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I wish that it was easier to find touring companions.

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I wish that it was easier to find touring companions.

Old 02-12-19, 05:52 PM
  #1  
Brian25
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I wish that it was easier to find touring companions.

Because it is currently cold in the U.S.A. this time of year, I thought that Baja would be nice to tour. So I found a guy on the crazy guy on a bike website that seemed nice enough on the phone. Another guy said that he would go. After spending a day with the second guy, it was obvious that this guy was becoming increasing verbally abusive to me. (there was no way that I would be a verbal punching bag for a month) So after months of lead up and driving all the way to San Diego, I had to bail out at the last moment. My goal would be to tour with someone who has your back If there is a problem, but with this guy, I felt like there was the potential to wake up with a knife in my back. (seriously creepy). I am insecure about touring in Mexico by myself.


Is there a better way to find/ screen ( legitimate ) touring companions? Are people just jerks, should I give up and go solo?


Signed; Frustrated
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Old 02-12-19, 06:08 PM
  #2  
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As large as Tucson is, I would think that there should be numerous bike clubs. Maybe you could find some that enjoyed touring and therefore come to know them a little better before committing to touring with a specific individual. Oh, and there is safety in numbers.
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Old 02-12-19, 06:27 PM
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I 100% agree with the safety in numbers comment. The underpaid cops down there hassle people/ make stuff up to subsidize their pay. Less likely to hassle a group.
GABA cycling club has tourists, but they tend to be the credit card type, not the fully loaded tourist. (like me.) Any other Ideas?
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Old 02-12-19, 08:34 PM
  #4  
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Solo.

I have done several tours with a former co-worker (we are both retired now) and I probably will do more tours with him. But I have also done two tours with ACA that he did not go on. After doing several trips with that former co-worker, there was one trip that I thought he would not be a good traveling partner with, so I bluntly told him that I wanted to do that trip solo, I did it and had a great time. And since then I have done one trip with that former co-worker, and that was a good trip too although it had a few rough spots where I could have predicted they would occur. I also have done one other tour with a different friend.

This year I plan to do another solo trip. The former co-worker did not express an interest, so I did not encourage him.

I pretty much have concluded that if you can find the great touring partner it is because:
- you both have about the same speed and endurance, thus you can travel close to the same pace and distance per day.
- you both have similar interests in side trips or other sightseeing.
- you both are capable of accepting the faults of the other.
- you both are willing to give in, or lose roughly half the arguments.
- as we age, sometimes we develop dietary constraints that are sometimes hard to share.
- if you set a goal of doing 10 to 20 percent more of the camp chores than your touring partner (if you are camping), then you won't get upset about having to do more than your share.

In other words, not much different than spouse hunting.

I am not going to list any faults of a past touring partner because I was willing to accept them, thus they are not worth mentioning.

Good luck finding a good bike touring partner.

But, I would rather go solo than roll the dice with someone that I have not already known for a few years.
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Old 02-12-19, 09:37 PM
  #5  
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If finding a touring partner was easy, we would all have one and be on tour right now. Meeting someone for the first time and going on an extended ride with them is tough and you really have to know someone pretty well. I mean yes you can ride with strangers and have a good time, some people are quite nice and excellent to ride with but maybe camping or hoteling with them might be different or having to ride with them for long periods might be tough.

I probably wouldn't want to tour some place I didn't know super well solo but I also wouldn't want to tour some place I didn't know super well with someone I didn't know super well.
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Old 02-13-19, 07:18 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post

I probably wouldn't want to tour some place I didn't know super well solo but I also wouldn't want to tour some place I didn't know super well with someone I didn't know super well.
I came to the same conclusion after my first tour, the first part of which was 93 days on the road with 12 complete strangers. There were a couple of people in the group, including a racist alcoholic, who I would have dumped after the first few days had it not been an organized tour. Fortunately, there were people at the other end of the spectrum who served as insulation, if you will. Only when my turn came to shop, cook and clean common cooking gear (which happened about once/week) and I was paired with one of the people I didn't like was I forced to interact closely with them.

When the group trip ended I spent several weeks riding home solo, so I immediately got to compare it to group touring. While I missed a couple of people in the group who I really liked, I felt liberated being on my own. The primary reason I had chosen a group tour for my first was that I had never done any unsupported touring. The first day of the trip was the second time I had ever ridden a fully loaded bike. That night was the first night I ever slept in a tent. I wanted to learn the ins and outs from others and develop confidence. The solo portion of the trip showed me that I had and made me realize that I would rather be alone than with people I don't like. Since then, most of my mileage has been solo. I did do a few unsupported trips (and two supported ones) with my ex-GF. Strong rider, but she never really took to the loaded biking and camping thing.
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Old 02-13-19, 10:18 AM
  #7  
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Like others have written, I prefer riding solo. Loaded, unsupported touring is challenging enough. Adding another person with opinions, ideas, and difficulty, would only add more difficulty. I use hospitality sites (warmshowers, couchsurfing) to find people to stay with or meet up with when I feel the need for company. That said, I enjoy being alone, which helps a lot.

I think the value of having someone along who could help should a problem arise is over-rated. First, problems don't arise all that often, if you use common sense. Second, it is just as likely that you will be the one helping them out. Third, I don't ride in places so isolated that I couldn't get help from someone on the road.

My suggestion is to try riding a short tour solo and see how you like it. If it is too hard on you, then trying to find a compatible partner might be worth the effort. I'd follow Tourist in MSN's guidelines.
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Old 02-13-19, 10:25 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
...
I probably wouldn't want to tour some place I didn't know super well solo ...
I am retired, I have the time to research a location. But for working people that only have a week of vacation which includes the travel time to and from the starting point, to go somewhere solo it would be hard to find the time for adequate research before the trip unless it was a route with a good guidebook (Katy, GAP and C&O, Pacific Coast, etc.) where someone else did a lot of the research already. Or maybe the ACA maps as an alternative to research.

My first solo trip, I was a bit nervous about it, but I did a lot of research on the internet. I also put a lot of the grocery stores and hostels into my GPS while still at home before the trip. But I went there without a specific route planned out, just a list of the types of places I wanted to see and experiences I wanted to have. Had a great time. There were a few days where the forecast told me that I really did not want to travel the next day, and since my schedule had a lot of flexibility in it I could adjust my schedule for the weather. There were two days when I quit earlier than planned due to gale force headwinds, but there were two days when the tailwind was strong enough that once I reached my destination, I did not want to waste a taillwind so I just kept going further. That kind of flexibility is harder to do if you are traveling with someone, especially if you were not biking as a pair.

I had an extensive camping background (canoeing, kayaking, backpacking), so bike touring was just a different means of transportation. But those that do not have a lot of camping background, the first solo tour could be tough if camping.

I think that someone that does not have a lot of camping background might be best off doing some car camping and separately some credit card touring before trying to do both at the same time.

In campgrounds I have met people that were bike touring that could not even adjust a cable on their bikes. I have very good mechanical aptitude and built up my bikes from parts. That also gives me more confidence than many if not most other bike tourists, having the confidence that you don't have to worry about your bike or other equipment can provide a bit more peace of mind. I think that someone that tours solo should at least know how to keep their bike in adjustment and keep air in the tires.

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Old 02-13-19, 10:32 AM
  #9  
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My wife and I tour together so I have a built in partner. She would tour alone but I prefer to tour with someone.

But thinking about your situation, another strategy is to join up with people along the way. We have meet many people and some have become long term friends. Some of them approached us. Others we approached. Sometimes it lasted for one day. Other times much longer. And, some we have met on other tours.

In the Baja, we rode with two single riders. One was from Spain. The other from Belgium. When we separated, the guys stayed together as they were a better fit. We also rode with a couple from the States for a little while on the same tour. We met and talked to other cyclists but can;t remember riding with them.

I expect you will spend more than 50% of the time on your own but I think if you reach out to people, you might find a riding partner for a while. The good news about this approach is that if there is not a fit, it is easy to find an excuse to look for a new partner.
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Old 02-13-19, 01:30 PM
  #10  
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I got over it and went by myself, I am an only child , of the 50's, so i have that background ..


3 fairly long tours in Europe, . paper maps and film camera & my pocket Mandolin..






....

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Old 02-13-19, 01:46 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I would rather go solo than roll the dice with someone that I have not already known for a few years.
This.
If you're the right personality and don't mind letting someone else make all of the decisions, touring with a random person might work for you. I'm the sort that wants to share discussions and decide things together when they need deciding. You both have to compromise, or someone is going to have a crap time. A bike tour is a fairly rare, special thing for most of us, so it's not right for someone to have a crap time. At the end of the day, most people are kinda self-focused and kinda suck. If you don't want to deal with that, you have to go solo.

My touring partner is my best friend of ~24yrs. We've lived together as room mates and we both loved the experience. That said, there was one point on our first tour when I got so fed up with him over one particular reoccurring issue that I was certain I wasn't going to tour with him again. Overall it was a fantastic time and we both really loved it, but that one thing kept happening and wearing on me. I imagine a stranger would have something to bug me at least as much as a best friend of 24yrs.

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Old 02-13-19, 03:39 PM
  #12  
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I like doing my own thing on a tour. Stop and go when I feel like it. Not tied to any schedule other than my own. Iíll occasionally cross paths with the same people a few times, but I donít ride with them. And donít make any plans to see them again. If it happens, I donít object, but it will just be a coincidence, but not something intentional.
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Old 02-13-19, 07:39 PM
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<<<===== Safety and Companionship Control and Independence =====>>>>
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Old 02-13-19, 07:57 PM
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Having been a single touring person in Mexico, there is no way on this green earth that I will ever travel that country on my own again or with a partner. Only way I will do it again is with an organized group that originates from Mexico and has paid all the bribes in advance. Not a safe place for a small foreign group to travel.
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Old 02-13-19, 09:34 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I came to the same conclusion after my first tour, the first part of which was 93 days on the road with 12 complete strangers. There were a couple of people in the group, including a racist alcoholic, who I would have dumped after the first few days had it not been an organized tour. Fortunately, there were people at the other end of the spectrum who served as insulation, if you will. Only when my turn came to shop, cook and clean common cooking gear (which happened about once/week) and I was paired with one of the people I didn't like was I forced to interact closely with them.

When the group trip ended I spent several weeks riding home solo, so I immediately got to compare it to group touring. While I missed a couple of people in the group who I really liked, I felt liberated being on my own. The primary reason I had chosen a group tour for my first was that I had never done any unsupported touring. The first day of the trip was the second time I had ever ridden a fully loaded bike. That night was the first night I ever slept in a tent. I wanted to learn the ins and outs from others and develop confidence. The solo portion of the trip showed me that I had and made me realize that I would rather be alone than with people I don't like. Since then, most of my mileage has been solo. I did do a few unsupported trips (and two supported ones) with my ex-GF. Strong rider, but she never really took to the loaded biking and camping thing.
Ooof...that is no good. Alcoholics are plenty bad and then add racism and you got a combination that would have led to them being shoved off a cliff.

I get for some solo trips are hard, I feel you 100%. I did a solo trip once that ended really poorly with me being depressed as hell and not able to leave the second campsite I was at though it was also poor planning as I didn't pack well for the cold temps I didn't think about while it was still so blazing hot where I started. However I have had some trips that are excellent as well. You just have to plan well and if you need someone find a friend and get them really stoked on biking (hopefully they are already down with camping/backpacking) and then let them marry someone who is really into biking and you are all set. Totally not describing a friend of mine who I got into biking and then his girlfriend now wife got him mega addicted and we have toured together.
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Old 02-14-19, 05:19 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
Ooof...that is no good. Alcoholics are plenty bad and then add racism and you got a combination that would have led to them being shoved off a cliff.
The third night of the trip we were camping in Bay View, WA. There was a black family with an RV at the state park The young kids were riding there bikes around the park. He looked at me and said "I guess we'll have to lock up our bikes tonight." He was from Chicago, which gets its share of international tourism. A couple of times he remarked how Japanese tourists get off tour busses and immediately start taking photos. "They're taking pictures of memories they never had." One time I asked him if he had ever been to Paris and told him that when Americans get off a tour bus at the Eiffel Tower the first thing most of them do is start taking photos.

Surprised he actually finished. He nearly got arrested for harassing an off duty female state trooper in a bar in Fargo, ND. In NH he crashed while drunk during a rest day. Fractured his collar bone and nearly got a DUI at the hospital when he became belligerent with the staff. He didn't want treatment because he didn't have health insurance. It was finally explained to him that the tour had coverage for those who didn't. Somehow, he managed to finish the last week of the trip.
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Old 02-14-19, 06:01 AM
  #17  
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Try the ****** sub r/BikeBuddies, also consider doing the Baja Divide race. You don't actually have to race it yourself, but their will be a fair few people on the course, that if you can keep up, will give you a support base, with many good number of people down there at the same time as you will be there. You would have to train a bit harder, so you could at least keep up with the last few riders in the pack, but that would be OK in my eyes if I was doing it. You would need only bike packing bags, and could store your panniers somewhere down there. It is just a thought I don't know too much about it. My way of sourcing a buddy was to bring my dog along, but I tour only in Australia, did my overseas touring back when I was pretty young, so confine myself to here. A dog is an excellent companion and always agrees with you, accept when he wants to eat or go to the toilet, I have found. EDIT: I cannot say the name of the site I mentioned at the start of this post, I hope you can work it out.

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Old 02-14-19, 10:24 AM
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I'll never again tour or vacation with someone I don't know well and don't know is aligned with my goals and objectives. Been there, done that. I'm perfectly content being solo when my wife doesn't want to join.

As that doesn't help your predicament, I do agree with the advice of seeing if there is a bike touring or other similar type of long distance riding group near you, that you can join and weed out people in person, and find people you align with. Or stick with organized tours. May be more costly, but there is always the opportunity to pick the people in the group you want to hang out with, and a leader who is (theoretically) capable of dealing with problem folks.
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Old 02-14-19, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
The third night of the trip we were camping in Bay View, WA....
OMG. That guy sounds Awful. Good job not pushing him in front of a bus while you rode.
Originally Posted by ricrunner View Post
Try the ****** sub r/BikeBuddies...
Redd*t would be a good forum to check out. Good idea.
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Old 02-14-19, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I like doing my own thing on a tour. Stop and go when I feel like it. Not tied to any schedule other than my own. I’ll occasionally cross paths with the same people a few times, but I don’t ride with them. And don’t make any plans to see them again. If it happens, I don’t object, but it will just be a coincidence, but not something intentional.


+1 The same for me.

BTW: I once tried an online-meetup group-tour (using the crazyguyonabike companions) and found it to be too complex with each individual having differing styles & agendas. I'm sure it could work with proper star & planet alignment

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Old 02-16-19, 07:28 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
I am insecure about touring in Mexico by myself.

Is there a better way to find/ screen ( legitimate ) touring companions? Are people just jerks, should I give up and go solo?

Signed; Frustrated
"I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude". Henry David Thoreau

^This being said, I have biked across the USA/Canada self contained 5 times solo. I hooked up with a few people along the way now and then for a few days, so it is possible. My sister made a great touring companion as did a childhood friend. But finding one on "CraigsList", good luck.

My advice, stay out of Mexico and any country south of the USA for that matter. Stick to the USA and Canada when it warms up. Or Northern Europe down to the Mediterranean. Australia/New Zealand sounds nice. It's a big world. By the time you explore all of the relatively safe countries you may be tired of riding a bike.
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Old 02-16-19, 07:42 PM
  #22  
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I don't know if it has always been this way but I find trying to coordinate anything with others of my age group (50 somethings) to be like herding cats. We complain about the milennials but my age cohort sure seems to want things on their terms and convenience and has the income to buy it. I also dive and it's such a pita trying to pin a group down without someone or another wanting to endlessly adjust because of some detail or another.

I wind up doing most things solo because.. I guess.. I want things my way too! But I like to think I'll stick with a plan whenever I do work with others.

I like the suggestion of sticking in countries you feel comfortable in with the caveat of also checking your own reasons for that. You want to stretch your comfort zone but not completely abandon it or you won't enjoy the trip.
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