been "off the grid" so to speak. Always someone to come along, even if it's several minutes between passing vehicles. See how she reacts if you mention you have found a touring partner, but it's a female. She will probably warm-up to the solo thing.
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Old 04-18-17, 11:04 AM
  #50  
Squeezebox
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So back to the idea of the Great Divide solo. Yes it is a remote area. But is there enough bicycle traffic, or other, to get out of a tight spot should a problem arise? I'm thinking a severe mechanical problem is more likely than a severe medical problem. More likely to break a derailleur than an arm or leg. I do understand the point of travel in a pack of 3. But necessary? I would seriously consider a spot if doing it alone.
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