Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.
View Poll Results: Has interest in touring increased
Yes, I am noticing it
56.52%
No it's about the same
30.43%
Maybe
13.04%
Voters: 46. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-10-12, 02:50 AM
  #1  
12bar
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Popularity

Maybe it's just me but I feel like the interest in bicycle touring is growing. The folks at my LBS are getting about 4 to 6 inquires a week. They have even decided to put a 520 on the floor and set up a touring display.
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Old 08-10-12, 05:19 AM
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SkippyX
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Maybe it's all those retiring baby boomers. (shrug)
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Old 08-10-12, 05:58 AM
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mev
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I would say it is about the same. Google trends shows a yearly cycle on bike related search terms:
http://www.google.com/trends/?q=bicy...ate=all&sort=0
http://www.google.com/trends/?q=bicy...ate=all&sort=0
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Old 08-10-12, 10:17 AM
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Depends on where you live.. , Oregon and Pacific coast, sees people from around the world.

in the drier quarter of the year..

But The LBS rarely sells Touring bikes, does quite a few receive and setups
before starting
and re boxing at the western end of completed transcontinental tours
of bikes people already own.

A friend got a good price on a transcontinental tourist's bike , who upon arriving said

"i never want to see this bike again" and sold it..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-10-12 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 08-10-12, 12:17 PM
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When I ordered my Surly from my LBS I had to wait a couple weeks to pay it off. In that few weeks the shop was showing my bike to interested persons (it was hanging in the back of the shop). While I was there visiting my new baby Many people became very interested in it and asked me and the shop owner all about touring by bike. Most people at this shop are road racers/riders and seeing a bike set up so diferently was catching their eyes LOL.

I think this was the first Surly DT in the shop because all the machanics where crawling all over it
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Old 08-10-12, 12:51 PM
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It does depend where you live. Back in Australia ... a few cycletourists. Here in Europe ... lots of cycletourists.
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Old 08-10-12, 01:27 PM
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I think fully supported touring as part of an organized group is becoming more popular. Unsupported touring, probably holding steady. Nothing to back this up, though.
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Old 08-10-12, 02:28 PM
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B. Carfree
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It depends on your time frame. I was part of the cycling boom of the '60s/'70s that included an increased interest in touring (as well as every other aspect of cycling). I watched in dismay as the cyclists of all stripes disappeared in the '80s. Clearly, the past decade has seen a resurgence; we seem to be in the early stages of the third bicycle boom in America. Roadways that I used to vainly search for cyclists on I now regularly see cyclists of many sorts. I am amazed at the growth of supported touring as well as the massive increase in participation of organized "event" rides. I really didn't see those things coming. Heck, there's even people riding in the south, which, as I recall, was pretty rare even at the height of the last cycling boom.

Interestingly enough, the ages of the cyclists I see (touring, distance riding, utility riding) is not evenly spread across the population. There are lots of fellow Baby Boomers, not surprising since we were the ones who were the primary participants in the prior bike boom, and there are lots of youngsters in their late teens/twenties, which also makes sense since folks in that age bracket are notorious early adopters/trend setters. However, the post-boomer folks, those born between 1965 and 1985 or so, seem to be rarely seen on bikes, at least by me.
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Old 08-10-12, 02:32 PM
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It took me a long time to find a 520 in my area. But they said that was because there was not a lot of call for them here.
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Old 08-10-12, 03:05 PM
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Totally anecdotal, but based on the perception gained form using Pacific Northwest Hiker/biker campsites for the last 40 years; I believe there are slight annual increased in the amount of usage by touring cyclist on the Oregon Coastal route. However, there are so many variables such as year, season, weather etc ; that this perception is not very meaningful.

However, this discussion did trigger an idea-- Our State Parks and Recreation Department should be able to come up with trends on hiker/biker campsite use in State Parks.
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Old 08-10-12, 05:27 PM
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One of the reasons for the poll is because after retiring in Jan of this year I started working a couple of day a week in my LBS just to help them keep up with repairs and I like hanging around there anyway. Most days I ride my LHT to the shop fully loaded as practice for a couple of upcoming tours. It was really interesting to see the reaction most of the customers have to the bike, even the hard core roadies or triathletes were at least curious and many said they would love to do a tour. I even let a couple of the ones that I know well take the beast out for a ride, they were all impressed how stable it was and they really didn't notice the weight like they thought they would. When I was talking to them about touring you could see that far away look in their eyes dreaming of just riding, camping and being care free. I think we are on the the leading edge of another touring surge but thats just my humble opinion.
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Old 08-10-12, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 12bar View Post
Most days I ride my LHT to the shop fully loaded as practice for a couple of upcoming tours. It was really interesting to see the reaction most of the customers have to the bike, even the hard core roadies or triathletes were at least curious and many said they would love to do a tour.
One of my favorite bike shops was Wheelworks in Davis, CA. When they started out, they stocked a full range of both performance bikes/parts and touring bikes and gear. As the '80s wore on, they moved more and more towards handling only true road bikes. However, the owner never lost his love for touring bikes. One day I stopped in on my commuter/touring bike ('81 Trek 720) which had fenders, tri-cross tires for the ten miles of mud on my 45-mile RT commute, front and rear racks (only bags on the rear that day), generator and lights and a full complement of mud. The owner was beside himself with joy as he explained to his incredulous roadie customers that this is what a bike is supposed to look like.
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Old 08-10-12, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 12bar View Post
I think we are on the the leading edge of another touring surge but thats just my humble opinion.
It wouldn't surprise me a bit.

Think about it this way. I'm approaching fifty. I've found that I enjoy the simple things of life much more than the complicated things. I have learned that I still love all the things I used to love when I was a kid (well, maybe except Emerson, Lake & Palmer.....Although, I've gotta say, they did put out some good stuff before they cratered.....).

I can't be the only guy that's feeling this way. The baby boom was the bike boom - and they're retiring now. It wouldn't surprise me at all if they took up their bikes and took a little trip.

I doubt there'd be nearly as much....um.......herbal remedies?....as there used to be, but I'm sure they'll be on the road....
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Old 08-10-12, 10:35 PM
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I say the same. What's changed is people now have online journals where before it was a private diary. 1976 was probably the peak year of bike touring.
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Old 08-11-12, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by 12bar View Post
It was really interesting to see the reaction most of the customers have to the bike, even the hard core roadies or triathletes were at least curious and many said they would love to do a tour. I even let a couple of the ones that I know well take the beast out for a ride, they were all impressed how stable it was and they really didn't notice the weight like they thought they would. When I was talking to them about touring you could see that far away look in their eyes dreaming of just riding, camping and being care free. I think we are on the the leading edge of another touring surge but thats just my humble opinion.
In the part of the world where Rowan and I are (specifically the Netherlands and Germany right now), people just go on cycling tours. There's none of this ... "I'd love to do a tour one day" or "dreaming of just riding, camping and being care free" stuff ... it seems like everyone hops on their bicycles and goes on tours.

Go read my Netherlands Observations thread.

And the next time they express interest in "one day" doing a tour ... tell them that there's no time like this weekend. It's not like a weekend or other short tour requires a whole lot of special planning.
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Old 08-12-12, 04:14 AM
  #16  
azesty
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For years now more than 80 cyclists a day ride from Chengdu to Llhasa, cycle touring is getting big in China.

Mostly they ride ****ty mountain bikes, but that will change.

z
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Old 08-12-12, 09:42 AM
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I definitely feel it's increasing in popularity but it will never be for the masses and relates to the boomers retiring or having more time to get away now that their children have grown of age. I see it when I travel through out the Midwest and there are so many more supported tours than there used to be. I continue to be amazed at how many are willing to pay so much as to have someone carry your "stuff" 40-50 miles and have it there waiting for you when you arrive. But then I realize that's a different topic.
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Old 08-12-12, 04:26 PM
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I am turning 50 this year and I haven't missed a summer without, at least, a two or three-day tour in more than a decade. As I feel the clock ticking, I find I think about the "next" tour farther and farther in advance each year. So, yes. I'd say, with much of America's population aging, many more of us are thinking about striking "bike tour" off the bucket list than ever before. However, when I'm out there in no man's land dragging my pannier up all those hills, I haven't noticed any more (or any fewer) cyclists doing the same.
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Old 08-12-12, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
... and there are so many more supported tours than there used to be. I continue to be amazed at how many are willing to pay so much as to have someone carry your "stuff" 40-50 miles and have it there waiting for you when you arrive.
Ive just finished a week long supported trip with my wife, and while I see your point, I really do see this in a positive light. The fact that people will get their keesters out and bike with a supported tour is certainly better than them not doing it, and certainly better than, I dunno, going to Las Vegas and gambling or something. In my case, my wife isnt really keen on carrying stuff (she isnt a strong cyclist) so the fact that signing up for a supported trip makes her bike more to be physically ready, and then to participate in it, is in my books, a good thing overall.
Here in Quebec, bicycling is much more of an accepted thing, to go to work, to go to do shopping. Very much a European attitude to biking, and certainly diff than some other parts of Canada and some parts of the States, where biking is looked upon as something only children and poor people do.
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Old 08-13-12, 12:51 AM
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I expect it is a feed back loop in Europe, more bike touring, + more generous holidays,

so more facilities for those cycle holidays.
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Old 08-13-12, 06:23 AM
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I think it depends a lot on where you live. I live in NC and rarely ever see loaded tourers on the roads around here. That probably has a lot to do with the weather, which is miserably hot and humid in the summer when most people have time for tours. Supported tours attract a lot of riders, but it's a lot different not having to carry your gear. However, I vacationed in California and Oregon in July and was surprised at home many loaded tourers we saw riding Highway 1 along the CA coast and other roads in that area. The weather is much cooler there and more conducive to loaded trips.
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Old 08-13-12, 07:48 AM
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Tar, that makes sense for the weather that's for sure.
fiets, I would agree about the vacation time thing,.plus the fact that there are so many smaller quieter roads and or bike trails in some places, and then the biggie that the distances between towns and villages are so much closer.
Throw in the fact that ones granny could be on a bike or scooter, drivers tend to be more respectful of cyclists in general.
That's my take anyway.
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Old 08-13-12, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 12bar View Post
One of the reasons for the poll is because after retiring in Jan of this year I started working a couple of day a week in my LBS just to help them keep up with repairs and I like hanging around there anyway. Most days I ride my LHT to the shop fully loaded as practice for a couple of upcoming tours. It was really interesting to see the reaction most of the customers have to the bike, even the hard core roadies or triathletes were at least curious and many said they would love to do a tour. I even let a couple of the ones that I know well take the beast out for a ride, they were all impressed how stable it was and they really didn't notice the weight like they thought they would. When I was talking to them about touring you could see that far away look in their eyes dreaming of just riding, camping and being care free. I think we are on the the leading edge of another touring surge but thats just my humble opinion.
Incidentally, you used the term "care free" in your comment above.

Cycletouring is anything but "care free". If anything you've got more "cares" than you do at home leading a "normal" working life. Where do you sleep at night? Where do you find food? Where do you find inexpensive accommodation and food? What about medical supplies? Bad weather? Mechanical difficulties?

Cycletouring is not the easy idillic lifestyle ... although it may be in people's dreams.
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Old 08-13-12, 10:29 AM
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That is how I experience it also, and in particular when one gets older, and probably the doctor would not approve of hitting the road, every turn of the pedal could be the last...

Though, most of the stuff on the list is pretty trivial, so to some extent it is a mindset thing. One really shouldn't have to worry about it.

One thing I notice in NA is that most people do not really think of touring as something one does for 2 days in the neighbourhood. When I started touring again, I was actually surprised how nice some of the local riding was as I set out through it. People who think of touring seem all to be bent on going across country so they can change their lives or prove something. When I go on a trip, I can remember feeling really let down when I had to quit and return home due to knee problems which i have to respect or I will really do damage. I had had a great trip but even though I try not to think that way, it was apparently a lot about the goal of getting somewhere, as well as just tootling along.
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Old 08-13-12, 11:08 AM
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I see a few people commuting and running errands on touring bikes, me included, and the bikes are reasonably easy to obtain here in Ottawa. The LBS around the corner from me has a bunch in stock: Devinci Caribou, Raleigh Sojourn, Rocky Mountain Sherpa, Jamis Aurora, KHS TR101. Just down the road another place has a loaded Trek 520 on display. Another has its own line that includes a tourer and also stocks touring bikes from Kona, Brodie and Surly. Somebody's gotta be buying 'em.
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