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Is Bike Touring in Decline?

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Is Bike Touring in Decline?

Old 10-21-23, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
I can show you oodles of miles of paved back roads with almost zero traffic.
Here's one in northern Indiana - Old Trail Road.
The main highway is 4-lane US 30. Big, fast, and ugly.
The previous road, Old US 30, was the Lincoln Highway. Somewhat busy.
Old Trail Road was the main highway before 1930.
I am 100% sure that there are thousands of miles/km of little roads without traffic. but looking around I have the feeling people don't use them, or do not show them.

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Old 10-22-23, 12:05 AM
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Before I forgot this page: https://bikepacking.com

To me a joy to visit, visually very appealing.
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Old 10-22-23, 02:50 AM
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I don't necessarily think it's in decline, but has just changed. Instead of people doing long tours, they're much shorter and maybe slightly closer to home. I know for myself and my friends, we can't take off for long tours as we have work and family commitments. But we all manage a couple of long weekends-week long bikepacking trips every year. And we see a lot of others doing the same when we're out.

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Old 10-22-23, 03:13 AM
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Here in Japan it’s still going strong. The popular touring routes are busy, campgrounds are getting crowded. There are parts of Hokkaido which derive a lot of business from cycle tourists, and the ferry traffic between Rishiri and Rebun islands is largely made up of cycle tourists. It’s crowded enough that I find myself looking for less busy places to ride.
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Old 10-22-23, 07:26 AM
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Yes, it is in decline, along with so many other hobbies that boomed during the 1970s and 1980s thanks to the post-war Boomer generation - motorcycling, skiing, bowling, etc... Some folks from subsequent generations were also attracted to cycling, but some created their own hobby communities around skateboarding, snowboarding, gaming, one-wheels, etc...

I'd also think that the change in our physical world has had something to do with it. More people live in car-centric suburbs than ever before, and many miles of quiet farm roads adjacent to population centers has been replaced by strip malls and stroads; what beginner cyclist would want to roll out of their garage to that?

Thankfully, the rail-trail and bike path/MUP trend continues to grow. Hopefully, more people will discovery the activity that we all love.

Last edited by john m flores; 10-22-23 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 10-22-23, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by john m flores

I'd also think that the change in our physical world has had something to do with it. More people live in car-centric suburbs than every before, and many miles of quiet farm roads adjacent to population centers has been replaced by strip malls and stroads; what beginner cyclist would want to roll out of their garage to that?.
I remember one of the big building boom (the 90s) outside of Philly. A large suburban club used to have an event every spring that was a relatively easy drive from the city and routed you by cornfields early on.

Then it seemed every year another cornfield became a housing development. It got so the beginning and the end of the route was not fun. One reason the club scrapped the ride for a new one that started much farther out.
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Old 10-22-23, 08:18 AM
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I rode on the Adige River trail in July, 2023. This trail is part of Eurovelo 7 that runs from Malta (Sicily, really) north to Norway. It is an off-road paved trail that follows the Adige river from Verona over the Reichen Pass (where the Adige ends) and then goes in to Austria. I saw hundreds of people riding on the path carrying gear. Most of them were on e-bikes and looked to be doing credit-card touring.

If anything, it seems like more people (in Italy, at least) are traveling by bicycle.
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Old 10-22-23, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by str
I have no time to read for hours about a tour from Barcelona to Lisbon, filled with concrete city scapes, cars and 10m wide roads.
Funny you should mention this, as we are (were? ) considering doing this. Starting in Lisbon, where we (Wife, 13 yo daughter and I ) will be in June, and riding to Barcelona where we'd take a plane back home. Q&D routing along the coast suggests the following. I'd say in 45 days or so. Not good?

FWIW, I took a look at bikepacking.com for routes in Spain. This is tempting... Life is definitely too short.
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Old 10-22-23, 02:59 PM
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Seems there are plenty of YT's of folks doing touring. As others have stated, many have migrated to bike packing using mt. bikes. Lots of useful gear to facilitate bikes that are hard to mount panniers on. As well, fewer manufactures it seems making old school dedicated tourers.
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Old 10-22-23, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Funny you should mention this, as we are (were? ) considering doing this. Starting in Lisbon, where we (Wife, 13 yo daughter and I ) will be in June, and riding to Barcelona where we'd take a plane back home. Q&D routing along the coast suggests the following. I'd say in 45 days or so. Not good?

FWIW, I took a look at bikepacking.com for routes in Spain. This is tempting... Life is definitely too short.
If this is the kind of you want to see on your trip your on the right road.

https://maps.app.goo.gl/8Mxqx5dbrUdu4USo9

You know that your route is all along the coast? Yes of course you know... means: cycling through endless tourist urbanisations, tourist villages and cities what live from tourists. your route also moves a lot on national roads, means a lot of traffic. of course you also will find nice places, but in general you will move inbetween holiday cities and resorts. I would leave the coast and move 30-50km inland, there you will be alone and see nice rural Spain, from little villages to littles villages. did you plan that route? if your into route planing, for example with RIDEwithGPS you can do something mucho more attractive. tomorrow I give you some tips and places.
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Old 10-22-23, 06:18 PM
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I rode Lisbon to Barcelona keeping to the coast a few years ago. Portugal is fine except that the roads are mostly a bit inland, but as others have said, the coast of Spain is horrible. The tourist complexes have spread and merged into each other, tomato plantations under a sea of plastic cover huge areas, and traffic is dense.

It used to be beautiful. Late 70’s, early 80’s, I lived on the road, hitch-hiking for six years mostly around the Mediterranean. It makes me sad to see what has happened to the place I used to call ”home”.

Here's screenshot of an inland route from close to Barcelona to Seville I reconstructed in google maps from the cover of a guide book by a dutch tourer. I'll see if I can find the name of the book. It was recommended to me by a couple I met on the road last year.
From Barcelona I would recommend taking the local train to Igualada. It's part of the "metro" system so you just roll your bike on with you.



And the links to Google Maps:
Igualada to Barrax
Barrax to Seville

Last edited by imi; 10-22-23 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 10-22-23, 07:52 PM
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I must be getting old...

And maybe just a bit WISER??? I no longer wish to be on the road with cars... and I'll go out of my way to find routes that minimize.or.eliminate.altogether any potential car "danger". The kind of touring I dream about nowadays involves dirt roads, trails, trains, ferries, off-the-beaten-path roads, even unconventional byways.. Half the fun is devising ways to get from point A to B without encountering cars. That's.my kind of adventure touring.

And the payoff always seems to include some of the most amazing and interesting sights.

And while I don't actually DO as much touring these days, I NEVER STOP DREAMING about it. The fire will always burn.

☮️
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Old 10-22-23, 10:16 PM
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I'm not sure why this thread started.
Is it because if bike touring dwindles there will be less touring products?
There are less people doing the activity so less company on the road?
People still touring will be mocked for their out of date style? (jk)
I was touring (80s) when the sport was hardly known, so it's relative to me. Touring or bikepacking is stronger than ever. I don't care what you call it or what baggage you use.
Well established bike routes are more crowded than ever. There are numerous travellers going through my town daily where 10 years ago there were practically none. There are more touring bikes available. I would also point out that there is much more touring specific gear.
Again, I started when touring gear/bikes/clothing were very hard to find.
The style of bike, baggage, clothes is irrelevant. Multi day trips on self propelled 2 (3) wheels is touring regardless of the latest fad.

Last edited by MarcusT; 10-22-23 at 10:19 PM.
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Old 10-23-23, 06:34 AM
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I agree with others here that traditional on-road touring is less now, but off-road touring is booming, so touring in general is def not in decline.
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Old 10-23-23, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Funny you should mention this, as we are (were? ) considering doing this. Starting in Lisbon, where we (Wife, 13 yo daughter and I ) will be in June, and riding to Barcelona where we'd take a plane back home. Q&D routing along the coast suggests the following. I'd say in 45 days or so. Not good?

FWIW, I took a look at bikepacking.com for routes in Spain. This is tempting... Life is definitely too short.
I rode Lisbon to Girona a few years ago and was amazing but I also stayed away from the coast. My routes generally avoid main tourist areas especially coast roads. My route stayed on quiet secondary roads. Lisbon, Madrid, Zaragoza ending in Girona avoiding Barcelona.
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Old 10-23-23, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Funny you should mention this, as we are (were? ) considering doing this. Starting in Lisbon, where we (Wife, 13 yo daughter and I ) will be in June, and riding to Barcelona where we'd take a plane back home. Q&D routing along the coast suggests the following. I'd say in 45 days or so. Not good?

FWIW, I took a look at bikepacking.com for routes in Spain. This is tempting... Life is definitely too short.
I would cycle in the red lines I placed you in the map. I also placed some circle around cities. but there are so many nice places. stay away from the coast. its too busy!

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Old 10-23-23, 08:12 AM
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Stay away from NATIONAL ROADS, only use them if needed to ""connect"" little WHITE or YELLOW roads. Even the YELLOW Roads from time to time are wide ones, but not so much traffic as the RED NATIONAL Roads. See the second screenshot in this post, right upper corner OSM Cycle map, in RIDEwithGPS.
Plan your rout on the little WHITE roads, there you will have the most peaceful and beautiful trip. Of course it will be harder from time to time, but lightyears more beautiful than riding on the coast. Next level would then be to build a route with the ""double discontinuous"" lines, that's off road, of course harder and more time consuming.

What else?
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Old 10-23-23, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by str





Stay away from NATIONAL ROADS, only use them if needed to ""connect"" little WHITE or YELLOW roads. Even the YELLOW Roads from time to time are wide ones, but not so much traffic as the RED NATIONAL Roads. See the second screenshot in this post, right upper corner OSM Cycle map, in RIDEwithGPS.
Plan your rout on the little WHITE roads, there you will have the most peaceful and beautiful trip. Of course it will be harder from time to time, but lightyears more beautiful than riding on the coast. Next level would then be to build a route with the ""double discontinuous"" lines, that's off road, of course harder and more time consuming.

What else?
Thanks for your input. I'll look into this. The route I posted is essentially eurovelo 8. I am a bit surprised at the negative reaction, but haven't done my homework yet. I am also a bit concerned about the weather as we're planning this in July.
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Old 10-23-23, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
Thanks for your input. I'll look into this. The route I posted is essentially eurovelo 8. I am a bit surprised at the negative reaction, but haven't done my homework yet. I am also a bit concerned about the weather as we're planning this in July.
I cycle Spain since 30 years (no arrogance) ... I know most places. these are nice places on the coast, but in general it's what I wrote before. so cycling on the coast will take a lot of planing in detail. while if you stay away from the coast, you can use nearly all roads (skipping the NATIONAL ones).

July in the south? ))) be prepared! +30-40Celsius! or at times even a bit more than +40C

but also for that there is a solution, cycle the north of Spain, very nice, and moderate temperatures.

take a look: North of Spain
https://stefanrohner.exposure.co/burgosleoncantabria
https://www.flickr.com/photos/427437...77720310841375
https://www.flickr.com/photos/427437...57685126473684


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Old 10-23-23, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by gauvins
I am also a bit concerned about the weather as we're planning this in July.
The summer weather in southern europe has gone bonkers. July and August could well get up to 40 degrees… and/or huge thunderstorms and torrential rain for days on end.

September has always been my favourite month near the mediterranean. Less holiday makers and often lower costs at camps. However at the end of September many places close down.

Not trying to put you off. If it’s 35 plus degrees, I get up and away at first light to enjoy the cool morning ride, then take it easy later in the day. A good tent for rainy days.

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Old 10-23-23, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by str
… but also for that there is a solution, cycle the north of Spain,ä
Yeah, but trying to follow the northern coast is brutal.
Google maps says Donastia-San-Sebastian to Santiago de Compostela, 811 km, is 9654 m of elevation.

Last edited by imi; 10-23-23 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 10-23-23, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by imi
Yeah, but trying to follow the northern coast is brutal climbing.

come on, some suffering ... its climbing, but not brutal I would say.
ok, if you do Angliru or the Machucos then it gets a bit brutal ,))))
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Old 10-23-23, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by str
come on, some suffering ... its climbing, but not brutal I would say.
ok, if you do Angliru or the Machucos then it gets a bit brutal ,))))
Haha! Yes, not brutal as in just steep, but ”never ending”. You are crossing mountain ranges lengthwise, not just popping over the Pyrenees


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Old 10-23-23, 09:10 AM
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[QUOTE=imi;23049937]Haha! Yes, not brutal as in just steep, but ”never ending”. You are crossing mountain ranges lengthwise, not just popping over the Pyrenees

/QUOTE]

Is this on the coast, or inland?
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Old 10-23-23, 09:16 AM
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[QUOTE=str;23049958]
Originally Posted by imi
Haha! Yes, not brutal as in just steep, but ”never ending”. You are crossing mountain ranges lengthwise, not just popping over the Pyrenees

/QUOTE]

Is this on the coast, or inland?
As close to the coast as possible. I did it some 30 years ago. To actually get to coastal towns you often have to wind down long roads that are steeper than the route itself… meaning in the morning climbing out of there is the way your day starts… before you’ve even gotten anywhere (if you know what I mean?)

Sorry, Komoot led me astray. Here's a google map close to the coast... so not so brutal




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