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Downtime while touring.

Old 03-04-21, 08:29 PM
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Downtime while touring.

So what do you guys do when your done riding for the day on tours. I remember my last solo tour and boredom was a bear. The riding was great, but when I was done for the day I was bored to death. It was usually to hot to sleep. What keeps you busy while not on the bike?
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Old 03-04-21, 08:43 PM
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Setting up camp. Cooking something, eating something, washing pans, clothes, sweaty body, sleeping, cooking something, eating something, washing and packing up camp. After a full day of pedaling, doing nothing is a luxury to me.
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Old 03-04-21, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
So what do you guys do when your done riding for the day on tours. I remember my last solo tour and boredom was a bear. The riding was great, but when I was done for the day I was bored to death. It was usually to hot to sleep. What keeps you busy while not on the bike?
I found a brewery with the touring pals I rode with. I'm kidding, the brewery was plan A for dinner!

You could try writing and curating a log of the journey. I know sifting through photos for the cream of the crop takes time. You don't even have to share it. Our day to day concerns and trials are so miniscule over the arc of our lives, that taking time to look at them months or years later can show them to be almost comical.

"Saw another guy on tour today. I waved but he didn't wave back. What a jerk. On another note, Going-to-the-Sun Road was fun, but long climb..."
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Old 03-04-21, 11:19 PM
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I take a tablet;
Reading.
Photo editing/posting
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Old 03-05-21, 03:10 AM
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I find when I知 wild camping, that I ride until it痴 almost dark before finding a place to sleep, but when stopping at an organized campsite I値l stop earlier in the day, so more downtime.

I always have a guitar with me too. I think I知 lucky though, I never get bored even when doing nothing at all.

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Old 03-05-21, 05:27 AM
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I bring a book and catch up on my favorite cycling podcasts.
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Old 03-05-21, 05:44 AM
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Set up camp, if in Japan, go find an onsen and have a hot bath. Have a shower otherwise. Go for a swim. Maybe go to a pub, no pub, open a beer, light the BBQ, relax in the deck chairs. yep, I carry a soft cooler, a folding BBQ and a Helinox copy chair. I'm on holidays after all. Usually can find some kind of frozen something to keep the beer cold, like frozen spinach blocks, goes well in a breakfast omellette.
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Old 03-05-21, 05:51 AM
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I maximize my time on the bike, arriving at camp often after dark. I get up in the morning and make breakfast and coffee while breaking down camp. That can take me three hours some days. I try to get on the road by 10am and then ride to 6 or 8pm.

On rest days, I've often found myself standing and staring off into the woods or the desert for long stretches. If there's nothing to do, I really like doing nothing.

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Old 03-05-21, 06:08 AM
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Aside from camp chores, I read a lot, preferably after finding a nice spot at the campground to sit and admire my surroundings.


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Old 03-05-21, 06:09 AM
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Originally Posted by brett a View Post
on rest days, i've often found myself standing and staring off into the woods or the desert for long stretches. If there's nothing to do, i really like doing nothing.
+1.
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Old 03-05-21, 06:17 AM
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Thing is, bicycle touring is basically doing nothing all day... I mean, we池e just sitting down moving our legs around a bit and staring off into the distance 😋
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Old 03-05-21, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
So what do you guys do when your done riding for the day on tours. I remember my last solo tour and boredom was a bear. The riding was great, but when I was done for the day I was bored to death. It was usually to hot to sleep. What keeps you busy while not on the bike?
So, you have toured. So, you know how long it takes to set up camp, take a shower if at a campground so equipped, make supper, clean up, maybe do a bit of bike or equipment maint, etc.

And you are still bored. Some people get bored easily, I always find something to do on a bike trip, boredom not really a problem.

Sometimes I have taken my phone and a charger to the camp office if they had wi fi and check long range weather forecasts, look at the route for next several days to try to figure out if there was a better route, etc. If at a campground with hiking trails, take a hike. I stopped carrying a book to read years ago as I never opened it up. (I carry one on canoe and kayak trips, if you are stuck on shore in high winds, those days can get really boring.)

Do you have a liner for your sleeping bag? A gal I used to work with always brought a sleeping bag liner, her main reason was when camping where there are no showers, it keeps your sleeping bag a lot cleaner. So, I bought a sleeping bag liner as that sounded like a good idea. My next trip, some evenings it was around 70 degrees (F), it was a lot easier to climb into a sleeping bag liner and then as the night got colder I would slide more of me into my sleeping bag. I think I have brought a sleeping bag liner on every trip I have gone on for the past decade, now have three of them.
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Old 03-05-21, 06:37 AM
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I never found it to be an issue. I seem to be either riding, eating, sleeping, or doing the chores necessary for those to happen the majority of the time. I fill in the gaps talking to the locals, taking little hikes, seeing the sights, taking pictures, and if there is any time left (there seldom is) just relaxing.

Generally I ride every day even on multi week or multi month tours. Once I took time off in the Yosemite Valley and spent a week hiking and doing tourist stuff, but that was a rare exception. Also I may very rarely take a day off to do something like whitewater rafting if an opportunity presents itself (again something I did once). Days off from riding for me are for when I have something fun I want to do unless I am sick or something.

For me the point of touring is to get into the groove of riding every day.
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Old 03-05-21, 08:10 AM
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Curating an electronic journal ended up taking about an hour a day, between sorting through pictures, writing, and posting. Just sitting down with a notebook and pen was only 20 minutes a day, but then you end up with hundreds of pictures of ... what was that? Talking with locals can take up huge amounts of time, if you and they are interested. I found small town librarians were some of the most interesting people to talk to; they were usually well educated and informed, and if the library wasn't busy, bored and anxious to chat.

Where are you spending your touring nights? It sounds like you might want to mix it up. If you've been stealth camping, look for campgrounds (especially those with hiker/biker sites), or city parks, or even a courthouse lawn. You'll find people to talk with, or historical markers, or even a store with books or magazines. Camp out at a ball field, and you're set for games to watch until long after dark. If you've been stopping at motels, try to find a local diner, the kind where people ask you what you're doing, where you're going; or even invite you to share a dinner. Time will fly by.
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Old 03-05-21, 08:53 AM
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I spread my non-biking time out during the day. Say I'm planning eight hours of cycling and there are fourteen or more hot summer hours of daylight ahead. I break camp at sunrise and get cycling and try to find an interesting place to stop for breakfast, either out of my pack at a scenic place, or at a cafe.

By late morning, I'll start looking for a place to spend the hot hours of the day. It could be a breezy shady spot for a picnic lunch and a nap, write in a journal, do some Sudoku or crossword puzzles. If there's water available I'll do laundry and let things dry. I'll pick a sunny spot nearby to air out and disinfect my sleeping bag or quilt, and dry out the morning dew. There might be some interesting things to do in a town--a library, historical museum, visitor center, decent restaurant--any of which could lead to an hour or two of chatting with a local, maybe a visit to someone's house, even an invitation for the night. I don't travel with a smart phone, so I'll use a library internet computer to catch up with the electronic world, and in populated areas that can happen several times a day. I may look at the Warmshowers site to see if a willing host is available in the next few days.

In the late afternoon, I'll cycle a few more hours in lengthening shadows to a planned or un-planned campsite. Out West here or in US National Forest that's usually in a free dispersed camping area.

The only times I've ever taken whole days off is for a planned visit with family or friends, or to tour a world-class city I've never seen before.
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Old 03-05-21, 09:43 AM
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Notion of downtime depends on duration of the trip.

For a short duration of a week or less, I'll typically ride most every day. I bring a kindle and get caught up on reading and podcasts. If I am in a more urban area, I'll go out and explore. If camping, I'll have enough chores.

For an intermediate duration of up to two months or so, I'll have occasional rest days. Those happen either because of circumstances (e.g. take a rain day or deal with a mechanical issue) or because I am in an area I want to explore further off the bike. I am definitely keeping a journal of my travels so spend some time updating it.

For a duration of longer than two months, the notion of down time can stretch more into a week or more. It ends up being a bit more focused on circumstances. For example, in an (18-month) trip from Alaska to Argentina, I spent (a) a week in Smithers BC dealing with a broken hub and otherwise exploring Smithers (b) about six weeks after finishing US but prior to entering Mexico to visit Portland, go to Austin for a few weeks and visit family for Thanksgiving before continuing (c) two weeks in Oaxaca attending a language school (d) a week exploring Panama City (e) two week visit between North and South America to also do my taxes (f) two weeks exploring Mendoza, Argentina (g) a week visit back to see family in the US (h) four weeks attending language school in Bariloche (i) a week and a half exploring Puerto Montt (j) almost a week in Ushuaia to explore the end of the world. So I was breaking up a year and a half tour with some variety along the way that wasn't always cycling every day.
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Old 03-05-21, 10:58 AM
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If at an established campground I buy some firewood and make fire! Staring at that for a couple hours is always fun.
If solo/little amenities, I take a book and/or movie on my phone.
Overall, I have a strategy for basic chores to do depending on the type of campground I am at. Can I clean some clothes, take a shower, evaluate snack/water situation, etc.
However, as others have said, sometimes just sitting there staring into space is a good way to pass some time too after a long day in the saddle.
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Old 03-05-21, 12:48 PM
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My previous answer above was time during the day.

Regarding days riding and days not riding, my last tour, in chronological order, oldest first:
4 days riding,
1 day sitting out a wind storm,
1 day riding,
1 day sitting out a wind storm,
6 days riding,
1 day sitting out a heavy downpour (campground had a laundromat, did laundry),
1 day stuck with high winds,
6 days riding (last two days riding in rain),
2 days at a hostel sightseeing (in rain),
3 days riding (first of three in rain),
3 days sightseeing,
3 days riding

If you get bored easily, you might have ridden on some of the rainy days when I chose to stay in campsite, and one of the windy days where I did not travel, it would have been possible to get some distance if you really wanted to pedal into a strong headwind.





Before I retired, no vacations were longer than a week, but now I am retired and have the time to sit out days that would be miserable riding. And that means that I can schedule trips that are long enough to have flexibility on what to do on most days.
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Old 03-05-21, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MixedRider View Post
If at an established campground I buy some firewood and make fire! Staring at that for a couple hours is always fun.
I love reading by a fire. One NJ state park I ride to a few times a year (One ranger there knows my name when she sees it on the reservation list.) will deliver wood to my site because the office is far away from the camping area. If there is no wood for sale where i am camping, collecting enough dead and downed wood for a long fire can take time. Ten years ago at a BLM campground in Montana the host let me take as much wood from his stash that I cared to split with the axe he loaned me.

I also like to get the NYT for the crossword puzzle, but that is often difficult to do in the places where I have toured out west. It's easier in the NE and New England.
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Old 03-05-21, 02:36 PM
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I tour with my wife, and with her there is not much sitting around. I am not complaining, It is one of the many things I appreciate. We are both photography addicts; and as soon as camp chores, food, and bike maintenance are done, we are off exploring our surroundings. On a typical 2-month tour we take 8- 9,000 pictures. On a 2-month tour I took 5,900 pictures. We estimated the time we used to take pictures during a 3-month tour, and came up with approximately 147 hours using an average of one minute, a very rough estimate, per photo. That does not leave much time to get bored.





Even doing the laundry can be interesting, and is part of the bike touring story.

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Old 03-05-21, 03:54 PM
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Completely forgot about laundry. I could tell a laundry story but it would ruin my reputation even more, assuming that is possible.
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Old 03-05-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Completely forgot about laundry. I could tell a laundry story but it would ruin my reputation even more, assuming that is possible.
No you're fine. You're The closest thing to a vagrant we have besides stardognine, wherever he is.
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Old 03-05-21, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Unca_Sam View Post
No you're fine. You're The closest thing to a vagrant we have besides stardognine, wherever he is.
Vagrant? I知 about to buy about $2K worth of window shades for my house.
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Old 03-05-21, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Vagrant? I知 about to buy about $2K worth of window shades for my house.
Building a house out of $2K worth of window shades? Most guys would just salvage stuff.
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Old 03-05-21, 10:35 PM
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I only do motels/ hotels. Not much you can do at dark campgrounds. Most people go for a walk and find a fire pit chat going on.

If I have a long ride, I'll find a motel first, then have supper and then go back to the motel and likely flake out on the bed after I move the pics to the Ipad.
On shorter or layover days, I'll ride around 30 or 40 miles, depends on whether there's an attraction to see. Often I try riding up and down every street in the town. I like just seeing homes and whatever I find interesting. I might also ride down the highway and back, if the town is tiny. Then I'll look at TV and YT until I fall asleep, same on rain days.
Funny thing is, it wasn't much different on my car trips. I was just as sleepy tired. LOL.
Many days I nap at home before supper, if I'm not moving to stay awake.
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