Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

safety at campgrounds etc on northern tier or transam?

Notices
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.

safety at campgrounds etc on northern tier or transam?

Old 03-09-15, 11:42 PM
  #1  
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
safety at campgrounds etc on northern tier or transam?

Hi, this is a rather broad question, butů. I've wanted to do a US east to west coast ride for a while, was waiting to find compatible riding buddy but have not, so thinking I will do it solo this summer. Wondering what any other cyclists have observed at campgrounds as far as feeling safe alone etc. Any advice? Do I have to spend lots on hotels to feel safe? Perhaps there are some camps better than others. I've done lots of riding but stayed in hotels, airbnb's etc...Also haven't yet decided on transam or northern tierů
fisticuffs is offline  
Old 03-09-15, 11:44 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 20,457

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 178 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5898 Post(s)
Liked 3,512 Times in 2,093 Posts
I had zero issues in any of the campgrounds I stayed in when I did the northern tier. . . . Honestly, I never thought of this as an issue.
bikemig is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 04:36 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North Texas
Posts: 277

Bikes: Surly Disc Trucker, Ogre, Steamroller

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
As a combat vet I think I can offer an opinion on this issue. One thing most people don't understand is once you've had your life threatened you forever view the world differently. (people that have never been in that situation usually have a happy go lucky approach and for the most part never have any problems, however it only takes one incident to change that) For me, When I ride I take my licensed weapon. I have a CHL and to date I've only ridden in my home state. If and when I leave my state I'll have to make sure each state I enter honors my CHL. For those not willing or wanting to carry (which is understandable) I would suggest having some O C (pepper) spray or bear spray handy. There are a few things I wouldn't use for self defense such as a knife or baton. (unless your properly trained in hand to hand self defense)

All in all most people never have a problem. But it's not a bad idea to be like a boy scout, always prepared. I think is was just a few months ago when a bicycle tourist was killed by a homeless man. Most people don't want to talk about it since the idea of touring is to have fun and meet nice people. I think it's possible to do that and also be prepared.
jargo432 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 05:37 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,469
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18512 Post(s)
Liked 15,829 Times in 7,436 Posts
Keep your personal valuables (wallet, camera, computer) with you when you leave camp. Put other things inside your tent so they are out of sight. In all my days touring, including the entire Northern Tier and the TA between Missoula and Fairplay, CO, only once did someone try to steal something from me. I left my stove out at a private campground in an area that was next to a dirt road that led to a trailer park. Two kids drove by an saw the stove. One jumped out and was about to hop the low fence. I saw what was going on from outside the laundry room and started over to my site. The kid saw me, jumped back in the car and sped off. I created a crime of opportunity scenario by leaving something visible and easily accessible to the public.

Every once in a while you may encounter the idiot drunk(s) who make a lot of noise at night. I would ignore them if they are not confronting you or get the host involved if there is one. On the whole, I think you will find you get far more positive attention in camp, especially from curious people.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 05:43 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,469
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18512 Post(s)
Liked 15,829 Times in 7,436 Posts
Originally Posted by jargo432
I think is was just a few months ago when a bicycle tourist was killed by a homeless man.
It happened at a McDonald's in a populated area of S. Florida. The stabber was apparently "off his meds" according to witnesses. The victim could have been anyone. Someone on their lunch break. A truck driver. A parent with kids after a Little League game. Etc. He just happened to be on a bike tour and stop at that McDonald's.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 06:24 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 766 Times in 567 Posts
It never occurred to me that riding and camping alone would even be a concern. I haven't done the Northern Tier, but have done the Trans America, the Southern Tier, and a bunch of other tours. When it comes down to it cars and trucks are the biggest danger you will probably face and I always considered it safer to be on tour than riding around town at home.

That said you need to figure out what you are comfortable with.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 06:43 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 626
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fisticuffs
Hi, this is a rather broad question, butů. I've wanted to do a US east to west coast ride for a while, was waiting to find compatible riding buddy but have not, so thinking I will do it solo this summer. Wondering what any other cyclists have observed at campgrounds as far as feeling safe alone etc. Any advice? Do I have to spend lots on hotels to feel safe? Perhaps there are some camps better than others. I've done lots of riding but stayed in hotels, airbnb's etc...Also haven't yet decided on transam or northern tierů
I've never had any issues touring in upstate NY. I've read probably 100 cross country journals comprising thousands of days of touring and I've never heard of anyone having serious issues with people in campgrounds. The most common issue is tension with motorists but you have some control over whether or not that escalates.
mm718 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 07:33 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: North Texas
Posts: 277

Bikes: Surly Disc Trucker, Ogre, Steamroller

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
It happened at a McDonald's in a populated area of S. Florida. The stabber was apparently "off his meds" according to witnesses. The victim could have been anyone. Someone on their lunch break. A truck driver. A parent with kids after a Little League game. Etc. He just happened to be on a bike tour and stop at that McDonald's.
Thanks for the info. Just goes to show you have to be prepared at all times, not just while on tour.
jargo432 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 07:46 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 576

Bikes: MGX MTB, Fuji Supreme, Miyata 90 and a Trek 700 in the works

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I had my towel stolen from outside the shower stall while I was taking a shower in a privately owned CG while visitng the Amish area in PA.
ak08820 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 08:38 AM
  #10  
Full Member
 
Bicycle365's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Central Massachusetts
Posts: 223

Bikes: Surly LHT Custom Build

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
Have done the Northern Tier a couple times both in sections and complete, NEVER had any issues regarding safety in the campgrounds. Noisy campers ? Sure. Confrontations? Never. Almost all of these were solo touring.
Bicycle365 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 08:50 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,469
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18512 Post(s)
Liked 15,829 Times in 7,436 Posts
Originally Posted by ak08820
I had my towel stolen from outside the shower stall while I was taking a shower in a privately owned CG while visitng the Amish area in PA.
I never trust those damn Amish!

Seriously: Which campground?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 08:52 AM
  #12  
 
BigAura's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Chapin, SC
Posts: 3,423

Bikes: all steel stable: surly world troller, paris sport fixed, fuji ss

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 623 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1
It never occurred to me that riding and camping alone would even be a concern. I haven't done the Northern Tier, but have done the Trans America, the Southern Tier, and a bunch of other tours. When it comes down to it cars and trucks are the biggest danger you will probably face and I always considered it safer to be on tour than riding around town at home.

That said you need to figure out what you are comfortable with.
+1. After 17,000 solo touring miles, campgrounds are never a worry for me.
BigAura is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 09:00 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,469
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18512 Post(s)
Liked 15,829 Times in 7,436 Posts
Originally Posted by jargo432
Thanks for the info. Just goes to show you have to be prepared at all times, not just while on tour.
One story I read was not entirely clear, but it seemed to suggest that the victim may have said something to the guy that could have set him off. Of course, that does not justify the killing, but I think it fits with what I was saying about confrontation. Sometimes you just need to let it slide.

Last year I was camping at a BLM campground in MT that is popular with the float fishing crowd. Beer and float fishing go hand-in-hand there. The people in the two sites next to me returned to camp in the evening after a day of fishing. They were half in the bag already and kept drinking into the night. They also ran one of their RV generators. I overheard one of them basically say that he didn't give a darn if the noise was disturbing me. It was, but I let it slide and eventually fell asleep.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 09:02 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Central NJ
Posts: 576

Bikes: MGX MTB, Fuji Supreme, Miyata 90 and a Trek 700 in the works

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
I never trust those damn Amish!

Seriously: Which campground?
Can't remember, it was ages ago!
ak08820 is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 09:46 AM
  #15  
Se˝or Member
 
Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 5,066
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 649 Post(s)
Liked 293 Times in 216 Posts
I have never had any issues at any campgrounds, but my experience has been primarily in Canada. My few visits to US campgrounds (S Dakota, N Dakota & Arizona) have been totally trouble-free as well, but my sample size is too small to draw any firm conclusions, and that was ~20 years ago.
Wilfred Laurier is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 01:02 PM
  #16  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 13,244
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2748 Post(s)
Liked 979 Times in 801 Posts
Other than the possibility of random opportunistic theft , which can happen anywhere and usually can be avoided using common sense, the idea of safety when camping has never crossed my mind in a lifetime of camping.
Perhaps this is my Canadian perspective but safety fears camping is pretty hard to fathom. It's not like we camp in rough areas of cities or in warzones, I mean it's camping. Of course if you wild camp there are concerns that are valid depending on the area and circumstance, but again, common sense always pays a part and real campgrounds are not a worry (again, except for theft but always have valuables with you in a handlebar bag or pannier.
djb is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 01:16 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,469
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18512 Post(s)
Liked 15,829 Times in 7,436 Posts
Originally Posted by ak08820
Can't remember, it was ages ago!
Back in September I stayed at Red Run Campground the last night of a cross-PA tour. Despite catering to the RV/trailer crowd, I recommend it if you are ever out that way. It is surrounded by farms and is bisected by a road that leads to more farms. Often some the locals will come through the campground during the evening selling fruit and/or baked goods. At night, a couple of tractors with trailers full of children drove down the road. Don't know if they were out for a joy ride or coming back from some social event. The next morning (Sunday) there were buggies and bikes galore heading to worship.

https://redruncampground.com/
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 02:03 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
The only theft issues I've encountered at campgrounds have been from mice and raccoons. Also a few noisy drunks and some characters with mental disorders - but none that ever seemed physically threatening.
prathmann is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 02:34 PM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Above ground, Walnut Creek, Ca
Posts: 6,681

Bikes: 8 ss bikes, 1 5-speed touring bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 86 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
if you've never slept outside alone before, i wouldn't be surprised if there weren't some concern for the first few nights.

generally, the northern tier is along the Canadian border (Canadians, IME, are harmless ) much of the way, and in a part of the U.S. that is populated by those of Scandinavian descent. all in all some of the kindest people i have come across.

but i will say that the further away you can get from populated areas, the better. large city parks or even small city parks are often a late night gathering place for young people, and the males can be a nuisance or worse.
hueyhoolihan is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 03:56 PM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
I go to campgrounds in the summer with the family, and there is usually a noisy element that makes it hard for people to sleep. They are just there for a party, they aren't dangerous, I have never felt unsafe. In the of season when I do my touring, it is normally pretty quiet. I find private campgrounds are generally policed by private security, and better maintained. In Ontario, the public campgrounds I frequent have no official presence until daylight when they empty out again.

Theory has it that the US is extremely safe in all but a few high population areas. It is actually more like Canada than you might think, or northern europe. I would be very cautious about going up to houses for help. These days you really don't need to do that what with phones. You might even be able to phone a home first. In Canada you generally have nothing to worry about outside of campgrounds.
MassiveD is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 04:03 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Golden, CO and Tucson, AZ
Posts: 2,849

Bikes: 2012 Specialized Elite Disc, 1983 Trek 520

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 681 Post(s)
Liked 755 Times in 435 Posts
A couple of years ago the Northern Tier route was rerouted away from Williston, North Dakota, for reasons of safety, both, I heard, from increased traffic and crime brought on by the oil industry boom. I rode it, solo, the first year it was rerouted and never considered my safety to be an issue. Maybe I have differently tuned "radar" than some, and they would have considered some of my "informal" campsites reckless.

And if you haven't already, look into the warmshowers.org network. It has a good review system and I felt safe using it the few times I did, and similarly have hosted cyclists safely many times since.
andrewclaus is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 05:12 PM
  #22  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,357 Times in 863 Posts
I kept my valuables in a Money belt under My clothing.

commercial camp grounds have a Managers Office to stow stuff in.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 07:59 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 2,441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by andrewclaus
A couple of years ago the Northern Tier route was rerouted away from Williston, North Dakota, for reasons of safety, both, I heard, from increased traffic and crime brought on by the oil industry boom. I rode it, solo, the first year it was rerouted and never considered my safety to be an issue. Maybe I have differently tuned "radar" than some, and they would have considered some of my "informal" campsites reckless.

And if you haven't already, look into the warmshowers.org network. It has a good review system and I felt safe using it the few times I did, and similarly have hosted cyclists safely many times since.
You were there not me, but the issue in a lot of those communities is the complete absence of housing, so even the campsites could be full. And the huge amount of truck traffic that follows fracking. Stories of a college student making millions with portable showers, and old folks being driven out of their long term residences because of the housing shortage, are probably not the best place to route more warm bodies.

This thread isn't probably about "informal" campsites, but I would agree with you that those are some of the safest if done right.
MassiveD is offline  
Old 03-10-15, 08:26 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 6,495
Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1185 Post(s)
Liked 842 Times in 438 Posts
Originally Posted by jargo432
As a combat vet I think I can offer an opinion on this issue. One thing most people don't understand is once you've had your life threatened you forever view the world differently. (people that have never been in that situation usually have a happy go lucky approach and for the most part never have any problems, however it only takes one incident to change that).........................................
I know several combat vets, including me, that would not buy into this scenario. Sure your life is changed, but in my experience, it made me appreciate the the security we have in this country compared to many parts of the world. I guess I can't see how action"A" leads to results "B".

Since 2007 my wife and I have spent over a year on bike tours. During that time we have toured and camped in 10 countries in North America and Europe. The closest we ever came to being physically harmed was when we got in the crossfire of 2 drunks throwing rocks at each other in a small Canadian town; and it was not in a campground.

Last edited by Doug64; 03-10-15 at 09:39 PM.
Doug64 is offline  
Old 03-14-15, 02:25 PM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 8,954

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2629 Post(s)
Liked 1,973 Times in 1,236 Posts
I've never had a problem in a campground, but I'm also somewhat OCD about leaving everything in a tent (or bear box) and the bikes are locked up when I'm not there. A detachable bar bag with valuables, or at least wallet and camera, were always with me. I may have looked like I was carrying a large yellow purse, but that was no problem.
pdlamb is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.