To Tour Or Not To Tour ?

19/08/2012   |   Posted by jeremy

I have been a keen cyclist for many years now as you may have read in my previous blogs. Both mountain biking and now road biking, however there is one form of the sport that I would really like to give a go and that is the touring side of cycling.

 I really like the thought of planning a trip across the country. Working out my route, planning what to take with me or indeed who to take with me.  In this hectic world where we rely on the car to get us from A to B and all that involves, the thought of having a week or two on quiet back roads with the sounds of the birds and the wind in the trees is very appealing.

This may sound very idealic but there is a problem. I just don’t think I have the funds to do it, or at least this is what I used to think.  Last year I planned to ride from Ipswich to Nice in Southern France with my Stepson James and my Wife Emma. I more or less had a route worked out and was just about ready to go when I started adding up what the trip would cost me and believe me it wasn’t cheap. On reflection though I realised I hadn’t been planning a cycling holiday but more of a mini version of the Tour de France. I wanted us to ride our regular road bikes on a kind of stage event, with my wife driving my van as a kind of one woman support crew.

 The idea was that we would meet her twice a day at fixed points , once at lunch time and then again at the end of the day at a campsite. This as it turned out was not cycle touring at all. It all got far too complicated and expensive with running costs of the van, the ferry tickets, food and campsites etc., so in the end we gave it a miss.

 Getting back to the quiet back roads and wind etc, in the trees that is not in me. I was thinking of doing actual touring on a bike which is suitable for the job and carrying what we need with us, i.e. in panniers etc. like thousands of people do every year without a problem.

I have done a bit of reading about people who do this sort of thing all the time and it does sound like a lot of fun. I thought I could start by doing a circular tour of my own region, why not I thought, I don’t have to go half way across the country to do it. Maybe five days to start with to get a feel for it. I do have some must haves on my trip though. I need the use of a good shower each day, a nice clean toilet and lastly the ability to brush my teeth. You are probably reading this and thinking where does this guy think we live, the moon ?

I am unfortunately a creature of habit and so I like to do things at the same time of day. Again this is just one of those barriers that I’m putting in the way and maybe I should just relax a little and go with the flow.

So finally I realise that I should stop worrying about the details and just plan a simple trip to start with, after all how hard can it be ? There is something else I figured out and that is that I don’t want to do it on my own. I want the companionship of someone with me to chat to and also help with things like putting up the tent etc. I think it may also be less putting up a tent and more stopping at the occasional pub for the night, now that sounds really nice. This may also be a bit expensive though so just one night would be good.

I suppose it’s not just about the cycling and the camping at the end of the day but it’s also about having an adventure, something that I think most of us don’t have too much these days. If I do ever actually get round to doing a tour I will let you know about it.

By the way if anyone reading this has done a trip like this on any scale please let us know about it by posting your stories in the forum, it will be great to read about your adventures and maybe get some tips on how to do it properly.