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Any good tips for solo tourers?

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Any good tips for solo tourers?

Old 08-15-12, 01:24 AM
  #26  
MichaelW
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Keep the ocean on your right.
On my North Sea coastal tour I met a German woman cycling home from a season on an organic farm in southern France. She had no sense of direction or navigational skill at all and carried no maps. Her method was to ride alongside a river out to the coast in France, follow the well marked coastal bicycle path all around through France, Belgium, Netherlands and N Germany until it hits the Elbe river, then follow the Elbe cycle path till it goes past her home in Hamburg.
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Old 08-15-12, 08:05 AM
  #27  
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The best part of solo is that you keep your own pace, go where you want, stop where you want, for as long as you want. You meet more people and the people you meet are more willing to talk and extend hospitality. I never expected it and was always surprised when it was offered.

You are your own master for however long your tour lasts. Not beholden to anyone. It's the closest you'll come to being "free."

And as another poster mentioned, pubs are great. That, and I have tamales where ever I find them.
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Old 08-15-12, 10:49 AM
  #28  
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1:Get water when you can....Don't wait for the next chance.

2:No grizzly bears...only brown/black bears and they don't eat much......Just kidding,you'll be lucky to see one.

3:Raccoons know about zippers and buckles,rats and mice don't.Either hang your food,use a box if available or keep it with you.If you leave it on your bike...holes may appear in your panniers.

4:Wash your arse....

5:Your going to have the time of your life...it's wonderful! Enjoy!

Last edited by Booger1; 08-15-12 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 08-15-12, 11:23 AM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I just finished my first solo tour, 4400 miles (7100 km) across the northern US. I wasn't sure how I would handle it, either, and it turned out great. The advantage for me was meeting more people nearly everywhere. My tour was really defined by those people I met. But on the other hand, I missed an incredible bonding experience with another cyclist, so there are trade-offs for sure.

It was good setting my own pace and making my own decisions. I spent more time seeing the museums and sites I enjoyed, skipping those I didn't want to see. I skipped all the dinosaur stuff, but really soaked up the Native American culture wherever I could.

I think some people kind of felt sorry for me and I received more road magic that way, even a spontaneous invitation into a home in the Adirondacks.
My second fully-loaded ride ever was the first day of an organized x-country group tour. (The first was a 62 mile day ride to see what riding a loaded bike was like.) When it was finished, I spent a couple of weeks riding home solo. Having never done unsupported touring or even camping, I chose to ride with a group to gain some knowledge and experience. The following year, I did two long, solo tours.

I definitely preferred solo for the reaons you note. You can make your own schedule and spend more time seeing what interests you. I would have liked to stay in more woodsy campgrounds like USFS campgrounds, but we had a high maintenance group and thus often ended up in commercial places with more ammenities. During the group tour, there was less interaction with the locals. On a couple of occasions, I and another member of the group did sidetrips. We definitely had more local interaction during those times. Also received more "trail magic" riding solo. One night, after seeing my tiny tent, a man "forced" me to come to his family's campsite and drink beer and eat hot dogs. Another time, a woman gave me half a pie she had baked.

Group touring is not all touchy feely bonding. There was a decent amount of animosity between certain people in our small group of 13. It didn't help that our original leader, who we eventually had replaced, was pretty much a social moron. Another member of the group was a bigoted alcoholic who almost got arested a couple of times. We also had a guy who tried to shirk his group cooking and cleaning responsibilities whenever he could. We think he found it beneath him. Many times there was an uncomfortable tolerance among several members, myself included. While I had many memorable moments with another rider, I felt a weight had been lifted when I set out for home on my own.
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Old 08-15-12, 02:09 PM
  #30  
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thanks for all the advice.

How long do you think I should allow for this journey?
I plan to set off from Vancouver in the first week of May. I would like to book a flight out of LA in advance to save money but I'm not sure what date to go for.
I definitely don't want to rush the tour. I'm expecting to have quite a few rest days during the trip as my body/knee's gets used to so much riding.
I consider myself to have reasonable fitness for a 31 year old - (I'm training to run a half marathon at the moment) but I expect I will have to get fit as I ride. Reason being I will be backpacking for the four months running up to May so will probably be substituting visits to the gym for visits to the Beaches and bar's.

Whats a reasonable time frame to complete the journey without putting myself under too much pressure?
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Old 08-15-12, 02:22 PM
  #31  
alan s 
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Not clear which Vancouver you are referring to. BC or WA? What is the route?
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Old 08-15-12, 02:40 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Not clear which Vancouver you are referring to. BC or WA? What is the route?
Vancouver BC I think, Canada, down the US coast to Los Angelas
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Old 08-16-12, 03:30 PM
  #33  
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pickup a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th language...over 30yrs. solo touring never hungry, nor place to not rest my head.
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Old 08-16-12, 03:58 PM
  #34  
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That is a great route and you will meet lots of other touring riders along the way. Once in Oregon I never camped alone. I wound up hanging out the same folks much of the way.

No worries about bears, but definitely keep food and toiletries in the provided boxes or the raccoons will drive you nuts stealing your food.

Don't take a huge tent, your bike will be fine outside. Do take a light cable lock. There were a couple urban places where I did not feel it was prudent to leave my bike unattended, but those were rare instance.

There is no reason not to take this trip as a first tour.

Have a great time!
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Old 08-16-12, 04:09 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by gordyb View Post
How long do you think I should allow for this journey?
How far do you want to ride in a day? 40-50 miles per day seems to be a popular pace on that route, but more is certainly possible. I found a little over 50 miles per day allowed for a somewhat relaxed pace.
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Old 08-16-12, 06:22 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Perfect first tour. Learn how to identify Poison Oak and don't touch it.


Have fun!
Yup, it manifests itself differently in different climates
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Old 08-17-12, 02:02 PM
  #37  
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If it has leaves of three,let it be.

Poison ivy,oak have leaves of 3 and hairy vines.

There isn't much Poison sumac out west,chances are you won't see any.It has smooth edges and no hair on the vine.There is lots of regular sumac,it has jagged edges and a hairy vine.It can be big like a tree.
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