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Solo tours and the soul

Old 05-23-03, 11:04 AM
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Solo tours and the soul

I think that I am psychologically a bike tourist, even though (so far) I havenít done many tours (and no multi day - solo tours). There is some kind of mental/psychological healing that happens to me on a solo ride thatís over 4 hours long.

I havenít had one of those rides in a couple of weeks. If I donít get one on some weekend soon, Iím going to have to play hooky during the week. I NEED MY FIX.

Do any of you tourists feel this way?
What is it about long rides that is so calming?
Is this effect more pronounced on multi day solo tours?
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Old 05-23-03, 01:56 PM
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I have to agree with you. I used to ride by myself all the time because I couldn't keep up with the group. I did a double century a couple of weeks ago with 3000 people. I was just laying in bed, ( i work midnights) trying to plan a trip, thinking about brevets and whether I wanted my husband to meet me at a central location. But I have got to get away. As soon as the holiday is over, I think I'm going on a 132 mile ride solo. I'll try to do it in one day, but will motel or B & B if I have to. So, it might be Indiania, Michigan or Ohio--but it will definately be a solo ride. Think I'll leave and go to REI and buy some Luna bars. I gotta get out of here.
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Old 05-23-03, 02:21 PM
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I find self-supported cycle touring is one of the most liberating experiences.
 
Old 05-23-03, 04:13 PM
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Agreed. I find solo touring to be just beautiful. What I love about it is that I can literally go wherever I like, I can see the things that I want to see. Yes, I know it's a little selfish, but isn't that the reason we tour to begin with?
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Old 05-23-03, 05:01 PM
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I think on a long ride it is all about a state of mind where your normal concerns are forgotten and you are able to appreciate the here and now.You also get into a kind of meditative state of mind where you can calmly think things through and actually seem to forget where you are for a while.Multiday selfcontained touring is even better as your main concern becomes your next meal in fact I try to recreate that feeling on long day rides.
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Old 05-23-03, 06:01 PM
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I have gone on four tours all from 3 to 35. I have no problem with solo touring. I think being alone would be good for the soul and you would not have to do any comprises. think such a tour would be shorter and in areas where a credit card tour is possible.
On my central California coast tour, I recall seing one cyclist who crossed the country alone(from upper New York to Monterrey, Calif.). Crossing some states he had problems. Harrassed because he was thought to be homeless. But he had a good time.
Maybe I will give it a try. Might be sort of intimidating if alone out where there are no support services for long distances.
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Old 05-23-03, 06:15 PM
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Its called "freedom" ........and i love it !


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Old 05-25-03, 07:50 PM
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I am a sociable guy and like people, but when it comes to bicycle touring, either solo or with a GOOD partner is fine with me.

In fact, in most cases, I prefer to tour alone. You can explore at your own pace, go fast, go slow, stop long at museums or pass sights by, pee when you want - all at your own whim. That is real vacationing to me.
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Old 06-06-03, 07:40 AM
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I have social anxiety disorder, so ALL of my tours and other types of riding are done solo. Bicycling is the BEST thing that ever happened for me!! Go at your own pace, stop when you want, go when/where you want, essentially no rules whatsoever other than common sense/courtesy etc. It's GREAT!!!

The group scene is fine for those who like that kind of thing but solo is where it's at for me!
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Old 06-06-03, 08:21 AM
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I have social anxiety disorder
Is that another name for "Being a loner"
I think that basically I'm a loner. I have to deal with people all day at work, and (of course) must be understanding at home. I do OK with all that, but I need to get out alone to recharge.

Henry David Thoreau said "There is no friend so amiable as solitude"
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Old 06-06-03, 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by RWTD
I think on a long ride it is all about a state of mind where your normal concerns are forgotten and you are able to appreciate the here and now.You also get into a kind of meditative state of mind where you can calmly think things through and actually seem to forget where you are for a while.Multiday selfcontained touring is even better as your main concern becomes your next meal in fact I try to recreate that feeling on long day rides.
Your description of what happens on a long ride is exactly what I experience. I never tried Multiday self-contained touring but after your description - I GOTA try it this year.
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Old 06-06-03, 08:35 AM
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OK - so I'm convinced that a multi-day solo tour would be a great thing for me psychologically.

Here's my only concern. I like being alone but I love my family. The last time I had to go on a business trip I missed them terribly. I know that business trips are not the same as a bike tour but I'm unsure about missing them (and they missing me).

After a couple of days and at least one night on tour, do you miss you family? Do you keep in touch by cell phone?
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Old 06-09-03, 12:51 AM
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I have always gone camping a couple of times a year by myself. Now I bring my bicycle. I haven't done any solo touring, but I do loops from the campground or hotel. As a female, I try to stay within 20-30 miles from my car. So, I'll leapfrog if I am going further distances. I don't miss my husband on day 1. On day 2, I start to get lonely. On days 3-5 or whenever I get home, I let him know how much he was missed. As a working mom with two girls who are only a year apart, I had to get away to chill out. My daughters have graduated from college and do not live at home. I find that I am closer to my husband and miss him more when I go away than I did 15 years ago. I call home every night and before I leave on the bicycle and when I return from the day's outing. I also have to travel on business ocassionally, and it is not the same thing. Hotels on business trips are lonely. I usually have books on tapes or cd's that I listen to when I'm by myself.
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Old 06-09-03, 02:08 AM
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Originally posted by MikeR
After a couple of days and at least one night on tour, do you miss you family? Do you keep in touch by cell phone?
Last year I sent e-mails to my mother every couple of days or so when I was in Victoria. In the past I've made phone calls from public phones whenever I've felt the need to do it. If you're going to use a mobile/cell phone, you need to be aware that there may not always be adequate coverage for one to actually work.

Of course, the other option is to do short tours. They can be a lot of fun if you choose your destination wisely. In fact, I recommend doing a shorter (2-3 day) tour before attempting a longer one - just to be sure that the experience suits you.
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Old 06-09-03, 05:15 AM
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Of course, the other option is to do short tours. They can be a lot of fun if you choose your destination wisely. In fact, I recommend doing a shorter (2-3 day) tour before attempting a longer one - just to be sure that the experience suits you.
You're way ahead of me! My BIG tour would only be 2 or 3 days max. I'm nowhere ready for anything longer, and I think that my family would rebel.
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Old 06-09-03, 03:48 PM
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I enjoy doing solo tours, but meeting up with people along the way, and mutually parting ways when we've had about enough of each other.

In 11 years of international travel, this method has always worked for me. I hate having my schedule dictated by someone else. Sometimes, I just don't feel like compromising (which is what I tend to do sometimes when I'm travelling with someone else, which is why it never lasts for me in the first place).

Solo travelling will always be my preference.


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Old 06-11-03, 08:46 AM
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I have to agree with Koffee. On my world tour, I did not ride with anyone else for as much as one day. Part of the joys of soilitude is the complete freedom to feel as happy or depressed as ya want, when ya want, and why ya want. Sometimes I am in no mood to have some pollyanna buddy to cheer me up!

The point of touring to me is not to talk, but to listen. And whom do we listen to the least? Ourselves. We are blasted 24-7 with the radio, TV, internet, other people in restaurants, on the road, in our own homes. When was the last time you just sat back in a lawn chair and relaxed your body and mind? Or had the prolonged runner's high that cyclists get for days?

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Old 06-11-03, 09:51 PM
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Originally posted by Roughstuff

The point of touring to me is not to talk, but to listen. And whom do we listen to the least? Ourselves. We are blasted 24-7 with the radio, TV, internet, other people in restaurants, on the road, in our own homes. When was the last time you just sat back in a lawn chair and relaxed your body and mind? Or had the prolonged runner's high that cyclists get for days?
Very, very well said.
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Old 06-11-03, 10:09 PM
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The thing is, everybody who travels on the bicycle is not normal. Simply because there are VERY FEW people from total population, who think it's OKAY to do something like this.
In addition to this, I comprehend, it is likely for this kind of persons to do OTHER things, not necesserly related to cycling, that are abnormal to general public.

(Idea originally heard from a respectful source, and I happen to agree with it).
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Old 06-12-03, 01:38 AM
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I like all of the above posts, and I used to love solo touring (still do). However now my fave is touring with my wife.

It's the only time we don't have anyone else about, and we can just be with each other. We find we don't argue or get upset, and the sharing of experiences on a tour is fantastic.

I think cycling is a very cathartic exercise. I know I cope better with my stressful job when I'm cycling, and I have a photograph of myself sitting beside a road near Appeldoorn in Holland, on a sunny day with the bikes standing against a tree behind me - I look at that photograph and can honestly say that is the happiest moment of my life so far. I was perfectly happy and contented. It was my first tour with my wife and that day was beautiful.
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Old 06-12-03, 04:08 AM
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Originally posted by Inoplanetyanin
In addition to this, I comprehend, it is likely for this kind of persons to do OTHER things, not necesserly related to cycling, that are abnormal to general public.

(Idea originally heard from a respectful source, and I happen to agree with it).
Do you think you might elaborate on what those things might be? And more importantly what that "respectful source" might be?
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Old 06-13-03, 08:29 PM
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Except for when I worked my own business as a bike tour guide, I generally have been a solo tourist. It is quite difficult to find someone to ride with you at exactly your own comfortable pace. I've read some travelogues where group members don't see each other for most of the day, but have plenty of stories to share in the evening. Seems like a good way to go, and I've done that sort of group touring as well, but with only one or two others.

Riding alone sure does give you a lot of time to think about things. My moods do swing, though. And when things get a little tougher, I get a little stubborner.

Having said that, when I rode Perth to Adelaide in '97 and on some other really scenic and interesting tours, I felt the biggest regret was not having someone there to share it with. Different perspectives. And if you are with someone else, there is more likelihood of stopping to smell the roses, rather than pressing on for the sake of distance.

FWIW

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Old 06-15-03, 10:16 PM
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Originally posted by Chris L
Do you think you might elaborate on what those things might be? And more importantly what that "respectful source" might be?
Other things:
the way this people look at safety, road safety in particular.
The way they look at conviniences, sleeping in the tent, personal hygene, etc.
They way they manage their time and make live decisions...
Living on the road for 2 years... et cetra...
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Old 06-16-03, 04:26 AM
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Originally posted by Inoplanetyanin
Other things:
the way this people look at safety, road safety in particular.
The way they look at conviniences, sleeping in the tent, personal hygene, etc.
They way they manage their time and make live decisions...
Living on the road for 2 years... et cetra...
Thank you for clearing that one up. You had me worried for a minute! For my views on the above, I think the best thing to do is read the Manic Street Preachers quote in my sig.
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Old 06-16-03, 11:10 AM
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Some of us in these parts go out roaming, on our bikes, for several days in the desert. That sets us apart from the rest of the population by almost biblical proportions.
Of course,we go out there when the vultures are less brave. By that I mean, you do not die of heat stroke within 45 minutes, that season being October through usually June.
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