Organized Tours in Which Other People Carry the Stuff

Samantha Brennan wrote this web article about her participation on ACC’s Newfoundland Bicycle Tour.  It was published in the Fit is a Feminist Issue blog.
samantha brennan on newfoundland tour

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My favorite holidays involve bicycles. But you know that.

Yesterday I posted about some of our self supported rail trail holidays.  I’d like to do more of those. Easy, inexpensive, and just 3-4 days. But I also love longer trips, especially longer trips in which we take our fast bikes and other people carry all of the stuff. Today I’m looking back fondly on some of the formal tours we’ve done. These are longer, 7-10 days, and involve a lot more riding.

The most luxurious organized tour I’ve done might just be a once in a lifetime treat. It was in Arizona, featured a terrific host, and a lovely neon green bus that accompanied us along the way. Bags were dropped off in our rooms, someone else put air in our bike tires, and gourmet lunches met us en route. We were spoiled silly.

The scenery and riding were incredible. Thanks Bike Escapades. So too were the food and accommodation. We stayed in gorgeous B and B’s and historic inns. This would actually work well as a tour for a serious cyclist and his or her not so serious spouse. Many days we split up the group at lunch sending less serious cycling spouses on ahead to the next town for sightseeing and shopping. Even if I can’t do that exact tour again without winning the lottery, I’d love to go back and ride some of those roads. Amazing cycling country.

Our one hassle was US border security since we were riding so close to Mexico. It seemed every second car was border patrol. We kept our passports in little plastic bags in the back of our bike jerseys because we were stopped a few times. We joked that as Canadians we were actually a little far from our border. If we were trying to enter the United states illegally we’d almost overshot our mark.

Much less luxurious but breathtakingly beautiful and with some terrific riding was my trip with Atlantic Canada Cycling up the northwest coast of Newfoundland. That took ten days and while a bus carried all our gear we camped each night in parks and cooked all our own meals. We saw moose and caribou. And lots of mountains. And of course, some rain did fall.

Here’s what the tour company has to say about this trip:

“This tour of Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula will not be an everyday bike trip. It will be an excursion of rugged landscape and occasionally challenging elements. Those who accept nature’s challenge will be richly rewarded. To some, the Newfoundland Bicycle Tour will be a challenge, a goal and the satisfaction of completing it. To others, it will be a chance to renew and strengthen friendships, or to make new ones. For a great many, it will be the chance to explore an exotic location. For everyone, it will be an opportunity to see Newfoundland as no other form of travel can. It will be perhaps the most inexpensive, not to mention fun, vacation of the island available.We have planned this trip with adventurous cyclists in mind.”

This trip attracted hardy souls. The tour owner and operator joked that it would be better to go in July but that’s when they do their PEI trip. The people who want to ride in Nfld don’t care about the weather but the people who are going to flat, sunny PEI expect fine days. So it’s Nfld in June. As we warned, the weather wasn’t perfect. This is Newfoundland after all but everyone finished the distance everyday, including a couple in their 70s riding department store hybrid bikes. They set out ahead of us every day and arrived long after but with big grins on their faces. We also had some glorious sunny days. It even went up to about 20 C and locals complained about the heat.

We rode on main highways but got an excellent welcome from local drivers. Most seemed surprised and happy to see bikes on the road.

Where next? Maybe Cuba.

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