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As we travel by bikes, Rebecca and I will attempt to carry everything that we need to be virtually self sufficient. We have clothing to keep us warm, or cool as the climate changes, we have tools and spares to deal with common mechanical issues, we have a tiny stove, pots and utensils to feed ourselves, and we have a tent and sleeping pads for camping. When it comes to the last issue, where we will sleep each night, that, for many cycle tourers, is the biggest unknown.

As we understand it, the common sleep options are:

  • Wild (stealth) camping
  • Camping on someone’s property with permission
  • Hotels, motels, hostels
  • Warmshowers (Couchsurfing)
  • Fire stations
  • Playgrounds, parks, etc.

When it comes to wild camping, the typical scenario is that, when late afternoon rolls around, cyclists start to look for a spot off the main route that will allow them to discreetly set up camp, discreetly being the key word. This, I believe, will get infinitely easier once we make our way south of the US border. Alternatively, cyclists will sometimes ask residents if they know of a spot where they could pitch their tent for the night.

sleep

A pic taken during last evening’s ride, Rebecca’s sleeping pad strapped onto the front of her bike. 

Our first night on the road

Another option for cyclists is to call upon the courtesy of a Warmshowers host. Similar to Couchsurfing, but specifically for those traveling by bicycle, those in the Warmshowers network offer up a bed, some floor space, or a patch of grass for a tent to those traveling past their home. They do this free of charge, most often because they have some affinity for biking or cycle touring, perhaps because they have done some traveling by bike themselves. When we leave our daughter’s house on the 1st – that’s our intended ride-away day – our planned destination for our first night away is a Warmshowers location that we made contact with.

Strangers in your home?

Some people may think it strange to stay with complete strangers, or even more weird, for people to offer a spot in their home to someone that they don’t know. Some might even consider it dangerous. Interestingly, aside from family, the only people we’ve ever had stay with us on our boat(s) have been complete strangers, and many of them have grown to become lifelong friends. So, in our minds, and obviously in the minds of an entire network of others, the risk is worth the reward.

8 Comments

  1. This will be a interesting Journey you two are setting off on..e..

    Be Safe..

  2. If you ever bike through Maryland, you are welcome to stay with us!

  3. Mike,

    When I was in my bike tour on the Transamerica trail, I never stealth camped! It was important for me to have a shower every night so stealth camping was out. I stayed at churches, warmshowers, fire stations, parks, and of course hotels. I typically stayed in a hotel if it was available and it was suppose to rain.

    Best of luck to you two!
    Bill

    • Thanks, Bill. I definitely think that where a person is touring will determine which options are available. Apparently, once we hit Baja, wild camping is easy, and beautiful. A real bed with a shower is certainly a treat though, and after several days on the road, I imagine one that is very welcome.

  4. At least in the states, any public law enforcement building will be accommodating for bicycling. I stayed at many along my way to California. They were more than welcoming to help out. Did most overnights finding a place to pitch a tent. Rarely stayed in hotels. But did make plenty of chance acquaintances to stay for a night or two. For instance, a long day ended rolling into small town with no place to stay. A suggested place was a no go. Knocked on a door at 2045 and kindly requested to pitch the tent in the fenced backyard. Sure make happen. The next morning, was invited to for a full breakfast, great conversation and a lasting memory. That was 30 plus years ago. Staying somewhere is really a place of mind not a place to be. Bicycling v sailing. Virtually the same. Different nuances. And same state of mind, being confidently curious, open to opportunities and making it happen. After all it is a journey!

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