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Old style touring.

Old 09-30-17, 04:42 PM
  #1  
antokelly
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Old style touring.

So any of you guys ever think to hell with this planning and gadget stuff like phones satnav and just pack a few panniers and hit the road.

take a look at this video .

Last edited by antokelly; 09-30-17 at 05:00 PM.
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Old 09-30-17, 05:37 PM
  #2  
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All the new gadgets, allow for far less planning than old style touring.
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Old 09-30-17, 06:01 PM
  #3  
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Yeah, my buddies call me "retrogrouch." I don't carry any spare batteries when I tour, not even one charger.

One of my greatest pleasures on a bike tour is getting away from the phone, and I just can't imagine carrying one with me.

Another of my great pleasures is not knowing what's ahead of me, and making decisions on the fly and see what happens.

There are plenty of free internet computers in libraries in this country, sometimes twice a day.

The only "new gadgets" I carry are LED lights, which I think are the best revolution in bike technology in my lifetime. LED lights allow me to go on tour (in a developed country) with no spare batteries, with 100+ hr battery life.

Toe straps and running shoes, multi-purpose clothing, 21 speed steel frame bike, all pretty retro.
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Old 09-30-17, 06:02 PM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
All the new gadgets, allow for far less planning than old style touring.
I think that really depends on the individual, not the technology. Some people spend months planning others hours.
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Old 09-30-17, 07:16 PM
  #5  
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The infrastructure has changed a lot since the 1970's. Road maps are not easily found locally as they once were. I remember when leaving any town there were signs that pointed the way to each connecting town. Nowadays the signs only direct you to the interstate highways and cities.

Sure you can load up 3-5 pounds of paper maps and guides but the simplicity of a world-wide electronic map on a 5-ounce phone really creates a freeing experience and allows one to truly wander the world.

On my last tour I didn't follow a planned route. Each day or so I decide where to head next and use my phone to sketch a route. I'll be doing more of tours this way in the future.

BTW: There aren't phone booths on every corner either.

Last edited by BigAura; 09-30-17 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 09-30-17, 07:36 PM
  #6  
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I believe that technology has taken a lot of the adventure out of bike touring. This is coming from a guy that started touring before bike computers, mapmyride,and ACA maps. However, I do appreciate having access to AccuWeather and mapping featues. I also like my bike computer which keeps me from having to estimate distance ridden from those old obsolete paper maps
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Old 09-30-17, 09:10 PM
  #7  
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I travel a lot. Only recently has it been on a bike, but that doesn't affect my opinion.

There is a certain charm to stumbling across things, but I will never shun information that can guide me to good times in favor of hoping I just happen to go down the right road to discover it on my own. I know as a 31 year old my perspective may be different than a 60 year olds who spent the majority of their life without such aides, but especially with limited time I've never been upset at having knowledge at my fingertip.
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Old 09-30-17, 09:42 PM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
old style touring.
sorry, must have missed the memo while out touring.

there's a new style you say?
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Old 09-30-17, 09:50 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
The infrastructure has changed a lot since the 1970's. .....There aren't phone booths on every corner either.
in thailand, they are known as "terrariums"...
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Old 09-30-17, 11:56 PM
  #10  
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Spent years of my life traveling, have been to dozens of different countries, and never have brought any tech aside from an mp3 player and small camera. While I may use the occasional hostel computer to check in with friends or family or hit up a potential Couchsurfing host, low/no tech definitely adds an element of adventure that simply wouldn't be there if I were "connected" all the time.

Also, that video looks interesting, but I can't understand a damn word that guy is saying.
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Old 10-01-17, 12:00 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
I travel a lot. Only recently has it been on a bike, but that doesn't affect my opinion.

There is a certain charm to stumbling across things, but I will never shun information that can guide me to good times in favor of hoping I just happen to go down the right road to discover it on my own. I know as a 31 year old my perspective may be different than a 60 year olds who spent the majority of their life without such aides, but especially with limited time I've never been upset at having knowledge at my fingertip.
One of the problems with our current information stream is that it is incomplete and inaccurate but gives the illusion of being both complete and accurate. I have had fantastic days riding on roads that simply aren't shown on any on-line maps or that are shown as dead-ends on those maps. If I had relied on on-line sources instead of intuition, observation and deduction (if there are pick-up tracks, the road has to go somewhere, and in some settings that somewhere almost has to be "through"), I wouldn't have ventured off the beaten track. Alas, this likely means that us old-timers will be a dying breed and those charming dirt roads will be less and less ridden as time goes on as those who replace us rely exclusively on electronic maps.

That said, I did happen upon a small group of twenty-something-year-old riders a couple of years back while on my way home. They had gotten lost on their four-day outing, but were riding with just an orally given description of the route they wanted to take. I got them back onto a course that took them to their desired ending place for the night. They ended up with a trip of almost the exact same distance, just a different fork of one of the rivers. I also gave them my "map" of the area, which was actually just a printed photograph of a large BLM sign that had a partial road map of the area which I happened to have in my bag. Trips like they were on don't make for bucket list rides, but they are the sort I have always loved.
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Old 10-01-17, 02:12 AM
  #12  
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google maps sez these are paved national highways:
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Old 10-01-17, 09:03 AM
  #13  
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After my tours of Europe, where I bought them, I have a nice collection of Paper Maps..
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Old 10-01-17, 10:14 AM
  #14  
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I have traveled with paper maps all over Europe and never had any trouble as most of them had clearly marked bike paths. Up in Idaho, I use Avenza where I can use the GPS feature on my phone and see where I am using Forestry and National Parks maps. In my 70s it seems to be easier to get lost. Ha ha
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Old 10-01-17, 10:34 AM
  #15  
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I think it's all in how you use any technology.

I like having modern resources to look at various locations, ask questions and plan trips etc... but when actually on the road I generally keep the cell phone off and go by crude line maps I've drawn out beforehand based on that research. Others may mount a phone or gps to the bars and consult constantly but I really don't feel I need that.. so far; and limited cell reception makes it a pretty good practice to adopt. Different conditions may dictate different techniques.

One could say modern gps/e mapping has allowed the bike packing genre to grow, mostly carried out by younger riders. Some of them are doing some pretty sketchy stuff with modern technology.
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Old 10-01-17, 12:21 PM
  #16  
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i toured with a lad from the UK he only used maps no phone or gps never got lost yet but he's very experienced saying that.
ME i'd get lost in a carpark so my way out is ask a local for directions or best place to eat and camp.
anyhow good to know old style still lives on.
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Old 10-01-17, 01:23 PM
  #17  
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Interesting topic.

I've never used a GPS device until this year and I do find it handy in 2 situations
1. In urban areas - very handy to get in and out.
2. Following the knooppunts here in Holland. Sometimes they are not the easiest to find, are moved by kids, hidden by parked vans. Some provinces use signs at head height, others bollards at knee height, often on the opposite side of the road. Rather than stopping at every junction I can roll through with confidence.

I got the GPS because my next tour will be outside of Europe and the distances and bike facilities will be a lot less. In case of emergency, I'll be planning that the GPS will get me to where I need to be.

However, no matter what planning I have done in advance, I pretty much always improvise on the road, depending on what I want to do and the conditions.

I do recall a couple of years ago meeting a Dutch cyclist coming back from Rome. It was on the Vennbahn, a converted railtrack from Aachen in Germany down to Luxembourg.
I had just put some new wheels on the bike and was on a shakedown ride for the weekend. On Sunday morning, I was stopped at a picnic table having my morning coffee and porridge when this guy rolled up.
He stopped in the middle of the path and called out to me. Happy to chat, I wandered over and he asked me if I knew where such and such a town was. I told him if he continued along the route he'd see a sign for the town. It would be no more than a few kms off the route.
He was not happy because his GPS was telling him to go right, off the cycle track.
I explained that there were several roads in the area, linking the villages and regularly criss-crossing the old line. I also pointed out that the cycle path was up high, but the towns were all downhill, meaning if he went down, he'd need to cycle back up later!

He demanded my maps from me and was not amused when I told him I had none. I didn't need them. I was following a cycle path. He couldn't understand the concept, especially when I added that I had no gps.

He then took out his own maps looking for the town. I pointed it out and showed how following the Vennbahn was the easiest way. But his GPS was saying otherwise.

I askeed him what was so important about this particular town. They had a campsite was the answer. "Sure there's loads of campsites" I told him, only to get a reply through clenched teeth that he had a reservation and had to be there by 17:00.

He stood there stamping his feet, swearing in Dutch so I went back to my coffee wondering how he had ever made it back from Italy.

Of course, when he set off, he took the road, not the cycle path. Since we were both heading in the same direction, I saw him 3 or 4 times that day, always at a point where the roads intersected the cycle path. Every time I waved and every time he seemed less than happy.

I would find no enjoyment in his way of touring, being a slave to pre-made plans. I'm sure he'd hate my way of touring too.

I know I've missed out on some interesting places close to where I was simply because I had not done enough research in advance. Mind you, I've been to some fantastic places and met some wonderful people simply by being in the wrong place at the right time!

As in riding the bike, it's all about the balance!

Frank
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Old 10-01-17, 02:55 PM
  #18  
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So what is the status quo for cycling gps? Garmin? Wahoo? A handheld affixed to the bar? I want to get the InReach Explorer, but I'm not fond of the idea of getting it and then not liking it $400 later. Its so confusing.
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Old 10-01-17, 03:37 PM
  #19  
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Hah Ha brilliant Frank great when you meet someone like that you give them your advice and they totally ignore every word lol.
ah well leave them at it.
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Old 10-01-17, 06:04 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
So what is the status quo for cycling gps? Garmin? Wahoo? A handheld affixed to the bar? I want to get the InReach Explorer, but I'm not fond of the idea of getting it and then not liking it $400 later. Its so confusing.
I run a Garmin 520, but that's mostly because it was on sale and came with the heart rate monitor and all that stuff. I'd use it as a quick sanity/spot check against paper maps if I was to use it as a navigation tool. I think the newer ones have removable storage, so you could probably drop USGS topo etc. on em if you wanted.
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Old 10-01-17, 08:46 PM
  #21  
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What about the people who use technology and paper maps? We use both on big trips and still manage to get lost, have adventures, get caught in unexpected situations, and generally have a good time. The maps come in handy to create a high-level plan for a region while the mapping app on my phone helps see where we're at, find grocery stores and campgrounds, and communicate with the outside world. I take pleasure in writing about the day and posting it online with some photos.

While I understand the desire to escape technology on a bike tour, I don't understand the argument that it provides some sort of purer experience.
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Old 10-01-17, 09:58 PM
  #22  
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I like to keep my logistics to a minimum. That means not having to be concerned with recharging devices, making sure I have connections, and all that. Just give me a map and I'm good. I have recently started carrying a cell phone on tour, but I keep it turned off most of the time and mainly have it just for emergencies. However, I will power up at the end of the day to text my wife and email photos to friends if I'm someplace where I can tap into the wifi. I did try to use it for navigation on a recent tour through Poland, but gave up when it kept trying to tell me to turn right when there was absolutely nothing there to turn right onto. My paper map of Poland took me right where I needed to be, and even provided a few additional options.

One of my primary touring partners loves every gadget that comes down the line. We just returned from a tour through several European countries. Below is a true experience, one example of many similar:
(As we approach a T-intersection while following a EuroVelo route
Him: Let's stop and check which way we turn.
Me: We turn left here.
Him: Let's seeeeee (pulls out cell phone and powers up)
Me: We turn left here.
Him: (couple of minutes jiggling with the buttons on his phone) Okay, I've got a connection.
Me: We turn left here. (Me pointing over his right shoulder) Right there is a sign pointing left as the way to the town where we're going.
Him: I've got the map up. We are here (points to map on his phone.)
Me: We turn left here. Look over there. (Me pointing to a sign to our left) There's the Eurovelo route sign to our left.
Him: Ooookay.....it's showing the town we want over here, looks like to our left.
Me: That's because we are supposed to turn left here....you know, like the signs say.
Him: We need to go that way (he points left).
Me: Good call.
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Old 10-02-17, 03:09 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree;19899053[B
]One of the problems with our current information stream is that it is incomplete and inaccurate but gives the illusion of being both complete and accurate. I have had fantastic days riding on roads that simply aren't shown on any on-line maps or that are shown as dead-ends on those maps.[/B] If I had relied on on-line sources instead of intuition, observation and deduction (if there are pick-up tracks, the road has to go somewhere, and in some settings that somewhere almost has to be "through"), I wouldn't have ventured off the beaten track. Alas, this likely means that us old-timers will be a dying breed and those charming dirt roads will be less and less ridden as time goes on as those who replace us rely exclusively on electronic maps.

That said, I did happen upon a small group of twenty-something-year-old riders a couple of years back while on my way home. They had gotten lost on their four-day outing, but were riding with just an orally given description of the route they wanted to take. I got them back onto a course that took them to their desired ending place for the night. They ended up with a trip of almost the exact same distance, just a different fork of one of the rivers. I also gave them my "map" of the area, which was actually just a printed photograph of a large BLM sign that had a partial road map of the area which I happened to have in my bag. Trips like they were on don't make for bucket list rides, but they are the sort I have always loved.
Did you in fact try every online map or just googled it and called it a day? Because there are a lot of online maps out there. Where I live certain free online maps are actually the most accurate out there since they are THE government provided official topographical maps and most up to date there is. This varies of course on where you are, but there are still a lot of online maps and a lot of them are accurate. We had really good luck with Open street maps in Europe. During 3 months of touring we had two instances where the map was inaccurate (one was a campsite which was no longer open due to a recent flood and one was a bridge which was no longer in use, but we still crossed it)

On another subject, do people really use computed routes with a GPS device? Those routes almost never work since they as of yet do not have good enough algorithms for bicycle use. For car use they are usually pretty neat since Google Maps actually evaluates the traffic situation and gives you the fastest route even if it is a little weird at first. But it's absolutely no use for bicycles.

What many here seem to fail realize is that it's not the technology, it's the people using the technology. A paper map is technology and can be misused just as efficiently as an electronic map can. Some people cannot read maps since it actually takes some training to use maps properly. I'm pretty good at it since I'm military trained to navigate using a compass and a map in areas with no roads etc. but most people do not have this kind of experience. Some may have experience in the boy scouts or hiking or whatever but there are still people who set out with no knowledge on how to use a MAP and they would be just as SOL with a paper map as they are with a GPS device. Paper maps are not some sort of salvation or inherently better.

But it needs to be kept in mind that a map that is on a screen is still a map and needs to be used as a map. What the GPS brings to the equation is much faster locating and real time road following. But the route still needs to be manually planned, decisions still need to be made and it's up to the user to make those decisions. It comes from general navigation experience whether those decisions are good or not.

I also would not consider battery power to be an issue these days since charging can be very easily managed through a variety of methods, many of which do not cost much in terms of weight or money. But carrying three or more months worth of accurate paper maps would probably require a separate trailer as well as thousands of dollars in map cost.
Our setup consists of two 20 000mAh battery packs, two smart phones (one for each) with two different navigation software, (I prefer Locus Maps) and a Garmin Glo bluetooth GPS device which boosts smart phone energy efficiency by 50% or more. When you put on the GPS on a smartphone you essentially halve the battery life. By having a separate device makes life much easier since the GPS capabilities of the smartphone still work.
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Old 10-02-17, 05:15 AM
  #24  
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Some countries are very beautiful and unspoiled. In such places I would just have a list places I wanted to see and not bother using anything beyond paper maps or even just a compass. I have hitch hiked all over the world like that.

I live in Japan which is one of the ugliest places on Earth. I plan everything to the last detail to avoid as much ugliness as possible. Using GPS makes my trips more fun. So I would be stupid not to.
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Old 10-02-17, 05:50 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by elcruxio View Post
But carrying three or more months worth of accurate paper maps would probably require a separate trailer as well as thousands of dollars in map cost.
The members of our small group each carried 3 months of paper maps crossing the country. ACA's Northern Tier route. I had two additional maps for its Atlantic Coast route because I was planning to (and did) ride home after the tour ended in ME. Once I was done with maps I mailed them home. No separate trailer or thousands of dollars were required.
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