Full blown bike touring season out here, friends. Now. And it’s a lot of people who don’t know. They don’t even know they don’t know.
Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. #dontkidyourself
You got that gospel turned on and turned up? Cuz I’m fixing to preach at you. Ram some beliefs down your soul. Demand that you wake up to your present situation.
Goes like this- in order to get out a long ways, you really do need a partner. Minimum. It’s just not safe nor practical to get after it otherwise. I mean, it can happen, same as you could go cyclotouring without a 6 pack but you know reasonableness is a virtue. Given that you need a partner, it follows that you have to be a partner. That is what we are talking about here today. A true partner is (at the very least) considerate of others, polite, courteous, gracious, generous, unabashed and humorous.
Your expedition must be planned. The 1st hurdle: agreeing on a plan…location, total distance, length of time overall, etc. Ask yourself what you think you can do, and what you know you can do. Do you have the skills and knowledge (that might be) required? If not you are dependent on your partner(s), which is fine unless it isn’t. Obviously, one must be responsible for oneself and have the tools to deal with routine mechanical issues but sharing expertise is legit. Know in for what you are likely to be. You might need to read that again.
I don’t give a heck about your gear. Let’s assume you have it dialed- that you are so flush with cash you bought the Gucci newest in new, or that you are capable of making what you got work. Whatever works. Really: fuck your gear. It is the least interesting aspect of an adventure. Focus is better attuned to the actual doing, not the having.
Lots of times (most?) the route length and timing will determine who can attend, and the features (are there swimming holes? can we get cold beer? how many miles per day at what pace for how many days at what altitude?) will determine who wants to attend. So there is that. I got partners I love to 1sy 2sy with, but with whom I would not 6sy or 7sy. For example. You got to know if you’re going at a party pace or not. I know that seems ridiculous (You: “of course I’m a party!”) but partying in some situations is ill advised and dangerous and party is for fun, not danger. If you are really out some place, it is trippy enough to save the party for camp time. Judgement.
Me? My name is Dick, and I’m a Libra. You? I don’t know who the fuck you is, so I have no idea if you’ve ever been on a team. A real team, like a real family, only works if it’s members pull together. There is a saying about including someone because disincluding them would generate aggravation (inside the tent pissing out, rather than outside the tent pissing in)- to which I say nope. Anyone who is going to be indiscriminate with their pissing can go piss up a rope. You know who you are.
It is worth mentioning the seemingly obvious- folks have expectations. These expectations may not be so obvious. They may not even be known to the conscious mind. Managing expectations can be tricky. Communication is the key. I never understood how mutiny might work until I watched a touring group come apart at the seams. Lines were drawn, tempers flared, and the insults came out. That shit is unacceptable. Giving in to bitterness and complaint is no way to have a Good Time. So when it gets really hard and stops being fun (and it will if there is real distance and wild terrain) remind yourself that this too will pass and don’t be a baby. Remain simpatico and willing. Your fleeting life is passing you by and you can load it up with a Good Time and ride off towards the sunset or not. I know what I’m gonna do.
All in all, it’s just riding bikes. You’re good at that.by