What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
simonhill
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby simonhill » 19 Aug 2018, 7:24pm

I sometimes wonder why there aren't more people cycle touring. It would be interesting to know what started people on the (bike) road.

I've always been a keen traveller, but never considered travelling on a bike, particularly in the developing countries I favoured. My first big tour was 2 months in NZ, mainly because it was the only cheap way to travel in a developed country. Enjoyable as that was I wasn't convinced about cycling as a way to travel in less developed countries until I did a 3 month tour in India. After that I was convinced and hooked.

Thanks to the internet, there are now so many ways of finding touring information. Not so long ago it was books, mags and a map laid out on the floor. Now you can find almost anything from detailed instructions for beginners to blogs of people on the road. This forum is a good venue for people with touring questions and there is a wealth of knowledge amongst the members. Like many I try to answer any questions and also often offer to have a phone chat for specific countries or regions.

Without getting out all my diaries, I reckon I have toured for about 100 months in total, usually in tours of 2 to 3 months. My main area is Asia, from India to Japan with most places in-between. Also Oz, NZ and Cuba. I have been to most of these countries numerous times and often find a second or third look to be a lot more informative and interesting than the first. My least favourite travelling word is done as in I've done India, etc.

I've also ridden a few shorter tours in Europe, including The Camino and The WW1 Western Front. I have toured a bit in the UK, but nowadays I prefer to use my campervan as a mobile base for my UK cycling.

As I said at the start, I often wonder why more people aren't touring. After all, its just going for a ride and not coming home for a night or two. You can set off from your front door or some exotic airport - it ain't rocket science.

whoof
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby whoof » 19 Aug 2018, 8:27pm

simonhill wrote:I sometimes wonder why there aren't more people cycle touring. It would be interesting to know what started people on the (bike) road.


Not why I started but why people don't tour.
Over the years I've known hundreds of people who cycle regularly but only a handful who cycle tour. The reason is pretty simple.
If you rule out rides where you have crashed,had a mechanical or had to ride with some health problem what is most people's worst day on a bike? Often it's the day you had to ride all day into a banging head wind. You can just gear down, slow down and plod away at it but to most it's far from enjoyable. By contrast riding with a tail wind feels great. If you could flick a switch and change the wind direction I don't know anyone who would ever ride with a head wind.

Similarly the idea of riding a relatively heavy bike and carrying everything you need for a week or two holiday is as appealing to most as riding into a head wind for a fortnight. They can't do anything about the wind but they can choose to ride a light fast bike.
I love touring (but if someone will volunteer to carry my bags I'll never carry another pannier again) but only see a handful of tourers on a whole trip. I'm going to Majorca next month a there will be thousands of cyclists riding lightweight road bikes on fixed based day rides.

mnichols
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby mnichols » 19 Aug 2018, 9:16pm

simonhill wrote:I have toured a bit in the UK, but nowadays I prefer to use my campervan as a mobile base for my UK cycling.


I would be interested to know more about your campervan. My wife is a keen walker and is trying to talk me in to swapping her car out for something she can sleep in. Trouble is that it would have to also be her car that she uses for commuting around 800 miles each week, and cope with snow and ice around the country lanes.

I'm not sure what she wants exists, but I like the idea of using it for weekend cycling/walking jaunts

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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby Vorpal » 19 Aug 2018, 9:33pm

mnichols wrote:
simonhill wrote:I have toured a bit in the UK, but nowadays I prefer to use my campervan as a mobile base for my UK cycling.


I would be interested to know more about your campervan. My wife is a keen walker and is trying to talk me in to swapping her car out for something she can sleep in. Trouble is that it would have to also be her car that she uses for commuting around 800 miles each week, and cope with snow and ice around the country lanes.

I'm not sure what she wants exists, but I like the idea of using it for weekend cycling/walking jaunts

Many hatchback type cars, and estates can be used for that, if you're okay with using normal camping gear for cooking, etc.

When I was at uni, I had a VW Golf, and I took the bottom parts of the back seats out, so I could fold them down completely flat, and put a futon in the back & used it as a camper. It doesn't work so well if you are tall, or have two people, but a Golf estate is probably big enough. You might want curtains for it, but that's easy enough to do.

Something like that is easy to commute in. But 800 miles per week?!? :shock: I'd only do that if I was paid for the time.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

mnichols
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby mnichols » 19 Aug 2018, 10:07pm

Vorpal wrote:
mnichols wrote:
simonhill wrote:I have toured a bit in the UK, but nowadays I prefer to use my campervan as a mobile base for my UK cycling.


I would be interested to know more about your campervan. My wife is a keen walker and is trying to talk me in to swapping her car out for something she can sleep in. Trouble is that it would have to also be her car that she uses for commuting around 800 miles each week, and cope with snow and ice around the country lanes.

I'm not sure what she wants exists, but I like the idea of using it for weekend cycling/walking jaunts

Many hatchback type cars, and estates can be used for that, if you're okay with using normal camping gear for cooking, etc.

When I was at uni, I had a VW Golf, and I took the bottom parts of the back seats out, so I could fold them down completely flat, and put a futon in the back & used it as a camper. It doesn't work so well if you are tall, or have two people, but a Golf estate is probably big enough. You might want curtains for it, but that's easy enough to do.

Something like that is easy to commute in. But 800 miles per week?!? :shock: I'd only do that if I was paid for the time.


I thought that i'd mistyped and that it was 800 per month, but just asked and it is 800 per week. We've just moved and we promised my daughter we wouldn't change her school so 80 per day school run for the next three years

Vorpal
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Aug 2018, 6:55am

simonhill wrote:I sometimes wonder why there aren't more people cycle touring. It would be interesting to know what started people on the (bike) road.

In my case, it was a lack of money coupled with a desire to travel. Also, my brother and I liked camping. So, one time, we just packed up some camping stuff & rode our bikes to a place to camp. We were teeangers, then. We didn't think of it as cycle touring. We thought of it as camping. Bikes were just how we got there. I don't think we were even aware of cycle touring as a thing.

Our horizons expanded gradually, and we went all sorts of places that we could get to by bike. I think the first time we ever went abroad was when I finished uni. We spent a few weeks touring in Scotland (from the USA). That probably also the first time I though of it as cycle touring. Another first: we stayed in youth hostels. :)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

tatanab
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby tatanab » 20 Aug 2018, 7:39am

whoof wrote:Not why I started but why people don't tour. --Often it's the day you had to ride all day into a banging head wind. You can just gear down, slow down and plod away at it but to most it's far from enjoyable.
Not a problem in my brand of touring. No set agenda or prebooked lodging, so I simply turn cross wind for a day or two and go in a slightly different direction. Ok, I agree this is not an option if riding Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but trundling down through France to the Med it is no big deal.
Similarly the idea of riding a relatively heavy bike and carrying everything you need for a week or two holiday is as appealing to most as riding into a head wind for a fortnight. They can't do anything about the wind but they can choose to ride a light fast bike
Unless camping, I find no need for anything more than a saddlebag for summer touring up to 4 weeks. I started club riding in the 1960s when this was the stereotypical lightweight British cycle tourist.

I have toured -
All over France and dipped a wheel a hundred miles or so into all the surrounding countries. One year I rode Channel to Med and back .
New Zealand
USA
Ireland

What do I want to do? I really do not know.

simonhill
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby simonhill » 20 Aug 2018, 9:07am

mnichols wrote:
simonhill wrote:I have toured a bit in the UK, but nowadays I prefer to use my campervan as a mobile base for my UK cycling.


I would be interested to know more about your campervan.


This post (albeit yours) is about cycle touring and inspiring others to do it. If you want to discuss campervans then maybe a new post, where I'll happily reply, probably along with many others.

brynpoeth
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Aug 2018, 9:12am

Depends on what one can thoyle or afford
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott

whoof
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby whoof » 20 Aug 2018, 10:34am

tatanab wrote:
whoof wrote:Not why I started but why people don't tour. --Often it's the day you had to ride all day into a banging head wind. You can just gear down, slow down and plod away at it but to most it's far from enjoyable.
Not a problem in my brand of touring. No set agenda or prebooked lodging, so I simply turn cross wind for a day or two and go in a slightly different direction. Ok, I agree this is not an option if riding Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but trundling down through France to the Med it is no big deal.
Similarly the idea of riding a relatively heavy bike and carrying everything you need for a week or two holiday is as appealing to most as riding into a head wind for a fortnight. They can't do anything about the wind but they can choose to ride a light fast bike
Unless camping, I find no need for anything more than a saddlebag for summer touring up to 4 weeks. I started club riding in the 1960s when this was the stereotypical lightweight British cycle tourist.

I have toured -
All over France and dipped a wheel a hundred miles or so into all the surrounding countries. One year I rode Channel to Med and back .
New Zealand
USA
Ireland

What do I want to do? I really do not know.


I think you have missed the point. This has nothing to do with headwinds it was an analogy.
One person's idea of lightweight isn't the same as anothers. Lightweight touring weighs about the same as a heavyweight road/racing bike.
I've camped and managed it with a bike and gear totally about 11 kg, but that's the weight of my heavy winter bike.
But I'm not someone who doesn't cycle tour.
I'm not saying someone's right or wrong, just what I have found to be.

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foxyrider
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby foxyrider » 20 Aug 2018, 11:19am

Why don't more people do it? Well it's often because it's never occurred to them.

A friend of mine has commuted for decades, did the odd day ride even but he was well into his 5th decade of riding that tales of trips from myself and others encouraged him to give a tour a go. He's just done his first foreign trip and the bug has well and truly bitten.

The whole idea of touring on a bike will, for many people conjure up images of grizzled old men grinding along on bikes weighing 20kg loaded with the kitchen sink - just doesn't appeal to 99.9% of the cycling let alone general population!

Centred trips, supported trips - much more appealing to a much wider group of people. For example, Trekking holidays are very popular with the Dutch - a coach takes you to point a then takes your luggage to the hotel at b - you ride with a group the 40km stopping at points of interest, having lunch etc. Day two repeat going further along the chosen route and so on. It's touring but maybe not how many on here would recognise it

A cycle tour can mean so many things, knocking out 100 mile days from a to b, half that pottering around lanes looking at stuff, dutch style trekking, fully loaded, stripped to essentials. Some people prefer one, others another, who cares if you enjoy it?

If you want to see more people 'touring' you need to make it easy to start - Dutch Trekking would be the entry point for that. Maybe it won't suit some people but who knows, all those solitary mile eaters might actually enjoy being with a group and living more civilised for a change?
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

Vorpal
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby Vorpal » 20 Aug 2018, 2:18pm

foxyrider wrote:Why don't more people do it? Well it's often because it's never occurred to them.

Or because they think it's mad to go more than a few miles on a bike. A couple of times I've told people that I rode from one town to another, or I rode home from something that was 60 miles away, and they just look at me like I'm stark raving mad.

Even fellow cyclists sometimes give me a 'look' and then say something like, 'that's a bit far for me'.

Some people just don't see the point. They understand cycling, if it's to save money on parking in the centre, or because it's quicker to cycle, or a bit of exercise going to work that way. But to cycle all day to get somewhere a person can drive in a few hours? Why, that's bonkers ;)
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

brynpoeth
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby brynpoeth » 20 Aug 2018, 2:28pm

It's touring Jim, but not as we know it :wink:

I did YH tours as a teenager but now I much prefer to stay in one place and do day trips, I like to ride the same route more than once, visit museums, even have a non-cycling day

Cycling from a hotel boat might be nearly as good, one could leave most luggage on the boat. But not now, the Elbe is very low, one could probably wade across :?

Do like reading other peoples accounts of long tours, I am a lazy b****r :wink:
Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott

mnichols
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby mnichols » 20 Aug 2018, 4:32pm

brynpoeth wrote:now I much prefer to stay in one place and do day trips


I haven't done that yet, but can see the appeal, particularly on a small Island

Sometimes on the longer tours I wake up and wonder where I am, and that even continues when I get home. I wake up thinking that I'm on tour and then realise I'm at home, sometimes after a long or difficult tour this can last more than a week

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hondated
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Re: What tours have you done? What do you want to do?

Postby hondated » 22 Aug 2018, 10:32pm

For anyone seeking inspiration to set off on their own tour then Chris and Luke maybe the two to give it to you. Enjoy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQ1QcBr5Dmw