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Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Bike Tour Bailout

By Pico Triano
Photos: Pico Triano

I have a friend who always wanted to go long-distance bicycle touring by himself. He put in the training. He bought all the equipment he needed. He did all the tour preparation any rider would need to and left for his trip. A few days in, he suffers an injury bringing his bike and trailer to a stop. I don't think he actually fell but the accident caused the pedal on his bike to ram him in the calf. That was the end of his tour he couldn't continue. The sad thing is he never tried again.

There are reasons to end a tour prematurely. I'm not going to go through them all because they are as numerous as the riders out there. Injury, mechanical failure, illness, other commitments, it could be any number of things or a combination of reasons. I've had to throw in the towel on a number of occasions and have had successful virtually problem free tours as well.

For me every tour is a learning experience, even the ones that failed. Sometimes I learn more from them than the ones that go without a hitch. I don't let a failure, even one of my own doing, stop me from enjoying travelling by bicycle. In case of emergency, I'm always prepared for things to go completely wrong because life is unpredictable.

Easiest bail out is on a day trip. I always recommend doing day trips along with short overnighters to get ready for a big tour. Allows you to iron a lot of problems out. Bail out is sometimes available in the form of a quick phone call to a friend or family member.

On bigger tours I've relied on the buses to get home. On my biggest tour I was having mechanical problems and was falling behind schedule. I didn't have the funds to correct the problem which was only getting worse. I did have enough touring money to buy a bus ticket home. Mechanical trouble got me a second time cycling in Quebec and had to find a bus home. There was a third bus trip when I started suffering from constant leg cramps. Bad luck can happen to the best of us. With sufficient cash and no harsh schedule to keep. I would have finished all those tours. Unfortunately I'm not the only cyclist that has to face these issues. Just don't walk away from touring because one thing went wrong while travelling.

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