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Would anyone tour alone?

tommyfelttommyfelt Posts: 90
edited October 2012 in Tour & expedition
Does anyone on here prefer/enjoy touring alone? Are there any disadvantages to doing it this way?


  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,388
    I toured with my wife for many years, including a three-month trip across France and Spain in 1991, and we always had a good time. But she doesn't enjoy roughing it in a lightweight tent any more so I've been going away on my own since the mid 1990s.

    I have to say I prefer solo touring because I can be completely selfish, ride at the pace I want to ride, eat and drink what I want and keep the tent neat and tidy with everything in its place and instantly at hand. If the weather turns really nasty, with storms and floods, or campsites are closed or non-existent, I know I can cope and I don't have to worry about anyone else losing morale and feeling miserable. Having a row with your partner when you are cooped up in a small tent of hotel room is not great!

    I don't get bored because I'm riding most of the day, enjoying the scenery, sorting out the logistics of navigation, buying food and finding campsites. Putting up the tent, washing my clothes, having a shower and cooking dinner take up the late afternoon and early evening. And then I really enjoy relaxing in my Thermarest chairkit, drinking wine and reading - or just thinking.

    When I toured with my wife, we would often visit an open garden or stately home in the day and go out for a meal in the evening. But that's not as good when you are on your own so I end up just riding.I do occasionally have a meal on my own - in France, it's common to see solo eaters in restaurants.

    As I love reading, I spend hours on site with a good book. But I guess people who don't like reading could get bored in the evenings.

    It's rare for me to have a day when I don't get into conversations with people in shops, on bikes or on campsites. And going solo to another country (I normally go to France) is a great way of improving your skill and confidence at a foreign language and really getting to know another country.

    A disadvantage of going solo is you have to carry all your stuff instead of sharing it with someone else. So I use the lightest, but expensive, camping stuff to keep the weight down.
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    I have done one commercial tour but every other one solo.
    On some tours I meet up with other riders and form little groups for a few days. On others, I ride alone most of the time but I always seem to meet people along the way.
    The disadvantages of solo touring: the logistics of leaving your bike in a city centre whilst you seek out tourist information or toilet.
    You pay more for campsites; ie tent + 1 person.
    You cant share the load, ie cooking and tools.
    You cant always buy food in solo portions, ie packets of rice or pasta so you end up carrying more food than you
    want to.
    You cant multi-task at the campsite, ie cook and tune the bikes. I don't mind this in the evening but I like to get going in the morning but always seem to be faffing around.

    There are occasions when i need 3 hands for repairs but at campsites I can usually recruit someone to help.
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    You get to go at your own pace, take a detour if you want to, improvise from day to day.

    Disadvantages: well I guess it depends on how self-reliant you are and happy with your own company. In purely practical terms you have no one to share the weight of tools and spares etc
  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I have toured all over the world, and always alone. My time in the saddle is my private time and I love just being able to go where and when I please and at whatever pace catches my fancy at that moment in time, without reference to anybody else in the whole wide world.
  • slc1slc1 Posts: 5
    Most definitely yes. I'm female and have toured alone in Outer Hebrides and then last year in France. As everyone else says, the downside is the amount of gear to carry. The plus is getting proper 'me' time. From the purely female point of view, getting stared at a lot in France took some getting used to.
  • Solo touring is great, pure indulgence, also forces you to interact more with your environment, in groups you tend to be self contained, as others have said you can tag along with others if you wish but without the obligations you get with a formal group.

    I also like going with like minded friends, that is those who are up for a bit of a laugh, socialising etc, this does not suit all, so in a group you need to be clear about the boundaries or lack of !
  • random manrandom man Posts: 1,514
    I've only ever toured alone. On my first tour in Ireland in 1985 I rode with other solo tourers most of the time but haven't met so many in England recently.
    As others have said, going solo is either selfish or very considerate, depends on your view :wink:
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    I did a day on my own in France when my companions chickened and that was cool. I am going to try 2 to 3 days on my own in Brittany just to see what it's like and I think I will cope ok. I live close to Plymouth ferryport so quite easy. Will do hotels and live out of my topeak saddle box which will be a challenge. I think it is quite difficult to find people who you can get along with and also similarly matched ride wise. Missus certainly won't want to go
  • A definite yes, like the other posters. I have toured many areas of the world, and pretty much always alone. The advantages are the freedom to go wherever and at what pace you wish and change plans on a whim. It's easy to meet fellow travellers.
  • satanassatanas Posts: 1,303
    Life is much easier when you don't have to struggle with other people's rising times, sightseeing agendas/fetishes, riding speeds, etc, etc.

    If you want to change the route or timetable - no worries.

    Unless you are going somewhere particularly remote you will probably see other cyclists and can perhaps ride with them at times.

    Locals are more likely to be friendly if there are only one or two people as well.

    Yes, you have to carry everything yourself, but this means you aren't dependent on someone else and can go wherever you like without any additional aggro.

    The longer the trip, the more likely people will be doing it solo...

    Travelling with others can have advantages, but making things simpler is not one of them!
  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    Another disadvantage: you never have enough dirty clothes to justify using a washing machine.
  • priorypriory Posts: 743
    I have done many one week tours alone, but I find sleeping alone in the middle of nowhere in the tent rather scary. you cannot see out but they or it know where you are.

    I wonder if I know anyone who would not scream a bit if awoken at 0400 by a donkey lunging into the tent looking for your food bag(corsica).

    I have been known to put the tent up with some noise-making devices and myself concealed some way away under a bush. am I a pessimist?

    hostels and cheap band b are fine. you can meet some nice people.
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  • satanassatanas Posts: 1,303
    ^ Scottish sheep are also very noisy - never camp in the same field with them as they will come up to your tent in the morning and start baahing surprisingly loudly.

    The solution to campng is to camp where you cannot be seen. I generally camp above the road wherever possible, and I have a dark green tent and *no* reflective guy ropes (or other reflectors) visible. If they cannot see you they won't hassle you.

    NB: This doesn't work in too well India as there are people in the most out of the way places imaginable, however, I've never been hassled there in the slightest. (Except in touristy parts of cities.)
  • It's probably more of a fear of being alone rather than any practical considerations. The first solo tour can seem a bit daunting, but once you've tried it, it's likely you'll wonder what you were worried about in the first place.
    It's an uphill climb to the bottom
  • Have only done the one so far, but loved it - a week getting to the Alps, not camping, so travelling really light. It was great for my confidence speaking French as I spent my pedalling time trying out phrases in my head and trying to remember my vocab. I just thought of it as seven 100-mile rides, that just happened to be on consecutive days, and in a another country.

    Thoroughly recommended. There are times to be with friends, and then there are times when it's good to be alone.
  • I love touring on my own, probably prefer it to having company to be honest. I can get up when I want, stop when I want and ride as fast/slow as I want. Done a few tours with company and always found us riding at different speeds/wanting to go to other places.

    I guess a lot of it will come down to who you are riding with, I have only found one person that I really enjoy touring with for long periods as we are very similar so it makes it easier!
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  • HoopdriverHoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    priory wrote:
    I have done many one week tours alone, but I find sleeping alone in the middle of nowhere in the tent rather scary. you cannot see out but they or it know where you are.

    I wonder if I know anyone who would not scream a bit if awoken at 0400 by a donkey lunging into the tent looking for your food bag(corsica).

    I have been known to put the tent up with some noise-making devices and myself concealed some way away under a bush. am I a pessimist?

    hostels and cheap band b are fine. you can meet some nice people.
    That does seem kind if pessimistic. I have camped a great deal in the middle of nowhere ( outback Australia) and absolutely loved it. Never had the least bit of hassle.
  • Folks, some time ago I started a thread over on the CTC forum. It has kind of taken on a life of its own, but I think it may be of interest to anyone reading this thread...
  • satanassatanas Posts: 1,303
    ^ I'm not sure I like the idea of touring with a "loved one" as mooted in that thread - at least in the Evelyn Waugh sense; I imagine the logistics would be a tad difficult...
  • I'm about to start out (end of month) on a world tour and it's a solo trip. I may hook up with other riders at times, but I love the idea that my rough outline of a route can be changed at any time and because I'm solo, I can make the decisions. Yeh it's a bit daunting, but also so exciting!
    Another bonus is I can decide how far and how long each day, whereas if you're riding with others you have to make allowances etc. Just love the idea of doing what I want. My 2p worth.
  • satanassatanas Posts: 1,303
    ^ Exactly! And any others have to be available at suitable times as well...
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