Planning a Bike Tour (1)

Hello! This post is the first in a series. I’ve had a couple requests to post about bicycle touring, routes, route planning with GPS, etc. So, as it is currently November and wanderlust is beginning to set in, I’ve already started to think ahead to next summer and where i will ride. In my case, I always want my tour to work around family vacation/travel plans. My wife and I have three children and it’s great to be able to figure out ways to include them in the experience somehow. Also, logistically, it makes it much easier if I can select a destination of interest or at least convenience to make it easier and more fun for everyone. In this case, we have family and several friends in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic area. So, it began like this:

Question from me to my wife Abbi, “Where should I ride my bike next summer?” She replied, “hmmmmmmmm…..” and then:

Image

And the seed was planted! We are very fortunate to live in central New Jersey, very close to the Adventure Cycling Association’s Atlantic Coast Route. I did section 2 of the route last summer, and the idea above takes advantage of the 3rd section. If you are unfamiliar with the ACA, check them out and look at their “routes and maps” section. Their maps are made by cyclists, for cyclists, and are really pretty spectacular. You can see samples on their website. I also highly recommend a membership so you can support this great non-profit and take advantage of their resources and expertise.

So now my gears are turning, and I’m thinking of some possible start and end point options. A very rough route outline that taps into some ACA resources, and a quick use of the Google Maps bicycling feature turns up this:

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Now, this is really rough, but it allows me to see the approximate mileage to figure out if it’s even doable. At around 350 miles, it certainly is. Starting from a relative’s house just outside Media, PA, visiting friends in Washington, and using the ACA route, this could work. My father-in-law lives in Harrisonburg, VA. If we can coordinate schedules, this means that Abbi could take the kids down there so she’s not flying solo the entire time with our three children, and then can make a quick drive out to Williamsburg to meet me. We could spend a couple days there as a family, and all head back.

There are LOTS more logistics to figure out, but this gives us a framework within which to work. I’ll keep you posted as these plans progress, change, get scrapped, or whatever.

Keep the rubber-side down and remember, a clean bike is a happy bike!

rm

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