September 4, 2010
Respect is something everyone has to earn. As traveling cyclists, that can sometimes be harder to remember — but even during moments of frustration, we should always keep in mind that whenever we are out riding, we're ambassadors for current and future riders. One area where we may forget our duties as ambassadors is when we finish the day's ride and check into the comfort of a hotel or motel room.
While I like to camp when touring, occasionally it's nice to grab a room to get out of the rain, or to enjoy an evening of air conditioning. While most hotels and motels are good about allowing bikes into their guest rooms, it takes only a few bad experiences for a hotel to take this privilege away from everyone. To help keep the option open for fellow cyclists, here are a few things you can do to maintain a good relationship with the staff and management at a hotel or motel.
1. Have a rag on hand to wipe down your bike before entering the hotel, especially if you're coming in from the rain. Focus on keeping the tires clean so you don't lead a trail of mud and dirt to your door.
2. Don't crowd other guests in the elevator with your bike. If there are a few people in the elevator already, let them go and grab the next empty one. They will appreciate it, and it will save you the effort of positioning your bike in a tight space.
3. Once you have the bike in your room, be aware of your chain. Try not to let it lean or brush up against the bed sheets, curtains, or furniture.
4. If possible, avoid storing the bike on carpet. Sometimes this is unavoidable, but if there is a tile or hardwood portion of floor, leave your bike there. Inevitably, there will be some water or debris that falls off your bike, and it is much easier to clean up from a hard floor than from carpet. Private balconies are ideal.
5. Don't use hotel towels to clean your bike. While this can be incredibly tempting, always keep your own rag on hand for this.
6. Lastly, be sure to thank the hotel staff for allowing you to safely store your bike in your room.
If for some reason the hotel you're visiting does not allow bikes inside their rooms, ask about a storage shed, or a secure courtyard where you can lock up your bike for the night.
The better we represent ourselves to the public, the better position we put ourselves in to earn respect from others — and for other cyclists.
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.
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In addition to the excellent comments above, I always carry a small poly tarp (4' x 6') with me that serves many purposes - one of which is to store the bike on in the hotel/motel room. I make sure that I mention this to the desk clerk in case they are doubtful of allowing my bike into their rooms.