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What is important to you in planning a bike tour?

Old 11-27-21, 01:14 PM
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headwind15
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What is important to you in planning a bike tour?

Everyone's different. I'm curious as to my fellow tourists' preferences for bike touring.

What I consider important (not in order) is scenery, weather, terrain, and how difficult it is to get to the start. I also look at the distances between stores and water, as well as how much traffic, and road/shoulder width.

How about you?
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Old 11-27-21, 02:24 PM
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First.. time. I'm still in the traditional work paradigm wherein I get a set number of holidays each year. These I divide into 1-4 week clumps and from there look at what trips will fit into the time available.

After that I tend to look for a theme or destination to center the trip around.

When I rode across the Canadian prairies I was keen to retrace the Red Coat Trail, a route the NWMP took when they came out west.

Another time I wanted to ride the spine of the Canadian Rockies from Calgary to Jasper by way of the Columbia Icefiekd Parkway.

Another time I wanted to see how fast I could ride from Jasper to my home (just outside Vancouver).

Another time I rode my fat bike through the Gulf Islands looking for out of the way trails to explore. Each trip has its own flavor.

Once I have a route I then break it into roughly 100km chunks to see what services are available. I used to look to have towns/services at the end of each day but now would prefer to hit them mid day. This let's me get what I need or have a coffee and then be in a more remote area in the evening for wild camping.

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Old 11-27-21, 03:23 PM
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If I am doing it with someone else, it gets complicated as our interests are not always the same.

If doing it solo:
1. Why am I going there, is there some interesting nature to see, historical significance, or what? I would prefer to go somewhere because I have a reason to go there.
2. I prefer camping in campgrounds with showers, not a big fan of wild camping. (I get plenty of wild camping when backpacking or canoeing.) Are there an adequate number of campgrounds that I can have days of reasonable distance between campgrounds?
3. Weather, highest priority is wind, I prefer it cooler than most, and I have had plenty of all day long rainy days but would like to minimize that if I can.
4. Logistics of getting there and getting back home can't be too complicated. My 2019 tour, it took 30 hours from leaving home to getting to my starting point, fortunately I did not have any flight delays, I do not want to repeat that complicated trip from home to wherever.
5. My trips were more isolated than most others prefer, my solo foreign trips in the past were not on common bike routes, I was often the only cyclist in the campground and often did not see another on the road for entire days. Isolated trips means carrying more food than most others, thus I am likely to want to know where the grocery stores are before I leave home, put them into my GPS.
6. My solo trips have all been flying to foreign countries, that will probably continue, considering LEJOG for my next tour.

Before I retired, my vacations were a week long. Now that I am retired, I like my bike tours to be in the five to six week range, generally start in early June before there are too many RVs on the highways and the campgrounds are not yet full up, I am usually going home when the tourism season is starting, that way I miss the heat of the summer (northern hemisphere).
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Old 11-27-21, 04:20 PM
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It can vary with the trip. Often scenery is pretty high on the list. Sometimes sampling the local food is a factor. Meeting the local folks or other tourists can be as well. I prefer a simple route where complex turn by turn directions are not needed most days. In general I like a goal like crossing a continent or reaching a distant point. My tours have all been in the US, but I like to get away from home to start and ride toward home. I like to have a distance of at least something close to 1000 miles and longer is good. Overnight and other really short tours have generally not interested me.
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Old 11-27-21, 05:59 PM
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Ease of logistics is a big one for me too. My ideal tour is a loop from home. Otherwise, the destination needs to be very special to get us to ship the bikes. Like a month or more on a different continent, or crossing this one.

Of course a safe route to cycle is at the top of the list. I agree with looking at resupply points.

Temperate weather and favorable prevailing winds are up there. I often pull the trigger on a short ride at the last minute to take advantage of a good five-day forecast. I may plan a loop direction based on a predicted wind shift on day three, for instance.
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Old 11-27-21, 06:04 PM
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For a route to interest me, it has to speak to me. That means a mixture of aesthetics, travel to and from the route, the route itself, grades, traffic, surface, towns, etc. Each one is a learning experience.
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Old 11-27-21, 06:48 PM
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At 66 I'm considering a tour for the first time in over 40 years. And I never did that tour either. I am looking into the NYS Empire Trail as a first tour, and the considerations there are: Ease, the terrain is particularly flat, Hotels nearby since I'm not camping, Restaurants too, Family stops along the way, civilization, ease of transport, starts in my college town (Buffalo), finishes 5 miles from home (NYC) and a high portion is off roads (but not off-road). It helps too that I can interrupt the ride at a few points, get on a plane or train to go home, and then go back to finish the ride. I'm not planning to do this but just knowing it is possible removes some worry, plus allows my wife to ride any section of it with me without a huge commitment. Her brother lives at the 1/3rd mark and I have cousins at the 2/3rd mark, her mother lives at about the 3/4 mark, and we have friends that live on Lake George. Lake George is the opposite direction of the trail from Albany and if we went that way we'd end the ride there.

I was on a driving trip through the west about 10 years ago and I remember commenting that I couldn't understand how anybody crossed through here on a bike, say across Eastern Oregon/Nevada/Utah. Way too much open road with no refill stops. I guess you plan around the stops you need to make.
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Old 11-27-21, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
For a route to interest me, it has to speak to me.
I agree on that, but for me that is a hard thing to describe. A lot of things can go into what will or won't speak to me.
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Old 11-27-21, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
At 66 I'm considering a tour for the first time in over 40 years. And I never did that tour either. I am looking into the NYS Empire Trail as a first tour, and the considerations there are: Ease, the terrain is particularly flat, Hotels nearby since I'm not camping, Restaurants too, Family stops along the way, civilization, ease of transport, ...
Interesting. The LACK of all these characteristics is what made me call off a "tour" along the northern portion of this trail. From what I've seen on Google Earth, and from what people have told me, there's not a lot of places to stop between the larger towns. And even in the bigger cities like New Paltz, I had a rough time finding accommodations.

Of course, I'd LOVE to be proven wrong, so if you do this ride, please be sure to report back!
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Old 11-27-21, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
For a route to interest me, it has to speak to me.
That's what I said to my therapist ...
And then she asked me, "Do you always hear these voices?"
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Old 11-27-21, 10:53 PM
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Originally Posted by zacster View Post
At 66 I'm considering a tour for the first time in over 40 years....

speaking of tours that speak to you.

you need to find a route to get your kicks.

i know you know.

https://www.adventurecycling.org/sit...e_Route_66.gif


https://www.adventurecycling.org/rou...ycle-route-66/

Last edited by saddlesores; 11-27-21 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 11-28-21, 08:13 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Interesting. The LACK of all these characteristics is what made me call off a "tour" along the northern portion of this trail. From what I've seen on Google Earth, and from what people have told me, there's not a lot of places to stop between the larger towns. And even in the bigger cities like New Paltz, I had a rough time finding accommodations.

Of course, I'd LOVE to be proven wrong, so if you do this ride, please be sure to report back!
The upper part of the route goes through a much more sparsely populated part of NY State. The E-W portion from Albany to Buffalo goes through Schenectady, Utica, Rome, Syracuse, Rochester, Palmyra (lots of Mormon tourists there and accommodations). These cities/towns are all conveniently spaced about 50 miles apart too, likely due to the early boat traffic distances that could be traveled. The part from Albany to NYC goes through the well traveled Hudson Valley and there are plenty of accommodations.

I've ridden Route 22 from Ticonderoga down to Whitehall as part of a larger attempt to ride around Lake George, and it isn't very nice riding. At the same time though it does have wide shoulders and I never felt like it was a dangerous road to ride on. It just isn't very scenic. I gave up in Whitehall because the roads weren't going to be good from there to Ft Ann and then back to Lk George, although I regret that now. It was already 75 miles for the day though so not too shabby. If I ever try that again I'd go counter clockwise around so the traffic-y part is at the beginning and the nice parts are towards the end. Also, if I decide to quit I can get picked up by boat. Route 22 is nowhere near the lake but the other side is lakeside most of the way.

What I really want though is for the official map to give all the distances in one place. It has lists of all the segments but then you have to click on each one to get the distance of the segment. Isn't the distance THE most critical information?
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Old 11-28-21, 08:23 AM
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Often, there is a country I want to visit by bicycle. When I don't have one of those, I look for Unesco World Heritage Sites that offer stunning scenery/experience and plan a tour around it/them.

I have been learning Italian and now speak it reasonably well. So, should international touring again become possible, I look for tours that spend time in Italy. Given it is pretty much in the middle of Europe, it isn't hard to find a place to go that includes some part of Italy.

Once I have a destination, I begin researching the various routes people have ridden over the years in that area. I read journals, check out routing sites, write to bike clubs in the area, look for websites. Then, I start mapping my route, looking for places to stay each night as I don't camp. My limit for now is 50 miles and 4000 feet of climbing. But, I'd prefer to stay below both of these and still cover a fair amount of ground.

My last planned, but cancelled, ride started in Puglia (southeast Italy) then a ferry to Dubrovnik and riding up to the Durmitor National Park in Montenegro and then returning back via Bosnia. I still hope to ride this route some day.
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Old 11-28-21, 08:50 AM
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If anyone is planning a foreign trip, passport renewal is still slow.
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Old 11-28-21, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
If anyone is planning a foreign trip, passport renewal is still slow.
i read that, but that may be for INITIAL passports, not renewals.

went to guangzhou in july to renew, this after reading
passports were taking six to eight months.

got the new passport in under a month, closer to 3 weeks
delivered to china.
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Old 11-28-21, 09:47 AM
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Access to plentiful raspberry tarts and D roads.
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Old 11-28-21, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
i read that, but that may be for INITIAL passports, not renewals.

went to guangzhou in july to renew, this after reading
passports were taking six to eight months.

got the new passport in under a month, closer to 3 weeks
delivered to china.
If that is an American passport it wouldn't surprise me if overseas citizens are prioritized. After all, the last thing you want is to be stuck without a passport to get home.

I put in for renewal here and it has been 6 weeks already and there is no sign it is coming any time soon.
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Old 11-28-21, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
i read that, but that may be for INITIAL passports, not renewals.

went to guangzhou in july to renew, this after reading
passports were taking six to eight months.

got the new passport in under a month, closer to 3 weeks
delivered to china.
Congrats, you must have pushed the right buttons for that.

Pasted from the State Dept renewal page:Routine: 8 to 11 weeks*

Expedited: Costs an extra $60. Takes 5 to 7 weeks.*

*Processing times begin the day we receive your application at a passport agency or center, not the day you mail your application or apply.


I sent in my renewal application in Feb 2020, that was pre-covid, at that time they said 6 to 8 weeks, that time estimate was date mailed to them to date applicant receives it from them. I did not apply for expedited. But the covid shutdown caused mine to be delayed until June, but by then the borders were closed and my trip canceled, so did not matter to me.

Perhaps renewal times are slower for those like most of us that are not currently in a foreign country?
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Old 11-28-21, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Perhaps renewal times are slower for those like most of us that are not currently in a foreign country?
i wouldn't think so. passports are made in the usa, then delivered to embassies/consulates. there is no prioritization available. we get only the regular service, no expedited, and no mail service.

and what a pain it is. there is no agency we can use. we have to make an appointment online, limited slots that only open up about a month prior. and of course the bastidges take off 'merkan AND local holidays, open late and close early.

you'd think in the whiz-bang computer age we could apply online and only appear in person for pickup, but noooooooooooooooooo, gotta book flights and hotels, move your meat-sack halfway across a continent to shuffle some papers in person. but you'd be wrong.

oh, but they mail it back..........NOT. same thing all over again. once you're notified, you gotta book flights and hotels and move your meat-sack halfway across a continent to pick up a wee, tiny booklet in person that could easily be sent EMS.

Originally Posted by zacster View Post
If that is an American passport it wouldn't surprise me if overseas citizens are prioritized.
if a normal "citizen" is prioritized for anything other than runaround and headache is what would surprise me.
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Old 11-28-21, 11:55 AM
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For me, I am luckier than most in that I have been touring for 45 years now and have over 70k loaded touring miles. The biggest criteria for me is riding somewhere I have not been before. It can be the same state but with few exceptions but I prefer not to do the same routes/roads as before as I like to see new stuff. The next is scenery, then weather (temps then wind), then difficulty. Most logistics work themselves out one way or another if fully self-contained but I do prefer a shower every night if possible. Good question.

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Old 11-28-21, 04:09 PM
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1.Ease of logistics to/from start and/or finish. Plains, trains or automobiles. Itís my vacation.

2. Relatively safe route, preferably with scenic highlights.

3. Established camping areas with potable water. I donít stealth camp, trespass, or whatever you want to call it, and donít want to have to ask around for a kosher place to camp.

4. Relatively easy supply opportunities with decent selections. I like to cook dinners and donít like Subway.
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Old 11-28-21, 04:11 PM
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It depends on the duration of the trip but overall, I like some variety and places I haven't been. I like both exploring new places and putting some structure on the ride. Often that structure indirectly helps along some goal.

My long trips (over 2 months) have all had some form of a goal attached to them, e.g. crossing a continent. That gives some overall structure to where I am headed and then I'll otherwise take things from day to day.

Shorter trips of a week or two, I enjoy going some place new and also adding enough "float" so I can make some variety along the way. Good example was my last overseas pre-pandemic ride to Guyana/Suriname/French Guyana. Terrain was flat, weather was hot/humid but it was fun coming through areas where one got the impression of not too many cyclists. After getting to Paramaribo, we stashed our bikes and took a mini-bus to Cayenne - explored the town and even saw a rocket launch take off from Ariane space port to launch satellites in orbit.
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Old 11-28-21, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
1.Ease of logistics to/from start and/or finish. Plains, trains or automobiles. Itís my vacation.

2. Relatively safe route, preferably with scenic highlights.

3. Established camping areas with potable water. I donít stealth camp, trespass, or whatever you want to call it, and donít want to have to ask around for a kosher place to camp.

4. Relatively easy supply opportunities with decent selections. I like to cook dinners and donít like Subway.
I was right there with you until that last sentence. Ha (a veggie or turkey on whole wheat please)
I occasionally tour alone but generally enjoy the company of a few good friends. Therefore for me, it's the company that I keep which I find so important, as they can often turn crummy weather and poor scenery into an enjoyable trip.
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Old 11-29-21, 05:24 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
... and donít like Subway.
I have done several tours with a friend and former co-worker. He hates most fast food restaurants, but always wants to go to Subway. Subway has a salad option. He has little interest in having a salad in the campsite, but when eating out he favors salads.

I think the number of Subways far outnumbers every other fast food chain but the data I saw on that was several years ago.
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Old 11-29-21, 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have done several tours with a friend and former co-worker. He hates most fast food restaurants, but always wants to go to Subway. Subway has a salad option. He has little interest in having a salad in the campsite, but when eating out he favors salads.

I think the number of Subways far outnumbers every other fast food chain but the data I saw on that was several years ago.
At least at one point Subway had the most number of stores of any fast food joint. May still be the case.

With that saidÖI hail from where the ďsubĒ, property called a ďhoagieĒ was invented. Subway does not cut it for me.
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