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Degrees of sociality while out on tour.

Old 09-20-19, 07:31 PM
  #1  
Brian25
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Degrees of sociality while out on tour.

Hi fellow tourists. I have been touring since the mid '80s. My tours tend to be run like a military operation. I tour from town to town, cruise about the town, shop for food, figure what to do about accommodations, sleep, repeat. I really rarely have conversations/ social connection(s) with other people while out on tour. After looking at a bunch of the Crazy Guy On A Bike Journals, I have read about some tourists who have quite a social life while out on their tour. Do you have any suggestions as to how to have more of a "social" bike tour, because now, mine are null.
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Old 09-20-19, 08:12 PM
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You must not drink? Or drink enough?
kidding aside .... I must be a magnet for the local outcast. Every town seems to have one or two.
I always get approached by them. One thing leads to another and they find me a place to camp. Usually on their grandma’s farm or something like that.
They might be social morons but I find them entertaining.
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Old 09-20-19, 08:13 PM
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It all just depends on how social you are and what stops you make. If you don't ever stop in any restaurants or pubs, you'll be skipping two of the easiest places to meet and chat with people. Sometimes part of it is being the one to make the first move. A lot of people will sit down at the bar and start chatting with the person next to them. The only thing to be mindful of is reading the situation, and not being that weirdo who won't stop bugging someone. As a bartender, I've had plenty of people who won't stop trying to talk to me and let me serve other customers, I've had people who say nothing other than ordering their food/drinks, but once I have a moment and ask how their day is going, they happily chat away, and I've had people who want to just sit quietly and peacefully enjoy their meal/drink. As long as you're fairly decent at reading those sorts of situations(which Most people are), there's no harm in sitting down and chatting up the person next to you, or the bartender. Sometimes you meet a person who would love to chat with someone too, or a local who would love to tell you about the best places around town, etc.
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Old 09-20-19, 09:09 PM
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Talk honestly - straight to people. Assume everyone is as good as you and has their own interests and knowledge. Try to relate and be open. I’ve met more interesting friendly people on tours than I can count - some when I couldn’t even speak their language.
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Old 09-20-19, 09:30 PM
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Now here's an interesting topic. 🙂 I'm far more of a loner than a party animal, by choice, but for some reason or another, I seem to attract people. And I mean all kinds of people.
Just this morning, I was approached by an aggressive panhandler, who I had to threaten with violence to make him leave me alone. 🙄
About half an hour later, I was sitting outdoors drinking coffee, when an old car pulled up near me. A guy from Haiti or Cuba or someplace, not African-American, got out, and started walking towards me. Of course, I stood up to see what the heck he wanted, and he kept saying "No, sit down, I'm just looking at this building". When I said he could look at it without getting so close to me, he became very irate, and went back to his car, & opened the trunk. 😲
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see, this guy meant me serious harm, and for no reason, so I got the heck out of there. 🙁

Then about an hour later, I was coming out of a store, and as I was putting some money back in my wallet, an older lady, at least 80 I'd guess, came up to me. She said God told her to give me some money, and handed me a $5 bill. I tried to tell her thanks, but I didn't really "need" it, but she insisted, because she had run out of the bag lunches she hands out. 🤔
Apparently, she's with a church, and felt like she needed to give me lunch or lunch money. 😎

So I run into all kinds of people. And I'm not even going to discuss all the women who feel like I "owe" them some time, if they just smile & say hi. 🙄
I'm not gay or bi or curious, lol, I love women, but some of them can be just as rude & obnoxious as guys. 😒😉
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Old 09-20-19, 09:35 PM
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Well, I used to tour because I liked to tour exactly like you. Some people draw energy from active conversation with other people; other people (like me) find that sustaining active conversation with other people, even ones we already know -- all that eye contact!, all that empathy! -- drains our energy and we need isolation and solitude to recharge. Especially if we work in service industries where we have to be nice to people all day long instead of hammering red-hot metal into useful shapes that make people's lives better and farting whenever we feel like it.

So,....

When you're not touring, do you have an active social life, with lots of friends whom you miss when you're out on a bike tour by yourself and look forward to coming home to tell them all about your adventures? (The way people do when they've gone golfing or cruising on some expensive floating hotel.) Or do you understand that your memories of your tour will be fulfilling in themselves, because you experienced them, even if no one else really cares any more than you care about their stroke-by-stroke recounting of that birdie on the par-4 14th hole?

When you are home, do you do recreational bike rides with groups of cyclists (organized clubs, with committees and politics, or pickup groups from social media), or do you prefer solitary rides where you are free to adjust the route and pace according to what you feel like at that moment? If the latter, then cycling is not primarily a social activity for you, nor is it for me. If you stop at a café for coffee and you see a group of riders socializing, do you feel wistful that you aren't part of them, or are you glad that you don't have to hang around idle so long that your muscles get cold and hard to get going again? And Whatsizname that won't stop talking about his keto diet. Would your view change if you knew that their ride was much longer or much shorter than the one you were doing?

If your non-cycling pursuits are more solitary in nature, and you are happy and fulfilled that way, why do you feel you should try to behave any differently on a bike tour? Is it just Fear of Missing Out? or are you genuinely lonely at home and wish you had more friends to interact with there, too? Recognize that very few contacts made during a vacation lead to anything durable, even if the socializers seem to be having a wonderful time....sometimes it's just because they like to drink, because they're socially anxious. OK, sex might be worth that (sometimes) but I don't think that's what you're getting at. I couldn't imagine walking into a bar in a faraway place and striking up a conversation with the locals. I suppose one could, if one was sure about how to read the signals. Me, I'd think it'd be like in the movies where the stranger walks in and the pool players look up and freeze mid-cue, the juke box goes silent, and the bartender fixes me with this hostile stare that says, "You ain't from around here, are ya?" Of course this is preposterous and unfair but that's how I'd feel, so I don't do it.

If your default view is like someone said about on-line dating -- After six months and $300 all I found out is that there are 25 more people in the world I know I don't like! -- it is likely that you wouldn't find yourself more fulfilled if you had an active social life on tour, rather you'd just be exhausted from trying to do something that's just not in you. Now, if you were going to be staying in one place for several weeks to put down rootlets (as it were), to work or volunteer helping to build houses or something, then there would be value in building up some social capital, whom you can trust, whom you need to avoid, because your interactions will be repeated.

OK, perhaps I've not been much help. You were asking how to be more sociable on tour and I've been validating your current non-social style. I guess the main question for you is, Do you wish touring was as sociable an activity as what you enjoy at home? or, is it deeper, Have you been made to feel that you should be more sociable at all times than you are? And when you're on tour, comparing notes with extroverted bike tourists, does this get brought home to you more forcefully because touring is something you enjoy doing a lot?

Up above, I said I used to tour (alone.) Then I met a woman who changed my life and we got married. We do a lot of things together, including a different style of bike touring, and now I can't imagine going for an overnight bike tour without her. Otherwise I don't have much of an active social life that involves face-to-face crowds -- neither does, or did, she -- but we are fulfilled with mutual and reciprocal introversion these last 35 years.

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Old 09-20-19, 09:55 PM
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To the OP: in my post I asked you a whole bunch of questions. Those are for you to answer for yourself and I don't expect you to share the answers with me or us. I was just hoping that your honest, private answers might give you insight into what makes and keeps you happy....and keep you clear of aggressive panhandlers and weird people bent on doing you harm with whatever the heck was in that guy's trunk. (Geez, what a crazy story.)

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Old 09-20-19, 10:27 PM
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Well, the fact is that if you're only in town for one day, it's not always easy to forge connections (or at least any substantial connections) and develop a social life. Perhaps you might want to rethink your daily routine and tweak it just a little to allow more time to meet people. If you're arriving at your daily destination with just enough time to have a look around the town and take care of shopping and accommodation, it's going to be nearly impossible to find the time for a conversation. Also, where are you staying? If you're one of these tourers who relies on "Stealth camping" and eating lentils and dried fruit from a supermarket... well, that's going to further reduce your opportunity to meet people. Perhaps throw in a night or two in a backpacker hostel if socialising is more important to you. Also be aware that sometimes you won't have a lot of control over the kinds of interactions you'll get, or the types of people you meet. I remember one guy in particular in Tasmania some years ago who was a little too insistent that I eat breakfast with him by the foreshore. I might have actually gone along with it if he hadn't been so insistent that he didn't even want to give me time to actually buy something to eat first.

Finally, the other thing to consider is the place you're touring. People in some places are just less sociable or approachable than people in other places. Some people are just more superficial because of the demands of the culture they live in. I've had more intimate conversations with people I've known for two hours in Europe than people I've known for 10 years here in Australia (no, that's not an exaggeration). That's simply because, at least in my experience, Europeans tend to be more honest, which makes me feel more comfortable in being honest. Finally, as others have said above, don't be afraid to initiate conversation if it's important to you. Most people will make it clear to you in one way or another if they want to be left alone, and when they do, it's time to move on and talk to someone else.
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Old 09-20-19, 10:36 PM
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Just don't be like Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven where a guy asks him, "Where ya from?" and Brynner simply points behind himself. Then the guy asks, "Where ya going?" and Brynner points ahead of himself but doesn't speak either time.

I find that at coffee shop or restaurant where I sit where I can see my bicycle that a lot of people will ask where I bicycled from. Often too they'll ask where I'm headed. Then they'll ask questions about that ride or other rides I've done. I find that it's pretty easy to strike up a conversation with someone who wants to talk but getting them to be quiet can sometimes be pretty hard.

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Old 09-20-19, 10:58 PM
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Meeting the local folks and fellow travelers is a major part of what touring is about for me. I especially enjoy the folks who might be considered misfits
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Old 09-20-19, 11:09 PM
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are you asking because you WANT to have more social interaction, or because many of the crazy guy writers do, and you think you need to change?

if you're happy doing what you're doing............
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Old 09-20-19, 11:12 PM
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[QUOTE=Miele Man;21131623]Just don't be like Yul Brynner in The Magnificent Seven where a guy asks him, "Where ya from?" and Brynner simply points behind himself. Then the guy asks, "Where ya going?" and Brynner points ahead of himself but doesn't speak either time.



reminds me of the immigration stops in southern texas stopping all traffic on highway 90. guy asks where ya going?....."west". where ya coming from?....."back east." what's in the back of the truck?....."muh stuff.".....okay, move along.
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Old 09-21-19, 07:01 AM
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I see a few cyclists touring through my home town. I usually try to strike up a conversation, which usually leads to an invitation to stay at the house. (It helps being a Warmshowers host with good references.) A couple of times I've gotten a surly reply like Yul Brynner's character, and I just leave them alone.

My point is that there are friendly honest people out there and you need to be receptive in order to meet them. It's a risk, sure, but in my mind that's what bicycle touring, and bicycling itself, is all about. It can be a little riskier at times than car travel, and that's why I do it. Who wants a life with no risk?

I consider myself a social cyclist. Interaction with locals, from a friendly wave, to a shared picnic, to an impromptu overnight stay (or even lifelong friendship in one case), is a major part of my travel. But I've traveled with people who make me look shy. And it is possible to overdo it, I think.

Along those lines, I think your character actually influences how motorists treat you on the road. I meet aggressive road cyclists who complain about all the negative interactions and close calls they have. I hardly ever get those. I estimate one out of 10,000 motorists are just jerks, not a bad ratio and worth the risk for me. But I use a mirror all the time, and often just get off the road if I see a close call coming--it's not hard to spot inattentive or aggressive drivers. I always obey traffic signals (well, when a motorist can see me). I always smile and wave when one yields to me. I avoid conflicts because you just don't win them on a bike.

Just the other day a woman in a car stopped next to me at a traffic light rolled down her window and chatted a bit. She thanked me for being visible and careful. That was nice, and I think she might even ride her bike next time.
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Old 09-21-19, 07:50 AM
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If you stay at hostels, you can be as social or as anti-social as you desire. But in some parts of the world there are few hostels whereas in other parts there are many.
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Old 09-21-19, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Hi fellow tourists. I have been touring since the mid '80s. My tours tend to be run like a military operation. I tour from town to town, cruise about the town, shop for food, figure what to do about accommodations, sleep, repeat. I really rarely have conversations/ social connection(s) with other people while out on tour. After looking at a bunch of the Crazy Guy On A Bike Journals, I have read about some tourists who have quite a social life while out on their tour. Do you have any suggestions as to how to have more of a "social" bike tour, because now, mine are null.
I have to admit I'm more like you on tour.

Part of it is being focused on what I'm doing; usually higher mileage so my stops are matter of fact and not hanging around for extended periods. I would say for tours I am goal oriented more than socially oriented. Another part is that I don't drink so that whole area is a miss. Not that I care one way or the other what others do but I wouldn't be heading to a pub or bar.

But mostly it's that I am rather introverted until I get to know someone. Just my make up. I can be stand offish or self contained pretty easily and have to work at things like "smiling" That's the price of genius I guess...

Seriously though, I actually need to set social goals on tours because I can be quite solitary. Try to have two good conversations each day sort of thing. A funny byproduct of riding a fat bike while touring is that everyone wants to look or talk about it. On my last couple of short s24o's I had a lot of chats around the ferry waits.
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Old 09-21-19, 10:58 AM
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Avoid sex, politics and religion, and start a conversation. Weather, what lay ahead or what lay behind
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Old 09-21-19, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
...

Along those lines, I think your character actually influences how motorists treat you on the road. I meet aggressive road cyclists who complain about all the negative interactions and close calls they have. I hardly ever get those. I estimate one out of 10,000 motorists are just jerks, not a bad ratio and worth the risk for me. But I use a mirror all the time, and often just get off the road if I see a close call coming--it's not hard to spot inattentive or aggressive drivers. I always obey traffic signals (well, when a motorist can see me). I always smile and wave when one yields to me. I avoid conflicts because you just don't win them on a bike.

Just the other day a woman in a car stopped next to me at a traffic light rolled down her window and chatted a bit. She thanked me for being visible and careful. That was nice, and I think she might even ride her bike next time.
This is so, so true. What you give, you get.
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Old 09-21-19, 01:11 PM
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Stay at warm showers... You know that the people want you to stay there if they agree that you can, you know that they are bicycling people that want to or have done touring, and you can exchange stories that both parties are actually interested in... Having hosted people from around the world and from my own country that were bicycle touring, we have found the hosting experience a great way to learn about the world and it's different peoples...
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Old 09-21-19, 05:26 PM
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Thank you for all of your perspectives. To clarify: For those who guessed that I do not drink, You would be right. I just don't any urge to drink while out on tour. Actually, the last beer that I had was back in March.
For those who guessed that I go grocery shopping for lentils and go sneak/ bush camping for the night, you are pretty close. I am actually more likely to eat Mac and cheese. (It turns out that I am allergic to hotels)
I tried warm showers and had pretty bad luck. A lot of those people have moved, but not deleted their listing. A lot of them do not return calls. Attempts to success ratio seems to be about 10 to 1. Feels like a wall.
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Old 09-21-19, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Thank you for all of your perspectives. To clarify: For those who guessed that I do not drink, You would be right. I just don't any urge to drink while out on tour. Actually, the last beer that I had was back in March.
For those who guessed that I go grocery shopping for lentils and go sneak/ bush camping for the night, you are pretty close. I am actually more likely to eat Mac and cheese. (It turns out that I am allergic to hotels)
I tried warm showers and had pretty bad luck. A lot of those people have moved, but not deleted their listing. A lot of them do not return calls. Attempts to success ratio seems to be about 10 to 1. Feels like a wall.
And... Unfortunately, sometimes it IS, over whelming for the hosts, the amount of people who want to stay… and... I go to, NOT available… BUT, if you don't, then you may start to ignore requests, and fail in the whole "purpose",.. Of the "spirit" of the warm showers, " the purpose of the common good"... Like I said, my experience with warm showers as a host has been 100% FANTASTIC... I have never been a guest, Yet,...

EDIT; I/We, the wife and I, still have people from "France, England, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil, Italy, and Canada, who still contact us over, 5+ years now, and as the years go by, they, are sill saying come on by, we will show you around "If you are ever, anywhere near here, they will put us up for free".. Years and years... of contact... WOW, I actually ended up in a PUBLISHED book about life in different places, written by a traveler from England, (With a picture of me fishing, and catching fish)…

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Old 09-21-19, 06:53 PM
  #21  
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Stardognine needs to introduce the church lady to the panhandler.
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Old 09-21-19, 08:43 PM
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Let's keep it civil, I did not intend to start a war here. Forgot to mention that I have done warm shower hosting myself. I have met some really nice tourists at home.
Anyways, yea, I would like to be more social during a tour. I did like someone's suggestion about possibly staying at/ near a town for more than one day. Another thing: Camping at cemetery were popular on tours this summer, not much social contact there.
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Old 09-21-19, 11:32 PM
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Old 09-21-19, 11:35 PM
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Old 09-22-19, 02:39 AM
  #25  
3speed
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Madison, WI
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Well on the plus side, it seems like you're becoming less happy from not having social interaction. As you become less and less happy, you'll decide maybe you could use a beer. You wonder into a bar for that beer, end up chatting with someone at the bar, and BAM, the problem solves itself!

Alcohol... The cause of, and solution to, all of life's little problems. - Homer Simpson
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