Is touring season over?

I probably mentioned this before, but one of my favorite aspects about working at the hostel is running into touring cyclists. Unfortunately this year the number of touring cyclists that have stayed there has been abnormally low. Now it’s not because there are less touring cyclists, but because the hostel (and most lodging facilities in Portland) has been extremely booked over the summer. For a cyclotourist passing through town, it’s hard to find lodging on the fly. And because of the nature of cyclotouring, it’s hard to know where one will be more than a few days in advance, so making advance reservations rarely happens.22054029766_3cc3e6fb92_k

But things have let up a little bit. And that gives more opportunities for the passing cyclotourist to find a bed at the hostel. And that’s what happened on Saturday, when an Austrian tourist named Michel came through. He’s on a long tour that started in Fairbanks, and he’ll be heading down to Mexico. Now’s a good time to be passing through as the weather’s still nice, and he’ll probably be far enough south to avoid the rains when they come in.

I’ll probably see a few more outlier tourists before winter comes out in force. (And for this area, that just means more rain.) But for the most part, touring season is over. And that goes for myself. I hope to get one more camping trip in this month, and me being me, I’ll camp at some point over the winter. But let’s face it: I won’t desire to do multi-day touring rides when the weather’s crap and the days are short.

So now is the time to reflect on the past year’s bike camping and touring. How was it? Definitely not my best year, but probably better than last year, as I managed to get four multi-day tours in, one of which was a week!

  1. The Three Speed Camping Tour in SW Wisconsin in May (after the Lake Pepin Tour) (3 days)
  2. The San Juans Inn-to-Inn (no camping) tour in July (4 days)
  3. The not really a Three Speed Campout in the Columbia Gorge in August (3 days)
  4. The Eastern Oregon Tour (8 days)

So not bad. The area where I fell short was in the simple bike overnight. Despite taking the Bike Tour a Month challenge, that didn’t happen, as I didn’t camp in April or June. And I had plenty of weekends to camp in summer, but the heat didn’t inspire me. Seems like this is a typical pattern: start out the year with camping during the rainy season, excited about all the camping ahead. Then it fizzles out.

Part of it may be that I’ve been to every nearby camping spot at least once. Some I return to because I like them, some I return to because they are close, or in the case with off-season camping, they are still open. I’m getting bored with the options. I need to go further afield. But it’s hard to do that unless you are committed to 60 mile days one-way for camping. And those long days are hard to do when days are short.

And part of it was because of bikes. I made do with the Crested Butte earlier this year because I had no other option other than a three speed. Now that I have the Bantam, I’m more willing to do longer rides.

So hopefully 2016 will see a marked increase in the amount of overnights I do. And I look forward to that! For now, let’s hope I can get one last camping trip in before it gets too crappy. And then when I get antsy enough, crappy season camping!

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2 thoughts on “Is touring season over?

  1. Hey Shawn, good write up. I was talking to Curtis on our last foray and he’d accomplished the bike tour a month club challenge and then some! Some people have the time and the weather down here cooperates.

  2. I didn’t do as many overnighters as I had hoped, but the wettest May on record flooded/damaged my State Park options until mid-September. So hopefully I’ll get some fall and early winter overnighters in. Unexpectedly, I was able to bag TWO multi-day tours in 2015…with you in the spring and just recently the C&O Canal. I also accomplished a “credit card overnighter” out to Bowie, Texas and found that I really enjoy traveling light.

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