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How many people do you think have done a cross-country tour

Old 03-23-09, 01:31 AM
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How many people do you think have done a cross-country tour

In the US, from ocean to ocean. Do you think it's 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? The "Is Bike Touring Becoming Boring" thread got me thinking.
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Old 03-23-09, 02:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Agentbolt
In the US, from ocean to ocean. Do you think it's 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? The "Is Bike Touring Becoming Boring" thread got me thinking.
My uneducated guess,...

1890's - 1975 - less than 500 total

1976 - 3,000 total

1977-1979 1,000 average

1980's - 1200-1500 p/year

1990's - 2,000 p/year (additional routes)

2000's 3,000 p/year (Steady TA with large increase in Southern Tier)

ACA map sales would be lower than these projections........

so,....

50,000 people
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Old 03-23-09, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
ACA map sales would be lower than these projections........

so,....

50,000 people
Probably as good a guess as I could make.

I wonder about the AC map sales comment though. You may be right, but it is hard to tell. On one hand I bet a lot of people buy the maps to dream and never go. On the other people improvise their own routes, share maps among a group or use second hand maps. I know we met at least one guy didn't have AC maps and I know of others who improvised their own route.

We for example were three riders sharing one map set. I wonder how it balances out between the maps shared or not needed and the maps not used.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Agentbolt
In the US, from ocean to ocean. Do you think it's 10,000? 50,000? 100,000? The "Is Bike Touring Becoming Boring" thread got me thinking.

Try not to think so much dude. Many, many people have done it and haven't written about it, or filmed it, or raised awareness for any cause, or expected anyone to give a ****. They did it just to do it.

If you're truly worried about bike touring becoming boring, go ride across the country and decide for yourself.
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Old 03-23-09, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
Probably as good a guess as I could make.

I wonder about the AC map sales comment though. You may be right, but it is hard to tell. On one hand I bet a lot of people buy the maps to dream and never go. On the other people improvise their own routes, share maps among a group or use second hand maps. I know we met at least one guy didn't have AC maps and I know of others who improvised their own route.

We for example were three riders sharing one map set. I wonder how it balances out between the maps shared or not needed and the maps not used.
That's why I did kind of a Card Sharks version with my guess. You come to your own best guess then adjust it to the number of the answer you think most people would give.

If we are correct, 50,000 people spead out over a 40 year span still makes it unique.

It would be interesting to compare the numbers of the group sponsored cross country cyclists (ACA, others) with the indivual tourists - Like you and the ladies.

Individual tourists would be less than half the total over the same 40 year period.
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Old 03-24-09, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1
On one hand I bet a lot of people buy the maps to dream and never go.
Guilty. I have several sets of ACA maps. I've only actually used my ones for the Northern Tier. The others are for future possibilities.
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Old 03-24-09, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
My uneducated guess,...
ACA map sales would be lower than these projections........

so,....

50,000 people
But - -

What about those people who have done it more than once?
I've ridden cross country 6 times; therefore,

49,995.
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Old 03-24-09, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
But - -

What about those people who have done it more than once?
I've ridden cross country 6 times; therefore,

49,995.
still counts as a cross country and you just wanted to brag
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Old 03-24-09, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
still counts as a cross country and you just wanted to brag
Nope.
It's six trips - but only one people.
Thus, I was obliged to reduce your estimate by 5.
;-) ;-) ;-)

PS - What about half trips?
Do two halves make a whole??
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Old 03-24-09, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
PS - What about half trips?
Do two halves make a whole??
I met several folks who were doing half one year and half another. I wonder how many of those there are. Off the top of my head I can think of about 4 that we met. Three were doing it that way by plan and one due to health problems (cancer diagnosed while on tour) stopping him. He was in remission when we met him and finishing after a several year interruption.
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Old 03-24-09, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
Nope.
It's six trips - but only one people.
Thus, I was obliged to reduce your estimate by 5.
;-) ;-) ;-)

PS - What about half trips?
Do two halves make a whole??
Forget half trips, that's quicksand. Q for you and Pete.

Your guess on the number who have circled the US in one trip, solo rider, with no sag support?
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Old 03-24-09, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom
Try not to think so much dude. Many, many people have done it and haven't written about it, or filmed it, or raised awareness for any cause, or expected anyone to give a ****. They did it just to do it.

If you're truly worried about bike touring becoming boring, go ride across the country and decide for yourself.
Who said I'm worried about it? I was merely curious, I'm obviously still doing it either way. It's not a question that's worth getting all worked up over.
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Old 03-24-09, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
Forget half trips, that's quicksand. Q for you and Pete.

Your guess on the number who have circled the US in one trip, solo rider, with no sag support?
I wasn't really suggesting we take half trips into the count, but do wonder how many do it in two parts.

On the perimeter tour count... I don't know but suspect it is a fairly small number. If I had to make a WAG it would between 15 and 50. That guess is based on absolutely nothing except gut feeling. Anyone have any actual info to base a guess on?

BTW: About 220 have run across the US. A handful of them did it in a somewhat similar fashion to bike touring, going self supported and carrying their gear in a baby jogger. We met one on the road in 2007 (Bjorn Suneson).

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Old 03-24-09, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
Forget half trips, that's quicksand. Q for you and Pete.

Your guess on the number who have circled the US in one trip, solo rider, with no sag support?
Eleventy-seven thousand, six hundred, and thirty-three?
Honestly, I have no idea.

On my first cross-country trip in the fall of 1987 I ran into a young guy heading westbound in Nebraska in October who was riding a three-speed and was wearing old wing-tipped leather shoes. He had a cheesy K-Mart backpack and slept in county jails when allowed. My guess is that people like him fall under the radar.

I like your numbers.
They are as good as any.

But it's like asking, "What's the temperature in Denver?"
That sounds like an easy question - - but - -
Downtown or DIA? Heat island effect? Windchill?
Etc., etc., etc.

Yeah, I know. I'm a contrarian.
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Old 03-24-09, 10:56 AM
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My observations from last summers Northern Tier trip. I didn't leave until August 10th. So based on that information I would have passed most riders that left around the middle of June. I was traveling West to East. I rode everyday. Now we have to assume that some slipped past me while I was eating/checking things out. I imagine that number would be very small. I chatted with pretty much everyone that I passed except for a few. That being said I didn't pass more than 15 riders the whole way that had planned on the whole trip.

With the above being said..... I think more travel West to East so those riders I wouldn't have come into much contact with. That being said..... Common camping sites with guest books didn't have many names in them. I think routes like the Northern are much less traveled. Based on the guest books and the looks of the locals when they asked where I was from and where I was going..... Most just shook head in amazement.

So the number for the Northern Tier is much lower than I thought it would be based on my experience. I'm guessing that the number of tourists last summer on the Northern Tier who started and completed the whole thing would be less than 100.

Very loose use of any real statistics of course....

Lots of guessing in the above estimate. So take what my thinking is with a big grain of salt. Even if you look at Crazyguy you will not find a large number of Northern Tier journals. On the other hand you find way more Trans America route journals.

Wow..... don't know if anything I just wrote really means anything.... ymmv
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Old 03-24-09, 11:02 AM
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On the US Perimeter tour... I just dug up a link that I had looked at a while back and it looks like one site that tries to track perimeter tours knows of 11. I am sure there are more that they don't know about though.
https://www.pbaa.com/Records/WorldRecords.htm#US
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Old 03-24-09, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by kyakdiver
My observations from last summers Northern Tier trip. .....
kyakdiver,
Journal or photos? Northern Tier is always interesting....

Originally Posted by staehpj1
On the US Perimeter tour... I just dug up a link that I had looked at a while back and it looks like one site that tries to track perimeter tours knows of 11. I am sure there are more that they don't know about though.
https://www.pbaa.com/Records/WorldRecords.htm#US
Nice folks at the pbaa but because those are the folks trying to break records, I'd think those numbers are very low.
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Old 03-24-09, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
kyakdiver,
Journal or photos? Northern Tier is always interesting....



Nice folks at the pbaa but because those are the folks trying to break records, I'd think those numbers are very low.
https://cid-e00965f6d68a35b2.skydrive...x/New%20folder

Airwick.... not much of a writer so my journal pretty much sucks. 500 plus pictures taken from the saddle from Anacortes, Wa to Portland, Maine.
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Old 03-24-09, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by kyakdiver
https://cid-e00965f6d68a35b2.skydrive...x/New%20folder

Airwick.... not much of a writer so my journal pretty much sucks. 500 plus pictures taken from the saddle from Anacortes, Wa to Portland, Maine.
beautiful!, very nice indeed.

Are the photos in order? that's like a postcard slideshow of your tour and very interesting.
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Old 03-24-09, 11:45 AM
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Yeppers... in order. Most from the saddle while on tour.
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Old 03-24-09, 11:45 AM
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Another data point is Gillian in Ordway. I think her records were that we were something like guest #78, 79, and 80 in 2007. That was July 23rd, so we were probably close enough to the end of the season that she probably had a bit over 100 or so total. I don't know what percentage of TA riders stayed with her though.

I will say that even though the TA is probably the most heavily traveled coast to coast route we still didn't meet hundreds of riders. A guess would be real rough, but we passed maybe 50-75 at most and not all were doing the whole route. Obviously some were missed because they started or finished their day earlier or later than us. Some were missed because they or we were inside when we passed. Also obviously many were ahead of or behind us going the same direction (W-E)

We also met lots of locals in small towns on the route who were surprised by what we were doing and had apparently not met any xc tourists before.

Initially I thought it was probably close, but the more I think about it the more I think Airwick's estimate may be on the high side.

Originally Posted by kyakdiver
My observations from last summers Northern Tier trip. I didn't leave until August 10th. So based on that information I would have passed most riders that left around the middle of June. I was traveling West to East. I rode everyday. Now we have to assume that some slipped past me while I was eating/checking things out. I imagine that number would be very small. I chatted with pretty much everyone that I passed except for a few. That being said I didn't pass more than 15 riders the whole way that had planned on the whole trip.

With the above being said..... I think more travel West to East so those riders I wouldn't have come into much contact with. That being said..... Common camping sites with guest books didn't have many names in them. I think routes like the Northern are much less traveled. Based on the guest books and the looks of the locals when they asked where I was from and where I was going..... Most just shook head in amazement.

So the number for the Northern Tier is much lower than I thought it would be based on my experience. I'm guessing that the number of tourists last summer on the Northern Tier who started and completed the whole thing would be less than 100.

Very loose use of any real statistics of course....

Lots of guessing in the above estimate. So take what my thinking is with a big grain of salt. Even if you look at Crazyguy you will not find a large number of Northern Tier journals. On the other hand you find way more Trans America route journals.

Wow..... don't know if anything I just wrote really means anything.... ymmv
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Old 03-24-09, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Airwick
Nice folks at the pbaa but because those are the folks trying to break records, I'd think those numbers are very low.
Maybe, but I think they at least tried to capture all perimeter tours. Still, I agree that the numbers are surely low since some just did it and kept it to themselves.
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Old 03-24-09, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1

Initially I thought it was probably close, but the more I think about it the more I think Airwick's estimate may be on the high side.
You dare question me, Sir?

Don' forget those sponsored tours (like ACA) take 100 riders at a time, or do they?
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Old 03-24-09, 12:21 PM
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No idea but if you include hobos, homeless, and many others who never journal or talk about it, it's probably a few 1000. The internet has a bad habit of forgetting any history before the mid 90s. It doesn't matter though, every single bicycle tour rather it be from coast to coast or within a single state is always a special adventure.

I guess a bigger debate is, do more people really tour, or is the fact the internet makes it seem that more people tour. An example is the Appalachian trail. More people than ever talk and blog about it but some statistics show the number of thru-hikers dropping each year.

Overall it doesn't matter, like I said, each trip is special and none is greater or lesser.....
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Old 03-24-09, 01:45 PM
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