Fear of touring

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
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Fear of touring

Postby raymc » 24 Apr 2010, 11:00am

Got the bike, got the camping gear, don't have the nerve. I had this idea of going cycling touring, Northern France\Belgium, to begin with. I have over the winter slowly acquired some camping gear and bought a Ridgeback Voyage tourer through C2W at work. However after having booked twice to go over to France I have chickened out both times. I have come up with various reasons for not going such as the bike and gear is too heavy I will never manage to get anywhere, my bike will get stolen the minute i turn my back, i,ve got too much\not enough equipment. Has anyone one else out there done the same, and how did you motivate yourself to get out and just do it?

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby Tigerbiten » 24 Apr 2010, 11:36am

Try a weekend trip from home.
Find a campsite around 30-40 miles out, stop overnight in it, cycle home next day.
That way you get home easy if anything goes wrong.
Plus you find out what work and is needed and what does not or is not needed.

Then extend it to 3-4 nights out in a triangular type run.

Then go for a long run ........ :D

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby meic » 24 Apr 2010, 12:10pm

Possibly you need a bit of company for the first trip?

The other thing is to book a ticket, broadcast widely to your friends that you are doing this trip at this time, then you cant back out.

If it is too daunting how about a Youth Hostel trip first time?

This is in addition to the good advice from Tigerbiten.
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Re: Fear of touring

Postby yakdiver » 24 Apr 2010, 12:31pm

The very first time I went I felt the same the bike felt so heavy and uncontrollable I nearly went back home and I was only doing an over nighter, but I carried on and then it all seem right and all my fears went and really enjoyed the trip, never looked back after that.
I think it is better to go with someone to share the trip and the ups and downs with.
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Re: Fear of touring

Postby Ron » 24 Apr 2010, 2:17pm

meic wrote: broadcast widely to your friends that you are doing this trip at this time, then you cant back out.

Sorry meic, I was just going to advise precisely the opposite :D

My first longer tour was a tour of Cornwall that developed into a LEJOG when I discovered how hilly Cornwall was and decided to cycle for home with the idea of getting on the train when I got tired. I had told few people of my Cornwall tour, and of course didn't realise I was going to do LEJOG, so there was absolutely no pressure on me to complete the trip which made it all the more enjoyable. Having done LEJOG, my confidence was boosted and I realised I was capable of going further afield.
Regarding the OP, I would recommend a visit to The Netherlands, rather than France, for a first foreign tour, perhaps research the LF1 route. There are loads of campsites, and eateries, loads of cyclists, more to see, and without the language problems you will encounter in France, altogether a more cycle friendly country. I have to say I found northern France fairly bleak.
On my first foreign tour I was lucky to meet another cyclist on the ferry who gave me guidance for the first hour before we went our separate ways, but I have to agree, the first time can be a little daunting...... until you have a couple of miles behind you. :)

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby meic » 24 Apr 2010, 2:29pm

Thats all right, he will probably reject all of our suggestions. :)

However one of them might appeal or lead to something that helps.
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Re: Fear of touring

Postby mw3230 » 24 Apr 2010, 2:33pm

You've obviously got the interest or otherwise why buy the bike and the kit - just get your gear together and set off. After a short while you'll realise that all your worries were unfounded and your adventures are unfolding in front of you! I do agree that company is desirable but your own company is also most agreeable
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Re: Fear of touring

Postby Tako » 24 Apr 2010, 4:10pm

In short, Just do it!! Short over night trips to start off, either solo or with mates.

However, l suspect some people are more seduced by the romance of touring than actually doing it. I know a few people who are more into painstakingly building up bikes, sourcing period-correct components and all that malarky, than actually riding them.

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby ANTONISH » 24 Apr 2010, 5:09pm

Why not take a day trip over the channel without all your kit and find out how it is to ride in a country where cycling isn't a crime.?
Apart from Calais where it can be a problem, I've never experienced any attempt to steal anything (even so it was only an unsuccessful attempt to take a pump from my roof-rack mounted bike - we were sitting in a cafe with car and bikes in plain view).
Think what life would be like if you put off everything you'd like to do because of the possible risks - you would eventually not be able to leave your house.
Think about the worst thing that may happen and how you may deal with it, so that you can have some sense of perspective- eventually all problems will be resolved in some way.
There are a number of campsites in and around the channel ports and there are many nice areas to ride close by.(If Ron found Northern France rather bleak he may not know it well - the Pays-de-Artois with its hills and forests is very pleasant or you may like the quiet roads along the canals).
An overnight stay will give you confidence to try a longer trip.
You could also look up the various randonees (not sportives )that are put on by French (FFCT has a good website) and Belgian clubs, you can enter on the day and you can usually leave some baggage with the organisers.
The advice of finding a (compatible!)companion is very useful .
Good luck with your touring.
Last edited by ANTONISH on 24 Apr 2010, 5:17pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby mill4six » 24 Apr 2010, 5:14pm

I met a chap in St jean Pied de Port in southern France once. He'd gone for a ride one day, decided to catch the ferry to Holland for a day or two to "see how it goes" and kept on going. When I met him he was on the way to Santiago de Compostella with absolutely no idea what he'd do after that! He only took the clothes he was in at the time, his grey (once white) T-shirt was hanging off him in strips :shock: utter respect!
Keep it in perspective though, it's only France, in the worst case scenario, chuck everything and get one of those orange planes home. :D On my first tour I took too much gear on an unsuitable bike without any training and hardly any money to Northern Spain. There were 3 of us and I remember going out for a beer near the end of the trip (one beer between 3, I said we were skint). I had to phone mummy to get some money transferred into my account to pay for the last day's food and accomodation. All the trials and tribulations of that trip made it special, and memorable (lost my glasses in surf at Zarrautz) see I'm still going on about it now years later, exactly the sort of thing I want to do more of in future. Definitely Just do it!!

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby Millhouse » 24 Apr 2010, 6:19pm

Try reading some of the adventures posted on the crazyguyonabike website. Some of them can be truly inspirational and show what can be done using a bicycle.

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby stephenjubb » 24 Apr 2010, 7:26pm

raymc think of something in your life that scared you previously and then you then did. I bet once you did it you found out it wasn't scary.

An example, fear of getting a new job and starting a new job, once you've been there a few days you settle in and realise all your fears were unfounded.

Touring is exactly the same. There is just one important difference. Start small and build from there.

Find the nearest campsite to home cycle there on a saturday and come back sunday. learn any lessons and then repeat a little further afield. That way if it all goes t?ts up you can ring someone up to help you.

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Apr 2010, 7:38pm

I'm assuming from what you say, that you have little experience of touring, in the sense of several nights away from home with each night's stay separated by a bike ride.

If so, I think you may be tackling too much at once by planning to jump in with camping abroad. Although you feel you are bottling out, it sounds to me that a little voice is telling you that a bit more experience would be in order. And nothing wrong with that. I'd try what others have suggested: a couple of nights youth hostelling a bit closer to home, then try a bit of camping. In other words, building up your experience is more likely to be successful than jumping straight in. (As an example, if you are worried about what kit you might need, with the experience of a weekend tour, you would have a much better idea, rather than being in France committed to a longer stay and finding that you were really over- or under-equipped.)

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby raymc » 24 Apr 2010, 8:42pm

thanks for the replies helps to know others thoughts puts things in perspective. I have booked a night at a "local" campsite next Saturday as a run-through. I do love cycling, commuting during the week to work and weekend road group rides so i think that touring is the obvious next step, such a lovely pace to see\experience other countries.

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Re: Fear of touring

Postby frank9755 » 24 Apr 2010, 10:00pm

Good luck with your first night away! I think, as Tigerbiten and TC suggest, that is the best advice.

The other advice worth considering is Ron's about going to the Netherlands rather than France as a first destination. I really do not know why more British people don't go there for holidays as it is absolutely wonderful! For a cyclist, heaven would be a disappointment after a week in the Netherlands!

Or you could compromise and go to Belgium! The food is better, the beer is the best there is and the cycling and countryside almost as good as further north.