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Guided or not?

Old 01-04-24, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute

It also takes a lot of courage to go out on your own. You are responsible for everything. That can be daunting for most people. Baked into our DNA, we scared little monkeys worried that leopards are going to eat us. Few people want to venture outside of the cave. Hereís a hint: there are no leopards
+1. Our local club used to have an annual travelogue night. The last time I gave a presentation on a tour I did in MT and ID, the first question I was asked was what group I had gone with. Many people were shocked when I told them I was solo with no support backup. I had to explain that things like planning camping locations and food sources takes some work, but the freedom is worth the effort.
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Old 01-13-24, 04:59 PM
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A guided tour vs going off by yourself or with another person, will cost roughly $2,000 more for the guided tour, and that is the one where you carry everything which is the least expensive.

I just got off the Adventure Cycling site and something has changed, and it's not for the good. Evidently, ACA will no longer do the unsupported Southern, Northern or Central paved tier route they will only do Van supported Southern tier if you want a cross country paved tour, which means the price is $10,000, which means if you go off by yourself you could save over $5,000.

So, it may come down to costs for you as to which way is best for you. Inflation is driving up the cost of these adventures by a huge margin, so if you want to go the sooner the better, the longer you wait the more it will cost.
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Old 01-13-24, 05:31 PM
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Scotty ain't around.
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Old 01-13-24, 07:37 PM
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What happened to Scotty?
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Old 01-13-24, 08:08 PM
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Haven't the foggiest mate
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Old 01-13-24, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by djb
Haven't the foggiest mate
Maybe he got beamed up.
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Old 01-14-24, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
...
I just got off the Adventure Cycling site and something has changed, and it's not for the good. Evidently, ACA will no longer do the unsupported Southern, Northern or Central paved tier route they will only do Van supported Southern tier if you want a cross country paved tour, which means the price is $10,000, which means if you go off by yourself you could save over $5,000.
....
I was unaware of that. I recently looked at their website, as I was going to suggest someone consider doing a different ACA self-supported (guided but no vehicle) trip that I had done over a decade ago and I noticed that trip was now done with van support instead of self-support too.

I wonder if this is a trend? Last April, I was touring with a friend with camping gear and a van supported ACA group was doing a very similar route as we were. I do not know if ACA had ever done that route as self-supported or not, so maybe that one was always done as van support?

Some of the bike manufacturers have dropped their dedicated touring bike models too. My most recent touring bike build was a Lynskey Backroad that I built up in 2017, that model has disappeared from their website. So, it might be part of a bigger trend that we just are not noticing.
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Old 01-14-24, 07:35 AM
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Of course not, much nicer to #ifindmyownroad.
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Old 01-14-24, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
I just got off the Adventure Cycling site and something has changed...
Observing over the decades, ACA has always evolved with the times. If a trip sold out early one year, they'd add additional date(s) the next. If sign-up was light, the trip could and often did get dropped from the organization's offerings.

In addition, the current management is focusing on the 'untoured', evangelizing to the touring curious and potential first-timers. They've started a big short tours and overnighters initiative and are funding under-represented demographic groups.
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Old 01-14-24, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by rekmeyata
A guided tour vs going off by yourself or with another person, will cost roughly $2,000 more for the guided tour, and that is the one where you carry everything which is the least expensive.

I just got off the Adventure Cycling site and something has changed, and it's not for the good. Evidently, ACA will no longer do the unsupported Southern, Northern or Central paved tier route they will only do Van supported Southern tier if you want a cross country paved tour, which means the price is $10,000, which means if you go off by yourself you could save over $5,000.

So, it may come down to costs for you as to which way is best for you. Inflation is driving up the cost of these adventures by a huge margin, so if you want to go the sooner the better, the longer you wait the more it will cost.
ACA hasnít run an unsupported Northern Tier tour in a long time. It did at least one van supported version a while back. A friend of mine crewed it.
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Old 01-14-24, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
ACA hasnít run an unsupported Northern Tier tour in a long time. It did at least one van supported version a while back. A friend of mine crewed it.
A friend of mine rode Northern Tier with ACA, self-support in 2017. I have never had an interest in it so I have not been following that route. So, that was the last I knew anything about it.

Maybe the post-covid market has changed and we have not figured that out yet?
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Old 01-14-24, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by tcs
Observing over the decades, ACA has always evolved with the times. If a trip sold out early one year, they'd add additional date(s) the next. If sign-up was light, the trip could and often did get dropped from the organization's offerings.

In addition, the current management is focusing on the 'untoured', evangelizing to the touring curious and potential first-timers. They've started a big short tours and overnighters initiative and are funding under-represented demographic groups.
Maybe, but they always said those routes across the US were their most popular and consistently booked up, but maybe with prices going way up not enough signed up? If a trip was booked they always showed the trip but then said it was booked up for the season.

I went to a bunch of touring places and all the prices have gone way up for all the trips but the cross country unsupported were $14,000 to $27,000! ACA always was the least expensive, and still is, but the prices have gone way up. What's really strange, you can do bike touring in Europe for half the cost that it is in America?!
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Old 01-15-24, 02:50 PM
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Lots of thoughts and ideas here. That's why I asked. But, in general, I'm all for going it alone. Tours are expensive - most use B&Bs and inns and that drives up the price. And true, the planning done for you, but it's somebody else's plan, and there are limited options for deviation. I prefer to go alone. Getting stuck with people who are annoyances or ego freaks is the worst. There are some exotic tours I'd consider, but I probably couldn't afford them anyway. If I'm going to ride the GAP or Erie Canal, I'll do it alone. But that's not to say I wouldn't enjoy meeting up with youse somewhere on the trail. Thanks everybody for your thoughts!
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Old 01-15-24, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotty0424
.... If I'm going to ride the GAP or Erie Canal, I'll do it alone. But that's not to say I wouldn't enjoy meeting up with youse somewhere on the trail. Thanks everybody for your thoughts!
If you are doing the GAP or C&O, there is a guidebook available for it. But I did it over a decade ago so I can't say how much we relied on the guildebook. But I did buy it and spent some quality time with it.
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Old 01-15-24, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
A friend of mine rode Northern Tier with ACA, self-support in 2017. I have never had an interest in it so I have not been following that route. So, that was the last I knew anything about it.

Maybe the post-covid market has changed and we have not figured that out yet?
Iím surprised it ran an unsupported NT that late.

I think there are a lot of factors at play, including an older population looking to rough it less. Time. Weíre busier than ever and have less free time. Availability of leaders who can make themselves available for 3 straight months to lead a cross country trip. Expense for reasons you might not consider. On that frontÖ1/3 of our 1999 NT group had either just finished school or were going to. (One was about to start her final year of college.) With the current expense of a higher education and the pressure to get a good job right out of school, how many young folks are willing to and able to make the financial commitment required for a long trip and then have to start a job search? Camping costs have also increased, even pre-pandemic. I just looked at a federal place in MT that I last stayed at in 2019. Itís $32/night now. Donít remember what it was in 2019, but it wasnít nearly that high. I remember seeing a notice about proposed fee increases at recreation area posted on a board. Some of the proposed new fees were double the existing fees. A lot a private places are also now very expensive, which I do attribute to the pandemic. I looked at a KOA in NY for a 2021 tour that I had used in 2018. The price had nearly tripled to over $100 for a night on a weekday. Hard pass. Went off route a few miles that included a big hill and still paid $45 with a cash discount. I was maybe one of 3 occupied sites. Nice site, though. Keep in mind that ACA needs to turn a ďprofit.Ē

I would also bet that the availability of on-line route planning tools has an effect. In 1998-99, I was one of a relative few at a large company that had Internet access. I had no home computer. And things like RWGP didnít exist, as far as I know anyway. Did Google Maps even exist?

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Old 01-15-24, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Scotty0424
Lots of thoughts and ideas here. That's why I asked. But, in general, I'm all for going it alone. Tours are expensive - most use B&Bs and inns and that drives up the price. And true, the planning done for you, but it's somebody else's plan, and there are limited options for deviation. I prefer to go alone. Getting stuck with people who are annoyances or ego freaks is the worst. There are some exotic tours I'd consider, but I probably couldn't afford them anyway. If I'm going to ride the GAP or Erie Canal, I'll do it alone. But that's not to say I wouldn't enjoy meeting up with youse somewhere on the trail. Thanks everybody for your thoughts!
don't know if you have ever done any bike touring before, why don't you elaborate. On your own certainly is the cheapest way to go, which is why I'm sure why probably all of us started out this way, plus you can choose how far you want to go depending on how you are feeling.
I've only done the French Canadian Velo Quebec supported trips (sleeping in our tent) , but like I said, only because my wife was keen on it due to her needing to feel shepherded. Also, these trips were waaaaay less expensive than most I have read about. I can't really fathom the costs of some of them.
Even when I was starting out touring, even with trips to Europe, once the flight was paid, camping and eating store bought food was pretty much the same cost as being at home, almost, so easy to do multi week trips even on a lowish budget.
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Old 01-15-24, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Iím surprised it ran an unsupported NT that late.

I think there are a lot of factors at play, including an older population looking to rough it less. Time. Weíre busier than ever and have less free time. Availability of leaders who can make themselves available for 3 straight months to lead a cross country trip. Expense for reasons you might not consider. On that frontÖ1/3 of our 1999 NT group had either just finished school or were going to. (One was about to start her final year of college.) With the current expense of a higher education and the pressure to get a good job right out of school, how many young folks are willing to and able to make the financial commitment required for a long trip and then have to start a job search? Camping costs have also increased, even pre-pandemic. I just looked at a federal place in MT that I last stayed at in 2019. Itís $32/night now. Donít remember what it was in 2019, but it wasnít nearly that high. I remember seeing a notice about proposed fee increases at recreation area posted on a board. Some of the proposed new fees were double the existing fees. A lot a private places are also now very expensive, which I do attribute to the pandemic. I looked at a KOA in NY for a 2021 tour that I had used in 2018. The price had nearly tripled to over $100 for a night on a weekday. Hard pass. Went off route a few miles that included a big hill and still paid $45 with a cash discount. I was maybe one of 3 occupied sites. Nice site, though.
I noticed the increased too, but not bad in Indiana just to tent camp in a primitive site at a state park will cost you here in Indiana $7 just to get into the entrance if your from Indiana and $10 if you're not, then the primitive site will cost $12, so if your out of state it will cost you $22.

One thing I did notice, maybe because of my age? or on a bike? or I'm a state resident, or all three??? is that every campground I went to so far in Indiana they waved the gate entrance fee. So far other states I've gone to did not wave that fee.

Don't forget, senior citizen pass holders (age 62 and older) receive free lifetime entrance to federal sites that charge Entrance and Standard Amenity fees (Day use fees). Pass holders also receive a 50% discount on fees at federal campgrounds. Pass valid for the lifetime of the pass holder. The lifetime pass will cost $80.

If you are younger but disabled, you can qualify for lifetime pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States that have been medically determined to have a permanent disability (does not have to be a 100% disability),that provides admittance to more than 2,000 recreation sites managed by six Federal agenciesĒ is only $10. That pass is called the Access Pass.

There is also BLM land in some parts of America, most campgrounds have use fees ranging from $4.00 to $10.00 per unit per night. Camping is allowed on Public Lands in California for no more than a period of 14 days within any period of 28 consecutive days. Not sure what other states charge or time limits are but anyone wanting to know can google it. In California you will have very strict fire rules, and it is critical to obey those rules or you will get a hefty fine which the cost of that fine could have bought you night at a very nice hotel.
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Old 01-16-24, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Iím surprised it ran an unsupported NT that late.

I think there are a lot of factors at play, including an older population looking to rough it less. Time. Weíre busier than ever and have less free time. Availability of leaders who can make themselves available for 3 straight months to lead a cross country trip. Expense for reasons you might not consider. On that frontÖ1/3 of our 1999 NT group had either just finished school or were going to. (One was about to start her final year of college.) With the current expense of a higher education and the pressure to get a good job right out of school, how many young folks are willing to and able to make the financial commitment required for a long trip and then have to start a job search? Camping costs have also increased, even pre-pandemic. I just looked at a federal place in MT that I last stayed at in 2019. Itís $32/night now. Donít remember what it was in 2019, but it wasnít nearly that high. I remember seeing a notice about proposed fee increases at recreation area posted on a board. Some of the proposed new fees were double the existing fees. A lot a private places are also now very expensive, which I do attribute to the pandemic. I looked at a KOA in NY for a 2021 tour that I had used in 2018. The price had nearly tripled to over $100 for a night on a weekday. Hard pass. Went off route a few miles that included a big hill and still paid $45 with a cash discount. I was maybe one of 3 occupied sites. Nice site, though. Keep in mind that ACA needs to turn a ďprofit.Ē

I would also bet that the availability of on-line route planning tools has an effect. In 1998-99, I was one of a relative few at a large company that had Internet access. I had no home computer. And things like RWGP didnít exist, as far as I know anyway. Did Google Maps even exist?
My friend that rode Northern Tier that year (2017) was getting his bike ready for the trip, and the rear brifter quit working. He asked me about bar end shifters, I let him try one of my bikes with bar ends, he had them installed on his bike before that trip. Later I heard that on that trip, the guide's bike had the same problem. A bike shop got her rear brifter to work again, it lasted for crossing a few state lines and died again. She finished the tour with a three speed bike, she had a triple crank for her three speeds. Self-supported can mean you have to keep with your itinerary, even if the mechanicals happen. When I did Glacier Waterton loop with ACA (self-supported) one rider had a front derailleur break, one bottom bracket crapped out. I fixed the derailleur with some bunge cord. But could do nothing for the bottom bracket, he rode with a bad bottom bracket for two days to get to a bike shop where the parts had been shipped to.

My Canada trip in 2019, I was paying two or three times as much for campsites as I paid in Iceland. In Iceland, they have a big open area and charge per person, but in Canada (like USA) you have to rent an entire campsite. The site below on my Canada trip was a KOA, cost a fortune even though it was tiny and did not have enough grassy area for me to put up my tent on grass. It quit raining long enough for me to get my tent up.



Internet and GPS has really changed things for bike touring. I bought my first GPS in 2001. It had no internal map or mapping capability, but having it meant that if I was kayaking towards an island on Lake Superior, I did not have to worry about paddling past the island in the fog. I manually put the lat and long coordinates for the campsites into the GPS from a nautical chart before my trip. In the photo below, that day I started out with a clear sky before the fog rolled in. This was on Lake Superior, and had no trouble navigating, was unusually calm for Lake Superior.

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Old 01-16-24, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN
If you are doing the GAP or C&O, there is a guidebook available for it. But I did it over a decade ago so I can't say how much we relied on the guildebook. But I did buy it and spent some quality time with it.
The GAP has a great website. You can get pretty much all the information you need without a book.

https://gaptrail.org
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Old 01-22-24, 07:14 AM
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I'm getting back into bikepacking after a long spell away. I did three months in Europe 26 years ago, a week in Utah and shorter trips around New England. I'm taking it easy this time,, doing rail trails and canal paths. Nothing terribly challenging at 74. I see a million groups wanting to sell a GAP trip etc. for 1000-2000 dollars. I can doi it myself for much less. Just wonder if anyone saw value in organized tours - especially in US - or if they're glorified babysitters. And it's pot luck whether the companions will be good people or nuts or whiners. So if you see an old guy pedaling by himself, it might be me.
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Old 01-22-24, 07:24 AM
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You can do something like the GAP for much less if you want to make your own arrangements, carry your own gear and feed yourself. Some people would rather pay to have that all taken care of for them. To each their own.
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Old 01-22-24, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Scotty0424
I'm getting back into bikepacking after a long spell away. I did three months in Europe 26 years ago, a week in Utah and shorter trips around New England. I'm taking it easy this time,, doing rail trails and canal paths. Nothing terribly challenging at 74. I see a million groups wanting to sell a GAP trip etc. for 1000-2000 dollars. I can doi it myself for much less. Just wonder if anyone saw value in organized tours - especially in US - or if they're glorified babysitters. And it's pot luck whether the companions will be good people or nuts or whiners. So if you see an old guy pedaling by himself, it might be me.
Was your mind made up, that cost trumps everything, before you started this thread?
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Old 01-22-24, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
Was your mind made up, that cost trumps everything, before you started this thread?
Well, not exactly. But I'll admit I was biased against group tours, and I wanted to see if there were any good reasons for doing it, at least domestically. So far, no change in my opinons.
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Old 01-23-24, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by
[img
https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikeforums.net-vbulletin/922x691/20imgp5157_1cfd3741c5454142a93c34fbdec3006e2581dc4e.jpg[/img]

Internet and GPS has really changed things for bike touring. I bought my first GPS in 2001. It had no internal map or mapping capability, but having it meant that if I was kayaking towards an island on Lake Superior, I did not have to worry about paddling past the island in the fog. I manually put the lat and long coordinates for the campsites into the GPS from a nautical chart before my trip. In the photo below, that day I started out with a clear sky before the fog rolled in. This was on Lake Superior, and had no trouble navigating, was unusually calm for Lake Superior.
Too many caravans around there in the picture..... ))
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