simonhill wrote:Re the original post:
Not everyone who rides long distance routes has to be riding a fully loaded bike with camping gear. If hostelling or hotels, etc you can look pretty much like a day rider. Many Continental cyclists wear casual clothes rather than lycra The only way to find out if they are doing the whole route is to ask them.
^^This. The main visual difference between my day riding and touring is an extra tail roll on top of the rear rack and a handlebar bag - personally, I still don't like the drag of panniers for any distance. Great for shopping and picnics but awful for touring. I think buildings exist in most places where people will let you sleep indoors for a reasonable price and it's worth it to avoid camping. Maybe sometimes where those buildings are means I ride slightly shorter distances than if I wild-camped but it ain't about the distances.
There certainly seemed to be lots of possible tourers on the North Sea Coast Route along the Belgian coast last year. Far more noticeable than on the Dutch sections we rode last year or the one before, but the greater number of everyday transport riders may have hidden them - in Belgium, transport riders are probably using more sheltered and direct routes parallel inland most of the time. Tourers were a rarity on this year's route but most of it wasn't part of any long-distance route. Definite daytrippers were spotted on some of the named routes like the Leireken because they introduced themselves to us at cafes - tourists like us seemed to be a novelty there!