Supported Cycling Tours The supported cycling tour is a tour that you pay a fee for some level of support and organization. The tour is well-planned out and you know exactly where you're going to be every night. It usually includes reservations at hotels or at least campgrounds. Another significant aspect of a supported ride is that there is van support that carries your luggage so you can travel light and fast as you are unencumbered by the en-trappings of all your stuff.. The van usually also has tools and spare parts that can help in cases of emergency. Also if some calamity occurs, such as extremely inclement weather or catastrophic bike breakdown, the van can make sure you get to your evenings destination. Non-Supported Tours These are pretty much the opposite of the supported rides as you are responsible for all the arrangements including your route. Relative to the route - you may wing it or as in my case purchase a map from Adventure Cycling that provides you with a scenic and relatively safe route that has been created and vetted by thousands of other cyclists. As a non-supported cyclist you have to bring all your own stuff on your bike which includes camping gear and for the hard-core even cooking gear. Of course the more you bring the more it weighs and the slower you go. From what I understand you learn to hate your stuff on the mountain passes or when you're bent over into a headwind. Makes perfect sense to me. Credit Card Tours The credit card tour is a vernacular term that references a version of the nonsupported tour. In this case the cyclist wishes to travel light and utilize the comfort of motels and hotels. Traveling light means not carrying a tent, sleeping bag, and mattress etc. The trick here is knowing enough about your route and your ability to predict how far you will get every day in order to make reservations. Warm Showers.org This is an organization that unites cyclists with cyclists relative to accommodations and hospitality. It is very similar to CouchSurfing.org except that it is exclusive to cyclists. Each member that joins Warm Showers indicates the level of hospitality that they are able to provide - as an example space for a tent, rooms or beds, shower, laundry. The real key to Warm Showers is the fellowship that cyclists enjoy with those from other parts of the country or world. As in credit card cycling the difficulty with utilizing Warm Showers is to find somebody on your route that is available to host and being able to make sure that you are at their home when you say you will be. Compounding that is that those who host usually request a three day advance notice.
Our Tour Sandrine and I will be doing a combination of nonsupported tour and credit card tour. We will also be utilizing Warm Showers as it is available to us on our route. One of the aspects of this tour that Sandrine and I mutually share is the desire to meet a lot of interesting people and hear their stories. Much to Sandrine's chagrin I am bringing along a tent for emergencies. I have told her that she can thank me when we do get caught in an emergency and are in need of shelter :-) :-) My experience so far with Warm Showers has been very positive. I will be arriving in Portland late on July 9 and will be needing accommodation through the 13th as I pick up my new bicycle and all the stuff that I don't want to bring on the plane. With this many days of accommodations required I put out a request to seven individuals or couples in Portland. I was very pleased to have five of the seven offer accommodations. Now I'm in a quandary as to who to stay with. I think it would be nice to share my time with several. One couple is even going to be out of town during my stay and has offered to leave the keys to their place at their business for me to pick up. I just can't let the cat get out of the house :-) :-) I think this is incredible hospitality!!