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Frustrated Tourist.

Old 08-05-23, 04:10 PM
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On two different occasions I have been totally ignored by Backroads tour riders.

The first was on the Northern Tier at the Newhalem store.
I was sitting out front and said, "Hi!" a few times.
It was if I didn't even exist.

The second was at Glacier N.P. where all the bike racks are on Logan Pass.
Again, it was if I did not exist.
So, I no longer expect much interaction with Backroads riders.

I wonder why sometimes - -
Maybe because they are spending the big bucks and I am riding on the cheap?
Or maybe they can't help noticing that I have all the panniers and they just have a little handlebar bag?
Or maybe it's because I smell bad? Who knows?
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Old 08-05-23, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
I wonder why sometimes - -
Maybe because they are spending the big bucks and I am riding on the cheap?
Or maybe they can't help noticing that I have all the panniers and they just have a little handlebar bag?
Or maybe it's because I smell bad? Who knows?
My guess is a more simple explanation.

I expect a group like that already has a lot of social interaction within it along with a set of "logistics/procedures" folks are trying to figure out, e.g. where to get support vehicle, what time to find lunch, etc. So particularly in a environment where they get mixed in with a larger situation I can see them sticking to the internal group.

Now completely ignoring, not acknowledging a "hi" seems strange to me but not using it as an opening to larger interaction I can understand.

As far as comparison/conversation with panniers cyclist I can see someone doing if they do *both* back roads supported tours and their own tours - but otherwise one might not see each other as doing the same activity.

In that way, I see this in contrast to what I've done with other panniers cyclists particularly if we're in a remote place and happen to meet on the road. I've had the stop/greet/compare notes/trade maps informal stop multiple times. I've also had the "we're camped at the same spot - greet/discussion" multiple times as well.

p.s. Interestingly enough I have an analogous situation right now. I seem to be the only guest at a small town South Dakota motel this evening along with ~40 members of a Weasels Motorcycle group on their way to Sturgis. They are mostly sorting out their social order this evening and I've gotten a few descriptive pieces of information but neither is setting up for much conversation...
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Old 08-05-23, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
On two different occasions I have been totally ignored by Backroads tour riders.

The first was on the Northern Tier at the Newhalem store.
I was sitting out front and said, "Hi!" a few times.
It was if I didn't even exist.

The second was at Glacier N.P. where all the bike racks are on Logan Pass.
Again, it was if I did not exist.
So, I no longer expect much interaction with Backroads riders.

I wonder why sometimes - -
Maybe because they are spending the big bucks and I am riding on the cheap?
Or maybe they can't help noticing that I have all the panniers and they just have a little handlebar bag?
Or maybe it's because I smell bad? Who knows?
I was talking to someone and he said something about Strava. I said, what is that? He said it is like social media for cyclists. I said, how come I do not know anything about that when I do bike touring. He said, (I am not joking, this is what he actually said) it is for cyclists.

His message was very clear, if you are a roadie then you are a cyclist, bike tourists do not count as cyclists. It is a whole different attitude.
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Old 08-05-23, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I was talking to someone and he said something about Strava. I said, what is that? He said it is like social media for cyclists. I said, how come I do not know anything about that when I do bike touring. He said, (I am not joking, this is what he actually said) it is for cyclists.

His message was very clear, if you are a roadie then you are a cyclist, bike tourists do not count as cyclists. It is a whole different attitude.
I was both, as well as a commuter. Hope to be so again. No interest in Strava.
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Old 08-05-23, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
On two different occasions I have been totally ignored by Backroads tour riders.

The first was on the Northern Tier at the Newhalem store.
I was sitting out front and said, "Hi!" a few times.
It was if I didn't even exist.

The second was at Glacier N.P. where all the bike racks are on Logan Pass.
Again, it was if I did not exist.
So, I no longer expect much interaction with Backroads riders.

I wonder why sometimes - -
Maybe because they are spending the big bucks and I am riding on the cheap?
Or maybe they can't help noticing that I have all the panniers and they just have a little handlebar bag?
Or maybe it's because I smell bad? Who knows?
Totally forgot about my Backroads experience at Moran Jct. I was sitting outside some store eating lunch when they started to come down from the direction of Togwotee Pass. I tried to get some info about the climb up. Someone told me they had been shuttled up some “big hill” and rode down. It was clear they didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

A while later a leader came with a van and started loading their bikes on the roof. I had come from Jenny Lake so I didn’t smell that bad yet.
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Old 08-06-23, 03:12 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I was both, as well as a commuter. Hope to be so again. No interest in Strava.
Nobody has told me enough information about it to get me curious to learn more. And that is fine with me.
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Old 08-06-23, 05:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
I was talking to someone and he said something about Strava. I said, what is that? He said it is like social media for cyclists. I said, how come I do not know anything about that when I do bike touring. He said, (I am not joking, this is what he actually said) it is for cyclists.

His message was very clear, if you are a roadie then you are a cyclist, bike tourists do not count as cyclists. It is a whole different attitude.
He sounds like an a hole.

That said I have a strava account created in the past, possibly when I was trying different apps to track my mileage and training for both riding and running. It is a free crippled account, not a paid version. At some point I settled on mapmyride/mapmyrun when it was possible to use it in a useful fashion for free. Also at some point I was using the free version of Strava I now use the garmin app that works with my garmin watch. It apparently sends data to strava because i have folks send me kudos now and then for my rides that were posted on strava. I really only use the garmin app myself, but the data seems to be on strava and I apparently have a few friends who follow me there.

I suspect it is a nice app for folks who do other types of riding other than roadies, but I am not interested in paying for it when I am getting pretty much what i was looking for in the garmin app.
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Old 08-06-23, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by tombc
Just being realistic here - I read this and think, wow they sound like a bummer. Why no friends? Why would this unicorn tourist want to hang out with you? I don't want to be mean but you have to sell yourself better than this. Examine why no one wants to hang with you first and you might end up with a buddy. Sounds like a therapist is required (I recommend therapy it's great).
Ignorant comments. You know nothing about this gentleman. He could be the nicest guy you'd ever meet. It's not that no one wants to hang with him, it's that he's looking for a very specific type of connection. I would wager that any one of us might have a hard time finding someone to go on a long, loaded bicycle tour with us. Not that many people do that.
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Old 08-06-23, 05:42 AM
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My first thought is that while this loaded tour with a buddy may very well help with your isolation and depression and improve your overall mental health, as others have pointed out there are other ways to combat what you're experiencing. It's actually fairly normal at certain stages of people's lives. There are some good suggestions already. The main thing is to get out there. If you're not going on the bike tour any time soon, find another reason to get out of the house and be with people. Volunteering is a great suggestion, and definitely helped me transition after retirement.

On the touring thing, I totally understand the appeal of self-supported touring. I did a lot of loaded touring back in the '80s, when you really were self-sufficient. No cell phone, no GPS, and I didn't even have a credit card. But you might consider a supported tour, as others have suggested. I've always thought that would be fun too, and certainly a lot less work. Plus you don't need a full-blown touring bike and you can use a bike that's easier and more fun to ride.
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Old 08-06-23, 06:24 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I suspect it is a nice app for folks who do other types of riding other than roadies, but I am not interested in paying for it when I am getting pretty much what i was looking for in the garmin app.
I have a Garmin account where I have often uploaded my rides so I have a summary of where/how I have ridden. It is also linked to a free version of a Strava app, so rides also go there.

Strava has some capabilities I don't use as much as a touring cyclist. In particular keeping track of specific segments and letting people compete for fastest or track their progress to improve on a workout. I believe paid versions enable additional monitors like heart rate or power or additional analysis. In addition to cycling, I have friends who track runs on Strava. [Someone is creating all those heat maps I consult when figuring out touring routes ]

If you wanted you could blog rides and include pictures and text. I met one bike tourist who did that, but I haven't done that. What I have done is use a WordPress plugin to embed a Strava map on a blog page. This lets me create a page that includes photos, text and also an overview map.

Strava also lets people "follow", comment or provide a thumbs up kudo. I don't really do that myself. However, if you already used Strava to keep track of your own riding - and then met a touring cyclist on the road - knowing their Strava ID would enable you to keep up with them to see where they were going. Not very often, but occasionally I've had people ask if I have Strava for that purpose, e.g. even in Timor Leste last year. In my current journey I know of perhaps half a dozen friends who follow my journey in this fashion.

​​​​​

Last edited by mev; 08-06-23 at 06:37 AM.
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Old 08-06-23, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mev
In particular keeping track of specific segments and letting people compete for fastest or track their progress to improve on a workout.
​​​​​
I did a little of that at one point in the past and it was kind of fun. I am not sure if it was the same account I have now of if not whether I still have that account.
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Old 08-06-23, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
I did a little of that at one point in the past and it was kind of fun. I am not sure if it was the same account I have now of if not whether I still have that account.
I keep track of my exercise rides on a spreadsheet, comparing only against myself, not others.

Bike tours, I keep the GPS track so I can create maps from that.

I do know a few (to use your phrase) a holes. But they are the ones that talk about strava all the time. They are the ones that have to get to the end point before anyone else. A couple years ago, one of them bought a gravel bike, that being the latest fad he had to have one. Within a few months another one got the same model, but with carbon frame. And soon after that, another got the same model and was complaining about the delay in getting his new carbon wheels. I have no interest in keeping up with the Joneses.

I can see my past times on brevets on the randonneuring website for that group I have ridden with if I really want to get excited about times and distances. That is good enough for me.
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Old 08-07-23, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Totally forgot about my Backroads experience at Moran Jct. I was sitting outside some store eating lunch when they started to come down from the direction of Togwotee Pass. I tried to get some info about the climb up. Someone told me they had been shuttled up some “big hill” and rode down. It was clear they didn’t want to have anything to do with me.

A while later a leader came with a van and started loading their bikes on the roof. I had come from Jenny Lake so I didn’t smell that bad yet.
I would say it’s more of a group dynamic issue than anything wrong with you. I’ve experienced the same thing in Scotland 40+ years ago. My wife and I kept being asked if we were with “the Alaskans” at every place we stopped. We were a day or two behind them and, as we were Yanks wearing helmets (something rare at the time in Great Britain), everyone assumed we were lost sheep. We eventually diverged off their path. In Oban, we ran into the Alaskans at a pastry shop and introduced ourselves with “Hey, you’re the Alaskans! We’ve been chasing you for 2 weeks!” The response I got was “well, you caught us.” I was able to pry out of one of them that they were 50 miles into a 100 mile day but that was all. They were in their own insular world and running across a random Yank wasn’t all that interesting. Frankly, they were a bit rude with the shop clerk so running across a random Scot was probably not all that interesting.

A few days later we ran across a solo tourist from Oregon who was more than happy to talk with some random Yanks in Scotland.

This, by the way, is something I’ve run across with just regular riders as well. I’ve done thousands of miles of solo touring and have gone days at a time without interacting with a single person. Even people riding my direction are completely uninterested in striking up conversations. A common theme in campgrounds is for me to spend an afternoon, an evening, and a morning in camp with no one at all approaching me. But let me break camp, get loaded, swing my leg over my bike, and start to push the pedal and it’s like I have a line at a New York deli asking me questions.
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Old 08-07-23, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15
Any other ideas on how to find the ever elusive self sufficient bike tourist?
Sorry but I got nothin’ for ya. I did some touring with my wife in the late 70s and early 80s. I did a solo mountain bike tour when my wife was pregnant with my first child. After (1985) that I did zero self-contained touring until 2003. I did some family out and back trips but nothing loaded. My wife didn’t want to do it. It was too hard to put the kids on bikes and I couldn’t find anyone to go along for love (literally) nor money. In 2003, I looked at my vacation accrual and my wife’s vacation accrual and mine was about 6 weeks while her’s was 2. I had to use it or lose it so I just decided to go out on my own. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do.

That said, the only thing worse than touring with someone is touring solo and the only thing worse tour solo is touring with someone. When you are on your own, it’s lonely and occasionally depressing and occasionally enlightening. You get to ride at your pace…which is usually far too fast and far too far. When you ride with someone it can be occasionally enlightening, often depressing, often argumentative, often supportive. You ride at their pace which may be too slow and too short or too fast and too far.

If you can’t find someone to go with, go alone. It’s scary. It’s lonely. It’s sad. But it’s also wonderful, thrilling, enlightening, fascinating, inspiring, and a whole plethora of words to fill a thesaurus. It’s also better than hanging about the house waiting for something to happen.
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Old 08-07-23, 04:54 PM
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Based on my hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and AT, being alone is one of the best experiences. When you are alone you are not talking. As a result, stuff happens.
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Old 08-08-23, 03:18 AM
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The most effective way for me is to just go on a tour, and I'll meet fellow tourists on the way. If I'm going the same way as they are then we might ride together until our paths diverge again.
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Old 08-08-23, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuck Naill
Based on my hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains and AT, being alone is one of the best experiences. When you are alone you are not talking. As a result, stuff happens.
+1. I don’t get lonely touring alone. I like my own company. The first part of my first tour was with 12 strangers for 93 days. A couple of them I could have definitely done without. At times, it took mental energy to not let them ruin things.

At the end of the trip, I rode home solo during a span of a few weeks. While I missed interacting with a couple of people in the group, overall I felt a weight had been lifted. Aside from maybe a half dozen short trips with a long time GF, I’ve only toured alone since my first experience. Don’t mind it one bit, and more stuff does happen.

In 2018 I did a two-week tour that included a weekend stop at my 35th high school reunion. Saturday night I ate dinner sitting next to General Patton’s grandson. I told him about my solo travels. He said “You must hate people.” I told him that my trips alone were breaks from constant interaction with others in everyday life.

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Old 08-08-23, 04:37 AM
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The OP has not responded to any comments since July 9, perhaps he is no longer lonely.
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Old 08-08-23, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute

This, by the way, is something I’ve run across with just regular riders as well. I’ve done thousands of miles of solo touring and have gone days at a time without interacting with a single person. Even people riding my direction are completely uninterested in striking up conversations. A common theme in campgrounds is for me to spend an afternoon, an evening, and a morning in camp with no one at all approaching me. But let me break camp, get loaded, swing my leg over my bike, and start to push the pedal and it’s like I have a line at a New York deli asking me questions.
Maybe it was the time (early '80s for me) but my experience at campgrounds was different. People would stop by my campsite and ask all sorts of questions, and sometimes I'd get invited back to their camp for food and beer. People were a lot more friendly back then, in general.
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Old 08-08-23, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
A common theme in campgrounds is for me to spend an afternoon, an evening, and a morning in camp with no one at all approaching me. But let me break camp, get loaded, swing my leg over my bike, and start to push the pedal and it’s like I have a line at a New York deli asking me questions.
If only I had the proverbial dollar for every time that has happened.
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Old 08-08-23, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Neese
Maybe it was the time (early '80s for me) but my experience at campgrounds was different. People would stop by my campsite and ask all sorts of questions, and sometimes I'd get invited back to their camp for food and beer. People were a lot more friendly back then, in general.
Maybe it’s my prickly demeanor. Maybe it’s my smell (I shower regularly). Maybe they think I have a disease. Maybe it’s just that I’m too weird with the riding the bicycle thing, but I very few interactions with people at campgrounds over 40+ years. Sometimes it’s because I’m in the tent ghetto which is often 5 miles from everyone down behind the slash pile/dead animal pit back in the swamp, it’s hard to get people to come visit. I think they are afraid of the aligators.

Sometimes they put the tent ghetto over the curve of the earth. When the folks with the on-board bathrooms won’t walk 20 feet to the bath house…why do they have those on-board bathrooms anyway?…getting them to walk to the horizon ain’t gonna happen.




Why do campgrounds put the tent ghetto so far away from everything anyway?
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Old 08-08-23, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
..., it’s hard to get people to come visit.
I've found that people who meet plenty of other people on a trip and the ones that themselves approach the others.

That's where I have always had some difficulty. I was brought up with the message to not disturb others, so going towards others to strike up a conversation takes quite a bit of effort.
For those who have no trouble, it probably never crosses their mind that they might disturb.

Of course it doesn't help when the others make it apparent that I am disturbing them .
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Old 08-08-23, 11:39 AM
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One night I was staying inside the screened in picnic shelter at the Lions Club Park in Wisdom, MT. (If you know Wisdom in June then you know what mosquito hell is.) I was sititng on the picnic table reading a book and watching the moon set behind the snow-capped peaks. A woman drove through in a small-ish RV, took a look around and left. Maybe 30 min. later, and farther-daughter team comes off the mountain on a tandem. I met the woman a couple of days later in the laundry room at the Dillon KOA. She told me she was driving SAG for her husband and daughter who were riding the Trans Am route. I asked her if she had stayed in Wisdom. She told me they got the last motel room in town after she had checked out the town park and seen some weird guy there all alone. She looked really funny trying to pry her foot out of her mouth. In case we crossed paths again, I made it a point to explain to her that I was not some crazy loser that no one wanted to be around but rather on my way to visit my girlfriend who was interning at Mesa Verde N.P. in Cortez, CO.

During a week or so period I often camped or stayed in a hostel with a Mennonite couple from Portland, OR that was riding across the U.S. on a Bike Friday tandem. Totally different than me, but a really cool couple, nonetheless. The husband was keeping a log of all the different bird call he heard. Int the evenings, they took turns reading to each other in their tent, which happened to be the same make and model as mine. One amazing thing is that they looked some 15 years younger than they were. Must have been all that clean living. They were also incredibly strong riders. I was in pretty darn good shape. We left Breckenridge together and they dropped me for a time heading to Hoosier Pass. On a Bike Friday tandem. Towing the double stack Bike Friday suitcase as a gear trailer. I ended up digging deep and catching back up about .25 miles from the summit. We said our goodbyes in Fairplay as they headed east and I south.
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Old 08-08-23, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
The OP has not responded to any comments since July 9, perhaps he is no longer lonely.
Or they are really depressed and don't have the mental will to post.

I've thought about joining a riding club, but I have NO INTEREST in speed or road riding. So, once my life starts to be mine again (not caregiving my MIL with dementia) I will try to find a new tribe around something I like.

It's why I joined here. it's why I got on some FB groups local-ish to me for trail riding and I will start going to things they sponsor - like trail clean-up events. Group rides on trails. If I do that enough times, I'll start to know some people. Plus, people like people who HELP! I will at least start to be seen as someone useful to have around! LOL

I too have looked at some of these group rides and they are just too pricey. I'm not saying they aren't worth it, but they tend to offer way more than I need and then I'm paying for things I don't need.

But finding a tribe is only easy for some people, but it can be done! So don't give up hope!
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Old 08-08-23, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mams99
Or they are really depressed and don't have the mental will to post.
...
I will try to find a new tribe around something I like.
...
But finding a tribe is only easy for some people, but it can be done! So don't give up hope!
Welcome back.

I have done some touring with an old friend that I used to work with, we are both retired. And I have done some solo tours too.

Touring with someone else, there can be disagreements about menu, about how far to travel each day, virtually every decision can spark a disagreement. And, camp chores, who does what and who carries how much community gear, lots of opportunities for disagreement. And if one does not bring a GPS or a map, then the other has to stay close by to make sure that the other does not get lost. Companionship has its costs too, you have to be pretty good friends for it to work.

Solo, it can get lonely if you are the only one in the tent area of the campground. Or even lonelier if the drunk campers in the next site are having a party and use a leaf blower to get their bonfire bigger every time they throw more wood on it in the middle of the night when you want to sleep. But, the committee that makes decisions has only one member, so no arguments. Plans can change instantaneously.

Lots of advantages and disadvantages of both options.

My solo tours were my foreign ones and my domestic tours were with a friend.

If you are physically active, there also is hiking. And there are hiking groups, probably most such groups are informal that a few friends started and over time others joined or left. I backpacked in the 70s, and started doing that again in the past few years. At 69, I do not make a lot of miles every day, but it is a way to keep active and enjoy the wilderness. The hiking trails I have been on have a lot of other backpackers too. I will be doing another 100 miles in a few weeks on a backpacking trail, I am doing that solo but there will be others to talk to in the campsites most nights.

I do bike rides locally with a small group, very relaxed pace, all are retired. The guy that organizes where to ride each week, he was losing balance and crashed a few times, got hurt about 4 years ago, then he bought a trike. And this year added a motor to it. Normally I would not want to ride with a group of mixed muscle power and electric power, but the only one that has the motor is the organizer and at 85 years old, he needs the motor so I am happy to ride with him. Some weeks it is only a few people and some weeks we have trouble figuring out which restaurant to eat lunch at because we have so many people.

If there is a bike group like that near where you are, I have no suggestion on how to find them. The group I ride with, it was started a couple decades ago by people that retired from the same employer where I retired from, so it was easy to find them.

If there is a senior center nearby, there may be other things to do too.

The friend that I have bike toured with, he volunteers time about once a week at a bike charity. Is there something like that in your community?
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