August 27, 2011
There I times that I feel as though the biggest obstacle to packing up and heading out on a bike tour is deciding on a route. The list of places to go, and cool things to see, is so long. How do you pick one route over another? The overwhelming choices can easily cause a person to drag his feet, and even spend years thinking about a tour, instead of going on one.
If you find yourself falling into this trap, here's a general outline of how I go about settling on a touring destination. This is by no means a definitive answer to deciding on a route, but perhaps it will help get you moving in the right direction.
Like most of my event planning goes, I try to keep things simple, and located in a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is simply a list of things that are important to me, some of which are broken down into greater detail. For instance, 'food and beverage' is high on my list of important features for a tour, so I break that down into a few types of ethnic foods and beverages. Budget is also high on the list, but it doesn't come with many sub-categories (it's locked in at 'high bang for low buck'). Having lived only in landlocked states, it is also tempting and easy for me to throw in coastal areas as ideal locations.
Referring to this list helps me narrow down my options; and, more importantly, makes me feel confident and excited about my decisions. Here's a look at my running list, which doesn't have to -- and probably shouldn't -- look like yours at all. The key is that whatever you create gets you excited about hitting the road soon.
Food/Beverage - Fresh, Authentic, Pastries, Coffee, Soda, Bee
Landscape - Ocean, Beaches, High Mountains
Budget - High bang for low buck
Landmarks - Ancient Ruins, National Parks
Road Type - Paved, Dirt, Rural, Remote, Small Towns
Language Spoken - English, Spanish
Photos by Josh Tack.
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.