Wanted: Cycle Touring Companion

          My 2021 cycling plans are still plagued with a considerable amount of uncertainty. We feel certain about cycling the Big Island of Hawaii later in the summer but after that things become rather cloudy. My Thailand to Malaysia trip depends entirely on the COVID situation in that part of the world. At the moment, it does not look good, but we have until November.  If Alla decides not to work, then we will cycle the Vélodyssée (Euro Velo 1) in France and possibly along the Atlantic coast of Portugal as well. If Southeast Asia is closed and Alla decides to work, then I still want to cycle in Europe but not alone. I will need to find a cycling partner.

          I have cycled alone in Europe before but always from a bike hotel which I highly recommend. It is great to get up, have a huge cycling breakfast, ride half the day or more, and return for a late lunch. You can also phone the hotel for assistance if needed. This is very different than rising each day to cycle to a new destination. For this type of cycling, I think it would be more fun to ride with a person, or a small group, with whom you could relive the day over dinner and preview the day ahead. At home it is nice to have a cycling partner(s) to help should you run into mechanical or other issues. This is truer still if you are in an unknown land. While I have always felt safe in Europe, certainly safer than in the US, cycling with a partner(s) provides a little additional safety and visibility as groups of cyclists tend to stand out when on roads or watching the bikes when a food or toilet stop is required.

          I have never searched for a cycling partner before so the first question I faced was: Where do you find a touring companion? As with almost every question, Google had an answer. Let me share what I have found. The Adventure Cycling Association appeared in search after search and for good reason. They have a “Companions Wanted” section on their website for you to search for a companion or create your own listing. You can also look at other people’s posts which range from short trips to year long, and longer, cycle around the world adventures. Click here to go straight to their page: Companions Wanted | Adventure Cyclist | Adventure Cycling Association

CyclingTouring seems to be a newer site. To quote directly from their site “CyclingTouring.org is here to help all cyclists find bicycle touring buddies & friends. Whether you have a bicycle tour planned, want to join someone else on their tour, or are already mid-tour and want to meet people. Our friendly community spirit will have you sharing touring adventures with newfound friends in no time!”  Here is an example of one of the listings on their site:

“I’m returning to Ireland in 2022 to enjoy the best cycle touring in Europe along the western coastlines, outlying islands, and Northern Ireland and wish to share the adventure with one other sociable, M/F over 35. Fly to Shannon. Three to four weeks. B&Bs, 40-60 miles a day. Light, daily rain, cool temps. Little sun. Prehistoric settlements, lots of stone walls, conviviality, Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking) regions. A ride on the “Happy Hooker” plus a ferry to Skellig Michael or Inishturk (Clare Island). An extensive network of quiet back roads, rolling hills, stunning mountain passes, beautiful greenery, lovely towns and villages, the world’s friendliest people, and finger-tapping trad music in the pubs at night make Ireland ideal for bike touring. The dates are approximate. In reply, tell me what about this trip appeals to you and a little about your cycle touring experience”.

Crazy Guy on a Bike is noted as a great blog spot where cyclists post their adventures, but it also has a Touring Classified section where people can post for touring companions as well as search for tour companions. I like their layout which can be seen in the example below. Their listings give a rather complete overview of the rider, their expectations, and a sense of whether or not you might be a good cycling companion for them. The format is also an excellent guide for any post you might want to make on other sites as you search for a cycling partner. I certainly plan to borrow it if I have to search for a cycling partner.

Summary: Florence, OR to San Diego Topic: Bicycle Touring   Category: Companions:
     Accommodations: Motels
     Age: Baby Boomers
     Age: Old Fogies
     Deviations: Welcomed
     Duration: 1-2 months
     Food: Restaurants and Diners
     Gender: Mix
     Level: First tour
     Level: Intermediate
     Level: Advanced
     On-road
     Orientation: Don’t care
     Politics: Conservative
     Politics: Independent
     Religion: No thanks
     Speed: Medium
     Type: Credit card Locale: North America > United States – map Status: Open Name: Suzanne Stack ★★ (yumadons) Text: 60 year old female, credit card touring (not bringing camping stuff), using ACA Pacific Coast maps. Looking to share rooms with M or F. Departing Florence, OR ~ Aug 9. Hanging a left in San Diego and riding back to my home in AZ. Experienced cyclist / tourer, there may be some roses to smell on this route and I’m in no hurry to get home. It’s really hot in AZ! Contact: Send email

Facebook has a large number of cycling groups that can be used for a cycle touring companion search. The groups are also a great source for cycling and cycle touring information. For example, I regularly read Bicycle Touring & Bikepacking | Facebook. For minimalists, there is Ultralight Bikepacking & Touring group | Facebook. For folks who want to get straight to the point, try Cycle Touring Companions | Facebook. Of course, there are many more and I suggest you post in more than one to reach the widest possible audience.

          Warm Showers which is well known as a site to find hosts who house touring cyclists, but it also has a Looking for Companions sections. It looks rather disorganized with posts from 2016 and 2020 on the first page. Still, it is free to look and might be worth a quick search.

I am sure there are many other places to search for cycling companions- your local bicycle shop, your cycling club, on-line cycle forums, and more- but the above will expose you to a wide audience. To improve your chances of finding someone to join you be sure to share as much information as possible.  Finally, before you accept anyone, or decide to join someone, be sure you have a conversation, maybe several conversations about expectations. If you want to sleep in B&Bs, eat in cafes, and smell the flowers as you tour while they want to camp, forage for food and cover at least 100 KM per day, you may find out, too late, that you are not a good match. It is not a marriage or a romance, but you do not want to breakup on the road.

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