To the Soloists

old donald

New Member
Just wondering how long you can keep going on your own ? I know the round the world adventure tour types manage - but what about "normal" people if there is such a thing - my ticket each year is normally for 5-7 days which is fine - but I am contemplating a bigger trip as the kids get older (no interesting in cycling - and the miss's can't ride a bike).

A guy at work has been granted three months unpaid leave to do the West coast - got me thinking - but 3 months on your todd

Or is that why people have so much technology with them today ?

Just wondering?
 
Hi, well im about to attempt solo a 20+ day trip from Gib to Yorkshire. Other than day rides ive never done any overnight stuff before. I do expect to get very lonely on route and go somewhat mental. However i will be taking a small laptop, internet dongle and mobile. So hoping that friends on both sides of the route will keep me sane.

You hear about a lot of people meeting others at campsites and that and grouping together. I dont know if this will happen or not. Ill be cycling through up Spain and France, so i dont rate my chances of meeting up with anyone there.

The other hard thing for me, is going into restaurants on my own. I just cant do it. But am going to have to brave it, as I know i have to eat proper food during my trip. Though if i see any take away pizza places, i know i'll go there first and go find somewhere quiet to eat on my todd haha.
 

Redvers

Well-Known Member
Location
France
Done a few solo trips around the wilds of France, I found that I tended to get totally lost in my own head, not necessarily a good thing to do for too long, although the Kilometres do fly by.

In the end I started staying over night at Youth Hostels rather than Gites or B&Bs as I wasn’t set up for camping. This worked well as you have the combination of being alone and free to choose in the day and some good company, often including other cyclists, in the evening.

If by ‘the west coast’ you mean the west coast of the USA, this could work well as when I did it years ago I found it was a very popular route for cycling and I met up with dozens of other people every day en route, so you could be as alone or as gregarious as you want.

You could well be right on the technology point.
 

rich p

ridiculous old lush
Location
Brighton
My wife loves touring so I nearly always have company. The most I've done on my own is 3 days in England but I have a hankering to do a longer one on my own but I like to chatter so I'm not sure I'd enjoy it. I think I'd be okay during the day but I might get bored in the evenings especially in a country where I don't speak the lingo and don't have pubs!
 
OP
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old donald

New Member
Over 5-7 days I am fine - the restuarant bit I have worked out - take a book or newspaper then you are not sat there looking like a sad old codger. And yes at the campsites you do me people who are cyclist doing the same thing. Met two top Aussies in Ypres last year for example and had a good chat.

May be I need to beef up my technical armoury. ( IPOD/better charger / phone etc)

Like you say though a long time lost in your own head could be a challenge and whilst I love cycling all day or say 8.am to 4 or 6pm not sure I could keep that pace up over 3 months.
 

HelenD123

Guru
Location
York
I did a short tour last year on my own and after 3 or 4 days was really ready for some company. I checked into a hostel and found some great people to chat to.

I'm currently over two weeks into a 6 month tour and this time haven't felt lonely at all. I've liked cycling on my own as I can go at my own pace and stop when I want. I don't have a problem eating in restaurants on my own as I had to get used to it for work for a while. I've met quite a few people to talk to and even a couple of cycle tourists who I camped with one night and kept leap frogging on the trail. I'm wondering whether the real reason I haven't felt lonely though is that I have a netbook with me this time and there's been plenty of wifi so I've been on here and in contact with people back home. In fact I'd say that it's been too readily available and it can be easy to 'waste' an evening on the net rather than switching off and reading a book or interacting with other people. One night in a hostel dorm there were about 5 of us just glued to our netbooks and it seems to defeat the object of travel.
 

aberal

Senior Member
Location
Midlothian
I did 6 months in Australia on my own with a contingency plan to leave after 3 months in case I felt lonely. I didn't. In fact after 6 months I'd have happily stayed another 6. There's a couple of things helped - firstly the internet and the ability to communicate with people back home whenever I found an internet cafe (which wasn't every day by any means) and secondly....you're never really on your own. There's always someone to pass the time of day with somewhere, whether its a shopkeeper, barman, people in campsites, or whatever, wherever. That's not so easy where people don't speak English I suppose, but every big bike ride book I ever read, the travellers seem to have the same kind of experience wherever they are.
 

bianchi1

Guru
Location
malverns
Did three months around Europe when I was younger. Now I have chidren I manage the odd week now and again.

I have so many plans for the future tho. All solo. Go at your own pace, stay where you want, stop when you want and go where you want. Bliss.
 

Brains

Legendary Member
Location
Greenwich
Longest cycle trip I have done solo is only 3 days in the UK, but I used to do a lot of overseas business trips, often for weeks at a time, I found as long as you kept moving it was fine, and you meet people all the way along
 

hubbike

Senior Member
i've been cycling alone for the last 7 months. except, well, I have hooked up with other cyclists along the way. whether for 3 days or 3 weeks....

I enjoy the time alone but occassionally need to find someone to talk english to. poor them!

in shorter tours in the past, like lejog, i have found people for a chat in a pub of an evening and during the day just enjoyed the ride...

ipod and books are really impòrtant to me...
 

toroddf

Guest
I have never thought about this before.......

I am a sad loner who enjoys my own company and the landscape. I can do 1-3 weeks alone. I prefer it this way.
 

Anthony

New Member
Location
Wokingham
I've only ever done tours in a group, but I'll be going it alone for 4 weeks this summer. At the moment I like the idea of solo travel but I guess I won't know for sure until a couple of weeks into my trip. The only thing that I am worried about is that I'll be in Norway, so not many English speakers to chat with.
 

Redvers

Well-Known Member
Location
France
Anthony said:
I've only ever done tours in a group, but I'll be going it alone for 4 weeks this summer. At the moment I like the idea of solo travel but I guess I won't know for sure until a couple of weeks into my trip. The only thing that I am worried about is that I'll be in Norway, so not many English speakers to chat with.

I met a Norwegian in Bergen once who didn’t speak good English but I think he was the only one…:sad:

Seriously, if you are by any chance North Cape bound on a bike, in summer you will be needing some high end protection against mosquitoes.
 
Location
Midlands
There have been a couple of threads about this recently – are we becoming more sensitive to being on our own (in a society which seems unable to detach themselves from he mobile phone for more than a few moments) or more worried that as lone cycle tourists that we may become labelled as some sort of sociopathic sub-group.

I have cycle toured on my own for the last 15 years or so – For me it is expedience – I would never have gone anywhere if I decided I must have a cycling partner – but it becomes a very selfish thing to do – I have cycled on many occasions with people I have met on the road and enjoyed their company – but there comes a time when I have to make the break – interestingly on one occasion I had cycled with someone for about four days and enjoyed their company however, we discovered that we had both been looking for an excuse to separate without offending the other.

Generally I find people to have conversations most days when cycling in the south and west of Europe- sometimes people are practically queuing up to ask where you have been and where are you going – Scandinavia and Eastern Europe outside of the cities less so – there is often just nobody about – in fact last year between Latvia, across Poland and to the German Border I hardly spoke to anyone apart from in shops (wild camping a fair proportion of the time is not helpful in that respect) – so if you do require social interaction I think it is best to pick where you go and where you stay – though it is not always guaranteed that just because there are a lot of people about that they will be sociable – I cycled up from Queenstown to Haast in New Zealand and had not seen anybody enroute – had to stay in a backpackers because they would not let me camp because it was raining too hard – once I had got myself dry I thought I would find someone to talk in the crowded hostel - but no - everyone was immersed in their own little bubble doing their diaries, reading their books planning their trips

Anthony - Redvers +1 - practically every Norwegian, Swede, Finn etc I have met speaks pretty good English - problem is more that they can be a bit thin on the ground
 
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