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Shortest Multi-Day Tour

Old 11-09-18, 06:45 PM
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blowboat
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Shortest Multi-Day Tour

OK, so I am totally new to bicycle touring. I have spent the last year reading, searching the web, and watching videos on anything related to touring. This fall I did a cross state supported ride but planning my first self-supported ride for 2019. I've a couple of options that I am excited about, but one in particular brought what I thought was an interesting question.

What is your shortest (mileage wise) multi-day tour?

I just started looking at an area in Western North Carolina (that we used to visit years ago) that I believe would be absolutely beautiful. Giving the locations of some places I wanted to camp, locations of mountains, lakes, and rivers, and the ways the roads go, the possible route is pretty simple...not many options. Anyway, the way it might shape up would be three days on the road (with two nights camping)...with a whopping total of 94 miles. Of course, I suppose the 31 miles a day average is offset by the 8,000 total feet of climbing.

I know the length of the ride isn't important and I'm really not concerned...but curious what other people's shortest multi-day tour looked like.
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Old 11-09-18, 08:21 PM
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My first tour was similar to your plan ... 102 miles and two nights. Be prepared to get hooked.

Edit: I rode to Zion National park, rode inside the park the second day and returned the third. Camped.

Last edited by CreakingCrank; 11-09-18 at 08:28 PM.
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Old 11-09-18, 09:07 PM
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Mine would be about the same. Maybe 100 miles on between days 1 and 3 with 2 being spent in Letchworth State Park. It was 1973 and I was a junior in high school. I didn't know what I didn't know back then. Andy
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Old 11-09-18, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
I didn't know what I didn't know...
Not necessarily a bad way to begin. It's possible to overthink things and scare yourself out of trying something. Once you get out of sight of home with the intention of returning on a later day, you are touring. The miles almost don't matter.
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Old 11-10-18, 08:42 AM
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My go-to long weekend getaway is about 2 miles to a train then 54 miles to a NJ state forest on Friday. On Saturday I will ride maybe 35 round trip to a nice, free zoo and for dinner and breakfast groceries. Sunday I will ride to the coast and then north to Atlantic City to catch a train home. IIRC, that's about 35 miles. Then another 2 miles home.
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Old 11-10-18, 08:45 AM
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+1 for everything said so far.

What I call "tours" these days are what many other people on these forums consider a "quick ride to the coffee shop." Each summer, I take two such tours: One is about 30 miles, the other is around 50. Both involve ferries and trains and both are squeezed into two days - one for riding, the other for traveling back by land and sea. The fifty mile trip is one that I can do in as little as 12 or 13 miles, ending up in one of my favorite little towns on earth, but I stretch it to 50 just to spend more time soaking up the summer breeze. The 30-mile trip, which leaves from my front door, is very hilly and feels like 50.

My one and only week-long tour, which was in the early 2000's (when I had time for such a thing), took in 70-80 miles some days and 25 miles other days. Hills, weather, and sights to see along the way have a significant bearing on how far you might want to travel each day. The most important thing is that you plan your trip to suit your own desires and physical capabilities, rather than try to live up to any theoretical average mileage or speed. But to answer your question, I think 30 miles is a good minimum mileage for a day, especially if there are hills involved. It's just enough to feel like you've accomplished something and not enough to keep you from counting the days until your NEXT tour.
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Old 11-10-18, 12:10 PM
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Among the shortest multi-day tours are weekend "getaways" where you stay in the same B&B or hotel and do out-and-back rides. Suppose you have 2 riding days and the planned rides are around 35 miles each: you'd total 70. However, since you're coming back to the same place each time, you have the option to skip either or both days, so in principle you could do zero miles on a multi-day tour (if you're going for a "least mileage" record).
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Old 11-10-18, 01:06 PM
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I did a lot of day tours , before loading up and not coming home,

at the end of the day..


I'd already done , Boy Scouts, backpack camping ,
so just combined the 2.

Roughly, 10 mph for 6 hours ,
then got up the next morning and did it again.

If I found interesting stuff along the way , I did not go so far,
by the end of the day..





....

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Old 11-10-18, 05:34 PM
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doing the internet thing is one thing, but gettting out on a bike that weighs more than normal and all is a bit different, I would say that planning your 50km 30 miles a day is a great intro to teh whole thing.
You wont be totoally bagged at teh end of the day, and its all totally doable.

first day tends to be ok, even if longer, but second or third is often stiff and all that, so taking it easy as an intro is a fun way to see how you like this whole travelling by bike thing.

all the best, and frankly, i think its very smart to do shortish days at first. I finally figured this out after a few tours and realized that even in my mid 20s, short first days is really the best way to do.

have fun, thats the main thing.
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Old 11-10-18, 10:00 PM
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For a beginner tour in the hills 30 miles/day seems quite reasonable, it could be more taxing than 60 miles in flattish area.
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Old 11-12-18, 12:33 PM
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What a great thread for any readers contemplating their first tour. It shows one doesn't need to cross a continent to have an epic tour. In fact, shorter tours allow you to target feature-rich areas, getting more bang per day than longer tours.
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Old 11-12-18, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CreakingCrank View Post
In fact, shorter tours allow you to target feature-rich areas, getting more bang per day than longer tours.
Also, some short days during a tour helps give you time to explore and are with more depth. I will likely go back to MT and ID next June to reprise some of a two-week trip I did in 2017, although with some changes.. Among the changes is a short day that will afford me time to set up camp and ride unloaded to visit a scenic area that is home to 1,000 year old cedars. In 2017 I had to skip it in order to reach my destination with a better chance of getting a campsite. The day before that will also be relatively short, with the afternoon/night spent at a scenic lakeside camping area in a quiet little town off a main highway. I stopped there last tear for a snack and to look for groceries. The place was so inviting that I almost stayed. They day before that will be mountainous, so it will be nice to have something relatively easy to rest the legs.
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Old 11-12-18, 12:58 PM
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I was counseled starting out that if you just want to roll up the mileage, don't tour. Ride long loops from your home!

It was suggested that if one rides more than ~ 40 miles/ 65 km a day that people, culture, points of interest, nature and serendipitous events are being missed. Not wrong per se, but a choice made.

"A bicycle isn't for going. A bicycle is for stopping." Tom Vernon

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Old 11-12-18, 05:36 PM
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>>>> "A bicycle isn't for going. A bicycle is for stopping." Tom Vernon <<<<

I like that one. Are YOU Tom Vernon, and may I use that quote sometime?
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Old 11-12-18, 05:58 PM
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The late Tom Vernon was the "Fat Man on a Bicycle".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Vernon

Mr. Vernon was the white wizard when it came to stopping to see/do something interesting as he cycletoured:


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Old 11-13-18, 09:07 AM
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I've done a couple <55 mile to a local campground and back "tours".

Go do what you enjoy, don't worry about comparing it to others. There are numerous bike and barge outfits in Europe that offer weeklong "tours" in which one can ride under 20 miles a day if they prefer. There are folks here who don't find it to be a tour if they aren't riding a century a day, I don't personally enjoy more than 60 or so miles in a day.
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Old 11-13-18, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by blowboat View Post
OK, so I am totally new to bicycle touring. I have spent the last year reading, searching the web, and watching videos on anything related to touring. This fall I did a cross state supported ride but planning my first self-supported ride for 2019. I've a couple of options that I am excited about, but one in particular brought what I thought was an interesting question.

What is your shortest (mileage wise) multi-day tour?

I just started looking at an area in Western North Carolina (that we used to visit years ago) that I believe would be absolutely beautiful. Giving the locations of some places I wanted to camp, locations of mountains, lakes, and rivers, and the ways the roads go, the possible route is pretty simple...not many options. Anyway, the way it might shape up would be three days on the road (with two nights camping)...with a whopping total of 94 miles. Of course, I suppose the 31 miles a day average is offset by the 8,000 total feet of climbing.

I know the length of the ride isn't important and I'm really not concerned...but curious what other people's shortest multi-day tour looked like.
63 miles, 3 days. No pictures because I lost my camera at the end of the ride...damn it!

Slightly more ambitious: 160 mile in 4 days. I actually have pictures of that one

Cathedral Rocks


DSCN1107 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Going up Shelf Road the wrong way (downhill is much better)


DSCN1197 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

What "Shelf Road" is named for. This part of the road tends to freak 4x4 people out. I don't know why


DSCN1209 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Window Rock. The road goes to 18% grade right here. Nasty climb


DSCN1241 by Stuart Black, on Flickr

Just to be clear, the mileage for both of these may have been short but the route does some serious butt whoopin'
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Old 11-13-18, 09:49 AM
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My shortest tour with an overnight, I think, was the first 'tour' I did with my daughter. She was eight or nine at the time. We took a train about 25 miles, rode 30, overnighted, and rode 45 miles home. Our overnight was in the field behind our neighbor's son's house, and our neighbor was babysitting there that night, so she took our tent and sleeping gear in her car, and brought it back the next day. That worked out pretty easily for us, and I thought it was a neat way to introduce my daughter to bike touring.

By myself I've done several three day tours, and they tend to be a higher mileage, but you can do it any way that works for you.
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Old 11-13-18, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by blowboat View Post
What is your shortest (mileage wise) multi-day tour?
75mi over 2 days with my oldest daughter who was 10 at the time. An out and back to a campground that was almost all on paved bike trails with some side road mixed in.

- relatively flat since much was on a rail trail.
- relatively short since she was 10.
- all planned out including places to stop along the way for ice cream, playgrounds, dinner, and breakfast.

Its an adventure- no matter if you are 5 for 55.




ETA- just realized my shortest was actually a couple years prior. Took my then 8yo and 4yo on an overnight bike camping weekend. Drove 50mi, rode 20mi, then did the reverse the next day. So I guess 40 miles over 2 days is the shortest one!

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Old 11-13-18, 11:05 AM
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Thanks for all the replies and stories...love them!
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Old 11-13-18, 11:34 AM
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#19 reminded me that I also did an overnight . About 12 miles each way to a place outside city limits. Stealth camped hoping to get a better view of a meteor shower. Still too much ambient light to make for great viewing, but I was treated the screaming of a fox not long after I pitched the tent.
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Old 11-13-18, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I was treated the screaming of a fox not long after I pitched the tent.
Cant say I would recognize that scream if I heard it.
Huh- never thought about what it sounds like.

...and now I have that horrible Euro mock-song about what a fox says stuck in my head.
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Old 11-13-18, 01:16 PM
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I can think of a couple people who went on multiple week tours without ever leaving their mother’s basement. My shortest is about 100 miles round trip overnight from home to Harpers Ferry.
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Old 11-13-18, 01:33 PM
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A S 240 as Grant Peterson calls it. Sub 24 hrs ( or so) Roll out from your driveway. Pedal, camp one night, return the next day. Can do a fast and light, only take what you need. Maybe not even a stove. Went up to Salisbury Beach( North shore MA ) from my house. Mostly Bay Circuit trail and some dirt, pave, and bike path thrown in the mix too. No chance of rain. Took 1 closed cell foam pad, My 55 degree bag, a bug net and a poncho to cover for dew. Rigged up a sort of teepee with a few sticks and some cordage to drape the bug net over. Looked great among the rv's, fancy tents and such. Maybe 85 miles or so for 2 days. It's not about the miles. Hit up some BBQ and a brewery on the way out. Had some sausage on the grill that a seagull took out of the flames. The guys next door had 20 lbs of fresh striped bass on the grill. I also had a flask of TN whiskey, all good.
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Old 11-13-18, 01:37 PM
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My shortest turns out to be a three-day ride down the Pacific Coast from Long Beach to Oceanside. It was my wife's first (and only!) tour, and had we had something like Google Maps back then, it may not have been so nightmarish, as we would have taken a different (inland) route through the horrible Pacific Coast Highway stretch. Sections of PCH are really bad, to this day. It was about 65 miles.

I also did a three-day tour in Belgium, using a 3-speed rented from the Belgian Railway system. Happiest three days of my life, at least until my six-week tour a couple of years later. That was about a hundred miles, much of it painful. Sure, Belgium is great for cycling ... in the north. In the south, we forget that there are lots of hills and forests. Would love to go back and do that again today, as I'm in much better shape. But it was a gas - took a backpack and a change of shorts, stayed in little hotels.
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