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How do you normally get to the starting point to start your tour?

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How do you normally get to the starting point to start your tour?

Old 03-27-13, 07:03 AM
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How do you normally get to the starting point to start your tour?

There are only so many tours one can start from home so how do you get to new places? Drove there and park the car for a while? Rental car? That's convenient for you?
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Old 03-27-13, 07:15 AM
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Drive and park car. Have wife drive me to start point. Plane. Plane and van. Plane and bus. Plane and train.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:16 AM
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Luckily for the TransAmerica tour this summer I only live 2-3 hours away, so I have my parents driving me out with all my gear the morning or day before I start.

Obviously overseas = flying + rental car (or taxi with a nice fat tip for lugging your bike around)

if I didn't have that resource I would probably rent a uHaul van. It's the cheapest way to rent a vehicle for someone under 25 in the US. : ) and you'd have all the room to lay the bike down in the back without having it in tons of pieces when you get to where you want to go.

I really have only done short tours up until now, and those have been driving out to a location I want to bike, biking out one day, biking back the next. and then driving through the night to get back or spend another night via car camping. Usually a full weekend endeavor and you look like someone ran you through a meat grinder on Monday, but it's fun.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by paul2
Plane and train.
hopefully never Amtrak u.u I vowed never to use them again after they "made a wrong turn" and were 4 hours late one evening.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:40 AM
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Whatever works. If there are two or more going not too far away, a one-way rental car can be a good option--cheaper than a bus and way more fun and convenient. Trains can be fun sometimes, not so fun others for sure--a train ride on the US west coast can be an excellent part of the trip, for example. Last time I found a good deal through bikeflights.com to ship the bike ahead of time (to a friend's house or a warmshowers.com host) then follow bike-free on a plane (I don't like schlepping the boxed bike to airports) and that worked out so well I'll try to keep doing that.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:47 AM
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Plains, trains and automobiles.
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Old 03-27-13, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict
hopefully never Amtrak u.u I vowed never to use them again after they "made a wrong turn" and were 4 hours late one evening.

Yeah. Because plains are always on time, flights never get cancelled, cars never get stuck in traffic jams and highways never get shut down for things like accidents.

I have taken Amtrak across the country for the start of two tours. Arrived early both times. Unfortunately, our passenger rail system is, for the most part, poor. That's purely the result of policy.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by hyhuu
There are only so many tours one can start from home so how do you get to new places?
If you`re talking about long tours, just ride an extra few days, so I guess you mean for short trips? I do mostly weekends, and am starting to get bored with the first 3 or 4 hours in any direction, so that`s on my mind too. In addition to the ideas already mentioned, on a few occasions, I`ve taken extra time after family trips and either ridden home from where ever we were or gotten dropped off part way back, then my wife drives home with the car. Works pretty well.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Yeah. Because planes are always on time, flights never get cancelled, cars never get stuck in traffic jams and highways never get shut down for things like accidents.

I have taken Amtrak across the country for the start of two tours. Arrived early both times. Unfortunately, our passenger rail system is, for the most part, poor. That's purely the result of policy.
Glad you've had a better experience, but this was a 2.5 hour trip to the next town to visit my brother over the weekend. Traffic Jams and delays are understandable, even cancellations. . . not wrong turns with a largely automated system on tracks.

They have not made it convenient or fun to travel by train in the US, at least in my experience on the east coast. It's a shame, because I love the idea of train travel. So much so I had thought about trying to take a train back to Atlanta from Oregon until I looked up how long it would take... 3 weeks routed through new york. . . the US has pretty much no investments in public transportation unless you're in one of the few big cities that cares, or has to care. I read somewhere that Amtrak doesn't have right away over any cargo trains. I don't really know if that is completely true or still true today, but I can imagine that is a potential reason for a single wrong turn setting you back 4 hours.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Yeah. Because plains are always on time, flights never get cancelled, cars never get stuck in traffic jams and highways never get shut down for things like accidents.
I don`t have much personal experience with trains, but I don`t like how they`re so confined to specific routes. Provided they go anywhere near where I want to go (a big "if" right there), an incedent in one place a thousand miles away can shut down the whole ball of wax indefinitely.

A perfect example of that happened two years ago to a WS guest who was going to take Amtrak from Chicago to Reno and start his trip from my house. There was a deraillment or something (in Nebraska, I think) the day before he was scheduled to leave, his trip was rearranged by Amtrak in some manner that no longer let him take his bike (I don`t remember if it was via bus or another train without luggage capacity), or he could wait for possibly another week to follow through with what remained of his original plan. He ended up borrowing a car and driving nonstop to keep his plans mostly on schedule rather than spend half his vacation waiting for the train.

By contrast, a bus can detour around a problem on another road. A problem at one airport, or even several airports in one region can affect the whole country and beyond, but I don`t think they often shut down everything for a week.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:39 AM
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I have used Amtrak for 3 trips...(two ten day and one four day) and have been very satisfied. The last time my son and I took Amtrak we received free (used) bike boxes at each station. The employees were all very nice and accommodating and I find hanging out in the observation car to be a great way to pass the time. I will be using them for a short trip taking Amtrak to Chicago then riding to Green Bay and catching the train back to Ohio this summer. Not a big trip planner so I am not sure if we will ride back to Chi or get the train in Milwaukee.

Too bad you had a terrible experience Juggle.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:56 AM
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How do you normally get to the starting point to start your tour?

I work all summer, so I tour in winter, which means having to fly to warmer countries.
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Old 03-27-13, 08:58 AM
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Almost always a plane, sometimes combined with train, bus, or rental car and sometimes I ride right out of the airport.
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Old 03-27-13, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Plains, trains and automobiles.
... and boats.

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Old 03-27-13, 10:52 AM
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Years ago I did several rides from San Francisco down to Santa Barbara where I lived, in that case we took our bikes on the Amtrack to SF.

Since I no longer have time to tour more then a weekend I just start from home. When I retire and find more time to tour more then likely I will start from home, but there are some guided tours I'm looking at that will require me to get me and the bike to a different state where the tour will begin. If I do a guided tour I will probably rent a car one way, then rent again to get home or fly home depending on distance from home. One of the guided tours I'm looking at I would probably get a rental car to get to Virginia, then once the tour ends in Washington I would continue by bike on my own down the coast then back home on the bike.

I think you have lots of options, just figure out which would work best for you.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:04 AM
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Plane, train, bus, ship, rental car, get a ride, etc.

For my upcoming trip in two weeks I'll fly with my folder to LA, drop everything I don't need at the hotel and take a one way rental car to Monterey, CA where I'll ride the next 6 days back to LA. Everything is made easier by using a folding bike. The hard part is that some places I'll camp quite remotely and will have to provide dinner and breakfast myself or else ride 40 miles on an empty stomach. With a folder you don't have much room for gear.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict
hopefully never Amtrak u.u I vowed never to use them again after they "made a wrong turn" and were 4 hours late one evening.
No, not Amtrak. Once in India and once in Switzerland. I did once ship my bike by Amtrak, and then flew out to meet it. It went well.
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Old 03-27-13, 11:19 AM
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My only Amtrak experience was on a bus. Odd to ride a bus from trains station to train station. Odder that the bus does the route faster than the train.

I'd love to have an Amtrak train experience but it always turns out slower and more expensive compared to alternatives.
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Old 03-27-13, 12:38 PM
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Transporter beam.
Fast, easy, and I get exactly where I want to be.
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Old 03-27-13, 01:48 PM
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I usually start from wherever I happen to be when vacation begins.
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Old 03-27-13, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by juggleaddict
Obviously overseas = flying + rental car (or taxi with a nice fat tip for lugging your bike around)
Obviously? Once getting out of public transportation hell (aka North America) it wouldn't occur to me to rent a car.

My method is:
- rental car to my local airport
- plane to airport near tour
- train to destination (optional if airport close to destination)
- taxi or bus to hotel where bike gets reassembled

Not sure why a bike in the taxi would require a larger-than-normal tip. I usually end up paying a van surcharge already, and it's not like lifting a box instead of a bag is somehow worth extra cash.

I've done local tours biking straight from home, and many day-rides where I'll pack the bikes on my own car and drive to a starting point out of town.
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Old 03-27-13, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
By contrast, a bus can detour around a problem on another road. A problem at one airport, or even several airports in one region can affect the whole country and beyond, but I don`t think they often shut down everything for a week.
I find it interesting that your interpretation here is based on the technology (trains vs bus/car) rather than the infrastructure. It's true that this is a major problem with train travel in western North America. In NA, particularly outside of the eastern seaboard, there's few train lines and many are single tracks at that. You go to a country or region that has invested in rail infrastructure the way America has invested in highways, and trains can reroute around problems quite effectively.

It's a valid reason to not count on Amtrak's western services, but not trains in general. The original 4 hour delay that started this conversation is well within the margin of error on any long-distance trip, so not-so-much a valid reason to avoid Amtrak.
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Old 03-27-13, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by hyhuu
There are only so many tours one can start from home so how do you get to new places? Drove there and park the car for a while? Rental car? That's convenient for you?
Cars and Trains, Boats and Planes ... we've used them all.

And sometimes we use them mid-tour too.
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Old 03-27-13, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Plains, trains and automobiles.
Exactly what I was going to say.
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Old 03-27-13, 03:30 PM
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Even though there are many ways to get to a tour starting point, there is something to be said for an endeavor that can start at your own doorstep.

One of the things that attracts me to bicycle touring is it's uncomplicated nature. Just sit your butt down and start pedaling. Of course there is a little more to it than that. But, relatively speaking it is uncomplicated. Compare that to say owning a sport fishing boat. I'd have to drive 60 miles to get to the boat, spend an hour getting it ready to go, then spend at least an hour cleaning it after i'm done.
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