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Finding tour partners

Old 09-29-18, 04:03 PM
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Finding tour partners

I was reading the Adventure Cycling. ads about people looking for a ride partner. Has anyone on the forum found a multi-day tour partner on AC or another site? Did it work well or were there problems? I am sure it is a personal experience but if you are willing to share, it would be interesting to learn if it is a good approach to find a partner.
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Old 09-29-18, 04:26 PM
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My advice is unless you know the person and have spent time with them tour alone.

If you ever do tour with someone,. have an agreement and be prepared to go your own way at any time.
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Old 09-30-18, 06:07 AM
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I have used it twice.

First time I posted my trip from Amsterdam to Vladivostok with motivation that since I was going to spend almost half a year in country where I'd learned basics of the language, but wasn't fluent, it might be nice to do parts with someone else. I got ~15 replies and shared with them web site under development and general ideas I was thinking about. After that first contact, ~5 further more detailed conversations. For a variety of reasons, it mostly settled to one cyclist, Mickey.

After more detailed back and forth including phone call, we agreed on plan to meet in St Petersburg after my Russian brush-up class. We each had ability to cycle by ourselves (and did for a 11 day stretch in the Urals where we accidentally lost each other). We discovered differences in style, riding speed but also adapted way to make it work for us. This was mostly camping in same spots but riding leapfrogging and meeting a few points in the day. Overall that worked well enough and glad I did it this way rather than 100% solo.

Second time I posted my trip from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia. I got ~50 replies of potential interest though not as many of the entire distance. I posted a fair amount in advance so that also contributed. As it turned out through combination of these forums and my posting, I did sync with someone already planning the same trip. We agreed to meet in PB and start the same day.

As it turned out, it was a cold snowy day. We departed same time but combination of construction zones, differences in speeds and need to keep moving for warmth meant I arrived at rendezvous point and he stopped short by some kilometers. We did sync in Coldfoot where I took a rest day after four riding days and he reached in five days. However we didn't end up touring together. As our trips unfolded we checked each other's instagram / blog and were in periodic contact.

Over course of that 18 month trip, I did have some segments of riding with others: ~6 weeks in Central America, ~3-4 weeks in Colombia with my brother and the last ~5 weeks to Ushuaia. I enjoyed all of those point for variety in cycling, inter-personal interactions and support in a few tough areas. The rest of the trip was solo.

From my experience on some long multi-month trips: (1) it can work (2) you want to be clear up front on expectations (3) anticipate some differences in style and either be flexible enough to adapt or have a plan that lets you travel independently.
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Old 09-30-18, 07:53 AM
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I have tried this a few times with people I donít know. Being that I am a slower rider,the others always become frustrated and we only see each other at end of the day if at all.

I have come to the conclusion I am incapable of riding with others and donít even attempt it anymore. Your results may be different but what happens to me is I canít go faster and others canít slow down, so it just endless frustration for all.

The other thing I noticed when riding with others is there is less interaction with locals. When alone I seek conversation with locals, when with others the tendency is to talk to each other.

Last edited by Baboo; 09-30-18 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 09-30-18, 08:20 AM
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I once went on a tour with a stranger who answered my ad in a local bike club newsletter. We flew to the other side of the world and had a great time. There was some friction between us, but we ended on good terms and subsequently went on 2 more trips together.

I answered another cyclist's ad in the same club's newsletter. He was seeking touring advice rather than a touring partner. We started riding together and became friends. A few years later, we went on our first tour together and have been on many more since then.

I found another touring partner through an ad. We rode together for 2 or 3 weeks and then split up without bitterness.

I've had pretty good luck finding touring partners on the road, sometimes in very out-of-the-way places. I can recall one cyclist, however, who I met on the road and who started annoying me within a few minutes.
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Old 09-30-18, 06:11 PM
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I have found a number of touring friends on crazyguyonabike. I"m a slow rider, so I post the expectation in the ad that we ride our own ride during the day and meet up at night to compare notes and eat dinner. It's company without being forced to depart on someone else's schedule or ride at their pace. This works well for me.
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Old 10-01-18, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker
My advice is unless you know the person and have spent time with them tour alone.

If you ever do tour with someone,. have an agreement and be prepared to go your own way at any time.
+100. Make sure you are self-sufficient in the sense that you can cut ties and still survive on your own. (E.g., Don't have one tent or stove to share unless they are yours to take with.)
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Old 10-01-18, 07:45 PM
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I agreed to meet two strangers in Anchorage via the Adventure Cycling website, a lady from Switzerland and a man from Australia. I thought I could get along with anyone, but I found out I was wrong. The guy was kinda obnoxious in a good natured way, but the woman, who planned the route, was very rigid and insistent on the three of us riding together, stopping together, and of course, camping together. Being ready to depart as a group at the appointed time each morning was very important to her. She got annoyed if I rode too far ahead and double annoyed if I followed to closely behind her. She said she was afraid I would run into her. For some reason, each of us riding at our own pace and meeting at the agreed upon camp each night was an unacceptable option. After 500 miles I'd had enough and went my own way.
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Old 10-01-18, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Kelly I
, so I post the expectation in the ad that we ride our own ride during the day and meet up at night to compare notes and eat dinner..
thats the only set up that regularly works. The chances a stranger natches your pace and conversation habits and interests is very small.
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Old 10-02-18, 01:11 PM
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Hell, even my best friend(of 20+yrs) and I tend to end up with a small gap between us during the day. You just meet up in the end. As long as itís communicated, it should be all good.
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Old 10-02-18, 02:11 PM
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[QUOTE=DeadGrandpa;20595520]I agreed to meet two strangers in Anchorage via the Adventure Cycling website, a lady from Switzerland and a man from Australia. I thought I could get along with anyone, but I found out I was wrong.....QUOTE]
Nice to hear a real world story confirming what I always believed after my first tour, which was an unsupported ACA tour across the country. Twelve participants and the leader thrown together. There were two participants I seriously could have done without, including a bigoted alcoholic. We eventually had the leader "fired" and replaced in Red Wing, MN. There were times when I considered dropping out and finishing on my own, but I stuck with it, in part because I became good chums with another participant and our new leader was great. (He couldn't finish the tour so a third took over and also did a great job. He's actually a BF member who has posted in this forum.) Also, unsupported touring was all new to me, and we shared cooking gear and a repair kit. I would have had to somehow acquire all that stuff on my own mid-tour. Finally, I would have lost some of the money I paid. After the trip ended in Bar Harbor, ME, I started riding home to Philly solo. While I missed the great times with my chum and some of the other participants, I was also so happy to be on my own.
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Old 10-02-18, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
(E.g., Don't have one tent or stove to share unless they are yours to take with.)
Even then, I'd feel pretty bad leaving someone else sans tent or stove in the middle of a trip.
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Old 10-11-18, 10:14 AM
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[QUOTE=indyfabz;20596770]
Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa
I agreed to meet two strangers in Anchorage via the Adventure Cycling website, a lady from Switzerland and a man from Australia. I thought I could get along with anyone, but I found out I was wrong.....QUOTE]
Nice to hear a real world story confirming what I always believed after my first tour, which was an unsupported ACA tour across the country. Twelve participants and the leader thrown together. There were two participants I seriously could have done without, including a bigoted alcoholic. We eventually had the leader "fired" and replaced in Red Wing, MN. There were times when I considered dropping out and finishing on my own, but I stuck with it, in part because I became good chums with another participant and our new leader was great. (He couldn't finish the tour so a third took over and also did a great job. He's actually a BF member who has posted in this forum.) Also, unsupported touring was all new to me, and we shared cooking gear and a repair kit. I would have had to somehow acquire all that stuff on my own mid-tour. Finally, I would have lost some of the money I paid. After the trip ended in Bar Harbor, ME, I started riding home to Philly solo. While I missed the great times with my chum and some of the other participants, I was also so happy to be on my own.
I was wondering how those tours went. Group dynamics are everything. So far my tours have been a week or less, and solo. I've been through some pretty hard times in my life, but I'm always a gentleman. I try to stay clear of possible friction with other folks.
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Old 10-11-18, 10:55 AM
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[QUOTE=NoControl;20611303]
Originally Posted by indyfabz

I was wondering how those tours went. Group dynamics are everything. So far my tours have been a week or less, and solo. I've been through some pretty hard times in my life, but I'm always a gentleman. I try to stay clear of possible friction with other folks.
I also try to be as accommodating as possible. On our last day of biking together in Alaska, I was all packed up, ready to go, ten minutes to spare. The Australian guy asked me if I could boil water for coffee, so I said, "Sure," since he was short on fuel. We were twenty minutes late leaving, although nothing was preventing Her Highness from leaving without us. When she lectured me that evening about how I should get up earlier to be on time, I protested that, "I was actually ready this morning, when Andrew asked me to fix him some coffee." Her reply was "It's not your responsibility to prepare coffee for Andrew." I conduct myself as a gentleman at all times, so rather than cause further conflicts, I announced that due to saddle sores, I would be heading back to Anchorage in the morning, and wished them good luck.

Two years before, I was riding the Natchez Trace. I met Pierre from Montreal at the first water stop south of Nashville. We agreed to camp and eat together, but it was obvious his pace was a mile per hour faster than mine, as he was half my age. Or his bike was lighter, or whatever. We simply agreed to meet periodically to make lunch or camp for the night, and we got along great. We shared motel rooms, food, water, everything. We are still friends, despite our different backgrounds, lifestyles and political views. We both realized that we were sharing a fantastic experience on bicycles, so we had zero conflicts.
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Old 10-11-18, 11:10 AM
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Hundreds of people all going the same way , Southbound on the Pacific Coast
find people to ride with by meeting them Enroute..

I toured several trips to Europe, & British Isles, Solo.. It was fun.
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Old 10-11-18, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by NoControl
I was wondering how those tours went. Group dynamics are everything.
I believe our experience was an anomaly. At least I hope it was. In addition to the bigoted alcoholic, there was a crotchety man who never wanted to pull his group weight. Each day a pair of people were required to shop for dinner fixings (and prepare dinner) and stuff for breakfast and lunch the following day. The rest of use were supposed to help carry groceries if the source was not close to camp. In such cases, when the shoppers emerged this guy would run over to the carts and grab the lightest things he could get his hands on. I am talking stuff like nacho chips and Triscuits for snacks or bread for sandwiches. This did not go unnoticed by the rest of the group. It actually became a source of amusement. A couple of us would make it a point to see what he would grab from the carts. I learned one day that he had complained to the leader that I and another participant who needed bike repairs left the group one day to go off route to a town with a LBS. He was upset that we didn't carry groceries that day. (but he was happy to share in the 30 pack of beer we brought back from town.) When I found out the next day I reminded him that, on the third day of the trip, I had volunteered to accompany the two shopper/cookers that day on a 16 mile round trip run from camp for groceries. The three of us brought back everything with no help from anyone else.

Also part of the shopping/meal duties was to wash the group cookware. Whenever it was this guy's turn he would try to get out of dishwashing duties, leaving his partner to do all the work. Several times he picked up a bag of group trash, tossed it in the dumpster or whatever and then slinked off to hit the road, as if he had done his fair share. When that would happen, the rest of us would help the partner he had deserted. His actions affected most of group because if you were carrying group cookware, you couldn't hit the road until it was clean and you could pack it. I carried a large pot that was usually used to heat water for washing things like the cutting boards and knife that were used to make sandwiches for lunch. One day dude snuck off without helping with the dishes. When the rest of us had chipped in and I could final hit the road, I chased him down and gave him a good piece of my mind.

One thing that didn't help is that our original leader was less than stellar, to put it nicely. He caused a lot of problems and occasionally fomented conflict between people. It's my understanding that he was a substitute after the first two people who were supposed to lead the tour dropped out. As noted, we had him replaced. ACA was fabulous in responding to our issues with him.
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Old 10-14-18, 01:05 AM
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I've toured with found-online partners twice, and split mid trip both times. First time was because they were too slow. Second time was because they were intolerable (probably Asperger's).

My advice is to tour alone or with someone you already know.
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